Modernism and Postmodernism in Shakespeare's Othello Essay

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Othello teaches us much about our current postmodern culture. The play connects to our ideas of sexism, male-bonding, racism and capitalism. Shakespeare uses these universal and timeless flaws in humanity along with our use of language and truth to tell his tale. Iago, over a period of about three days, uses these facets of humanity to turn Othello against his wife Desdemona and his friend Cassio. Othello reveals both the struggle of the British people of the early 1600's and Americans in the late 1900's with sexism, capitalism and racism. In Othello men see women as objects to control, first by their father, and then by their husband. When Iago yells to Brabantio, telling him his daughter has gone off to marry Othello, he yells…show more content…
Othello believes Iago to be "Full of love and honesty" (Othello III.iii.118), because they have bonded. Othello has also bonded with Cassio. He tells Cassio that "I love thee" (Othello II.iii.248). Iago uses their bonding to his advantage. "I humbly do beseech you of your pardon / For too much loving you." (Othello III.iii.212-213) he uses his feigned love for Othello to build a bond of trust between them. Othello has also bonded with Cassio. He tells Cassio that "I love thee" (Othello II.iii.248). Male-bonding is the foundation of all male-male relationships in Othello. The bonding supercedes all other relationships in Othello, representing the importance of male-bonding in England during the 1600's. Othello also reflects the disdain the British had toward foreigners. Iago calls Cassio "A Florentine" (Othello I.ii.20), making an issue out of his foreign background and attributing the traits that the stereotype brings. When Iago is getting Cassio drunk, he refers to the drinking habits of several other ethnic groups and the superiority of the English in out drinking all of them. Iago claims "It is true, or else I am a Turk" (Othello II.i.114), he associates dishonesty, a negative trait he possesses, to a foreign race. Shakespeare depicts the institutionalized and widespread racism of this time. It is so pervasive that it enters every facet of life, and people do not even feel ashamed to use it;

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