Impact of Race in Othello One of the major issues in Shakespeare's Othello is the impact of the race of the main character, Othello. His skin color is non-white, usually portrayed as African although some productions portray him as an Arabian. Othello is referred to by his name only seventeen times in the play. He is referred to as "The Moor" fifty-eight times. Webster's Revised Unabridged Dictionary (1913) states that a Moor is "Any individual of the swarthy races of Africa or Asia which have adopted the Mohammedan religion. In Spanish history the terms Moo, Saracens, and Arabs are synonymous." This indicates that Othello is constantly being degraded and set up as an evil person throughout the play. What this really means is that
When pairs of texts are considered together, their universal themes and ideas lead to greater understanding, appreciation and insight of both the old and the new. The texts Othello, William Shakespeare (1600) and Othello, Geoffrey Sax (2001), ring true for this statement. Despite the differing contexts and ages, the universal themes of racism and betrayal bring new meaning to each of the texts. The primary meaning from the juxtaposition of the two is that of the human condition, and how the problems faced in the 17th century are faced in modern times.
Race Shakespeare • A fear of foreigners during Elizabethan times fostered misogynistic and racist values, which is evident in the way Othello’s blackness becomes a symbol of alienation to which all characters in the play must respond.
Racism in William Shakespeare's Othello The play, Othello, is certainly, in part, the tragedy of racism. Examples of racism are common throughout the dialog. This racism is directed toward Othello, a brave soldier from Africa and currently supreme commander of the Venetian army. Nearly every character uses a racial slur to insult Othello at one point in the play. Even Emilia sinks to the level of insulting Othello based on the color of his skin. The character that most commonly makes racist remarks in Othello is Iago. It is very apparent that Iago uses racism as a scapegoat to hate and blame Othello. Societal racism takes its toll on its victims. The effect of racism on Othello is quite evident and is one of the main causes for
Although Othello is set in Venice and Cyprus, the attitudes and values shared in the text are probably reflective of the attitudes and values of Shakespeare's own society. It is difficult to assess the attitudes and values of people in sixteenth-century Britain to the relatively few blacks living amongst them. We are given an insight into those attitudes and values through the representation of race and
Throughout the years the play Othello by William Shakespeare has been adapted both on the screen and on stage many times. The questions or race and racism that have quite often been a point of discussion with William Shakespeare’s play Othello can be seen through the bard, however some may argue that Othello’s skin colour was purely a plot device. This paper will look at two film that have been re-made since the 1960’s, which provides an analysis of the concept of race and how political ideas and events of that time have influenced each adaptation. It will be seen that the film version of Othello directed by Oliver Parker in 1995 compared to the film version directed by Geoff Sax in 2001 present’s race with differing degrees.
Othello’s race does not prominently impact his demise, although Shakespeare touches upon the issue of race, the reason for Othello’s demise lies somewhere else. However, the allegations of race directly lead to its tragic ending. Feelings of inadequacy and distrust without question aid in the tragedy. The fact that Othello’s skin color is important alters the interpretation of the tragedy within the play. The racism represented in Othello is not just about an instance of prejudices and prejudgments made by a crowd of people against another, but in fact has much more subtle and devastating consequences, specifically, that it is proliferated not only by the discriminatory section of society, but also by the target of this discrimination.
Othello, from the onset, is shown to us a play of love and jealousy. There is however more to this play than just love and jealousy; there is underlying racism, hate, deception, pride, and even sexism between these pages. Othello is a transcendent play, one that will survive the perils of time simply because it is still relevant. Even today, over 400 years later, there are still issues of racism and sexism. Hate is as natural as love in humans and Othello gets right to the root of that. We witness this from the very first scene, “…you’ll have your daughter covered with a Barbary horse/ you’ll have your nephews neigh to you” (I.i.112-14); to the very last, “Moor she was chaste. She loved thee, cruel Moor” (V.ii.258). Moor however is
Othello or The Moor of Venice by William Shakespeare is a tragedy of race. Shakespeare creates a hero who does not fall under a racist stereotype, Othello is a nobleman, a decorated soldier, very well respected by his men (with the exception of Iago). One of the few characteristics that harms, rather than helps him, is that he is dark-skinned in a society utterly dominated by men prejudiced against those with dark skin. At the start of the play, he appears confident that, "My parts, my title, and my perfect soul / Shall manifest me rightly." (Shakespeare, 1, 2, 36-37) But Iago makes sure to use Othello's race against him as much as possible. As a brave soldier from Africa and recently instated supreme commander of the Venetian army, Shakespeare still allows Othello to succumb to the subtle racism that surrounds him. Most of it comes forward through the dialog, and is directed toward Othello. Shakespeare makes no effort to hide this colorful language, nearly every character uses a racial slur to insult Othello at some point in the play. Even Emilia, who doesn’t trust her own husband, sinks to the level of insulting Othello based on the color of his skin. Though the main character to make racist remarks in Othello is Iago, making him a representation of white supremacy. The effect of racism on Othello is quite evident and is one of the main causes of his insecurity about his marriage. These black stereotypes show up in the play and lead to the problem with trying to produce
The protagonist of the play, Othello, becomes the monster driven by racial prejudice that Venetians depict him to be. The word “moor’ is an indicator of the divide between Othello, a Morrocan with darker skin, and the Venetians of Italy, with fair skin. Even those who respect Othello use the
Texts reflect their contexts. Is this true of Shakespeare’s Othello and Sax’s film Othello? (700-800 words). Texts reflect their contexts and this is evident in both William Shakespeare’s Othello and Geoffrey Sax’s film Othello. This reflection is established through the two ideas of racism and the inequality between genders. The context
Othello is one of the Shakespeare’s greatest tragedy which illustrates a tragic downfall of a black protagonist, Othello. Although in the play, Othello is a socially secured man working as a military general, his social status seems to be cancelled out by his colour. In the society of Venice, Othello is referred to as an outsider not only because of his cultural difference but also his colour, Therefore, in the play, Othello is depicted as a victim of racism even though he himself does not seem to acknowledge that he is victimised because of racism.
Throughout time, writing has evolved such that gender, race and creed have taken on a more pivotal role in fiction. Some people argue that race in William Shakespeare’s tragedy, “Othello,” is hardly an issue. However, to many people, race is everything in “Othello. The challenges that Othello, the lead character, faces are directly attributed to his “Moor” complexion and if he were of a different nationality, the outcome of his situation would have been drastically different. These claims are supported by the articles of “Othello’s Alienation” by Edward Berry and “Race Mattered: Othello in Late Eighteenth-Century England” by Virginia Mason Vaughan that argue that race is a major element in “Othello.”
Racism in Othello Racism seems to be a big concern in Shakespeare’s tragic play, Othello. Because the hero of the play is an outsider, a Moor, we have an idea how blacks were regarded in England, in Elizabethan times. There are many references that bring about the issue of racism from the very beginning to the end. In the tragedy, where Othello is coming from is not mentioned, yet through the descriptions the reader is informed that he belongs to one of the Eastern nationalities such as African, Ottoman Turk or Arab. In this paper I am going to analyze some episodes involving a prejudicial, racist attitude and try to discuss whether Shakespeare was a racist or not. Even though the play is full of offensive definitions of black
“Othello” is a tragic play of jealousy, racism and struggle for power. Right from the beginning, Shakespeare has created vigorous dialogue and conflicting situations. There is a direct contrast between black and white in this play, with black meaning something negative and evil and white meaning pure and fairness.