Essay on Race and Loyalty in Othello

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Race and Loyalty in Othello


William Shakespeare`s Othello is a play set in Venice. The plot is based on a story about two people who love each other dearly and the problems and conflicts they face from the start. The conflicts are, for the most part, tied in with racial issues and questions of loyalty. These conflicts stem from the society around the couple, as well as from the couple themselves as they too are part of this society, but with very different backgrounds: The female protagonist is the daughter of a highly-respected Venetian senator: Brabantio. Othello--also known as the Moor--is a foreigner, black in color, has a past filled with tragic and exotic tales and has proved himself worthy of the title General in the
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            Desdemona has actively sought to alienate herself from the other Venetians by marrying him. Othello, on the other hand, seems to be more than anxious to conform with Venetian ideals. By adding "Moor" rather than a name or his position Brabantio emphasises Othello`s difference (=blackness). Brabantio dehumanises Othello, by taking away his name, his individuality and in so doing makes Othello acutely aware of his difference as well as well as making him believe that he is a barbarian.

            When he says "if thou hast eyes to see" what he may be saying is that in order to see what Brabantio sees i.e Desdemona`s marriage as a betrayal he must see the whole situation through Venetian spectacles, ot it could reflect Brabantio`s assumption that only if he is totally blinded by love he will fail to see what Desdemona really is. End-rhyme serves as a nice rounding off of the statement making it easy to remember.In III.iii200,209 Iago repeats the main ideas very effectively.

"My life upon her faith" (I.iii.295) is Othello`s reassuring response the first time this suggestion is put to him. Or is it so reassuring? Does he mean his faith in her or her faith in him, or her Christian faith which in Venice also includes obeying her father? If the latter alternative is the case than his faith in her may not
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