Race in Othello and Titus Andronicus Essay

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Race in Othello and Titus Andronicus

Within both Titus Andronicus and Othello both by William Shakespeare the reader is introduced to the concept of a black man within a white society. Stigmas and stereotypes are attached to the black characters of Aaron and Othello. Although each black character has a similar stigma, the characters are very different from one another. Aaron is portrayed as evil, conniving and malevolent, while Othello has none of these traits. Othello's fault lies in the fact that he is very gullible and easily led.

Aaron within Titus Andronicus is a character that is both bound and not bound to his colour. Though his actions can be "blamed" on his colour, there are two paths to follow in this
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His is the stereotypical black Devil form within Elizabethan literature. The pleasure Aaron takes parallels the pleasure the Devil gets in seeing humans suffer. Aaron proclaims his delight in the trouble he causes with an aside to himself and the audience "O how villainy / Doth fat me with the thoughts of it! / Let fools do good, and fair men call for grace: / Aaron will have his soul black like his face" (TA III.i.201-204). Aaron gets deep satisfaction and pleasure from the torture of others.

Aaron himself acknowledges his anger and his hate towards those around him (Incidentally those around him are all white). The only individual with whom he takes complete trust and compassion is his own child who is as black as he is. Up until his child has been born he has no allies and certainly no friends. He has been good enough to be Tamora's lover, a teacher to her children and a quiet part within the court but he has not been good enough to technically be raised above the station of a slave or servant. It is also ironic to point out the concept of family and colour. Both Titus and Tamora are white people yet their treatment of their own children leaves something to be desired. Titus himself follows the rules and codes of Rome without fail, though his parenting skills are much to be desired. However Aaron who never keeps his word to anyone else (save himself), causes deaths, rapes and
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