Othello - Values and Attitudes

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"If Othello didn't begin as a play about race, history has made it one."

The Venetian society that Othello is set in is representative of the writers context.

The attitudes and values that Shakespeare reveals through the text are those same attitudes and values of Elizabethan society in England in the sixteenth-century.

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
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Marriage has also changed. In the sixteenth century girls tended to be married off rather young in their teens and to have their husbands chosen for them by their fathers. Now girls tend to get married in their late twenties and are free to choose their own partner.

These attitudes and values that are revealed in the text are done so through the representation of race and gender.

Race and gender are revealed in the text by the uses of imagery, characterisation, plot, stylistic techniques, and language.

Race is represented in many different ways to allow the attitudes and values of Elizabethan society to be revealed through it. The way race is portrayed allows us to have access to these attitudes and values.

Race is portrayed by the character Othello, who is a moor, and by what is said about him, and how he's reacted to.

Othello is presented initially as a dangerous beast by Iago, before he reveals himself to be of noble, human, status, only to degenerate later to the condition of a bloodthirsty and irrational animal. He is the hero of the play and this is achieved by his last speech(V. ii. 340-356) where he rights himself at the end of the play. "I kissed thee ere I killed thee: no way but this, Killing myself, to die upon a kiss" (V. ii. 359). By showing us these contrasting images of the moor, Shakespeare is revealing the two different attitudes to race. The one of acceptance, as shown through characters such as
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