Othello: A Covert Discussion on Racism Essay

1625 Words7 Pages
The issue of race is one filled with controversy and passion, even today in the twenty-first centaury. In today’s day and age it is more shuttle and underground then it was in its most recent ‘hay-day’. In our time today we see it as more of a shameful, offensive and intolerant thing, but it was the norm in the early 15th and 16th century. Today those people that are outwardly racist are seen as outcasts. In this essay I will tempt to show how even though it was the norm in Victorian England, Shakespeare already had another mind set, and was trying in this creative way that the mind set of the people was not correct even for that time. How and why did Shakespeare purposely portray Othello the Moor as a tragic hero, like Hamlet or King…show more content…
Only Spanish vessels were legally allowed to trade at these ports, but the local land owners cared little for such formalities. Hawkins had slaves and cloth that the Spanish colonists needed. In 1567 Spanish treasure ships caught up with Hawkins and destroyed his small fleet” (Andrews Vol. 3, 116) This play may have been inspired by the visit to Elizabeth’s court by the Moorish ambassador from the King of Barbary, whom Shakespeare would have witnessed when performing at court with the Chamberlain’s Men during Christmas time 1601. “The African slaves were brought in by force and then removed also by force when Queen Elizabeth issued a proclamation for the transportation of all “Negroes and blackamoors” out of England” (Damrosch & Dettmar 1273). From ancient and medieval lore, black was the representation of everything demonic. Therefore when they begin bringing in captured slaves from north Africa they were naturally some what afraid of them. Travelers would also bring back stories of monstrous creatures, which would practice cannibalism, and sexual orgies. In their minds this was all associated with the blackness of their skin. “Thomas Wright’s The Passions of the Minde also associates the color black (in any dark complexion with sexuality; The redde is wise, The browne trustie The pale peevish The blacke lustie” (Vaughan 52). So what is Othello actually about? On a quiet night in Venice, Iago, ensign to the Moorish

More about Othello: A Covert Discussion on Racism Essay

Get Access