Othello – Race and Stereotypes Essay

637 Words Apr 1st, 2011 3 Pages
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. …show more content…
It then hit me that through Iago’s judgments Othello is “the Moor” and should therefore exemplify the common idea of a moor, which is not admiration, self-worth, and fortune; it is one of disconnectedness and dependency. When he says that “nothing can or shall content his soul/ Till he is evened with the Moor, wife for wife” (Act 2: Scene), he means that he is satisfied until Othello’s life is made equal with his involving feelings of inadequacy and jealousy, which are all qualities fitting to a “moor”. Throughout the play Iago repetitively uses derogatory remarks when speaking of Othello so to encourage certain people in the play to endure racism and confirm that it was the norm. Even so, some of Iago’s semantics reveal his own prejudices. For example, Iago only refers to Othello as a “Moor” with the exception of when he refers to Othello as the “black Othello” (Act 2: Scene 3). Iago hates Othello because he is “the Moor” yet does not symbolize the expected role of what is thought of to be a black man in these times. There is neither reason nor logic behind his hatred, but discrimination against one seldom has reason, for it is characteristically irrational thinking. Iago is a clear illustration of what racism is and will justify his irrational thoughts with anything, just as Iago contributes to Brabantio and Rodrigo’s reasoning behind their actions and Othello’s reasons for acting out on
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