Why Would You Think That? Without a doubt, Othello is one of Shakespeare's most confrontational pieces of literature. The play has had a tremendous impact on literature for many years. It was written in a time where there was racial segregation, which many people can't believe that there was a successful black leader. Othello, is a very high ranking official in the Army (a powerful general) and is married to a young, white girl named Desdemona. Knowing when this play was written it's not hard to figure that there were major conflicts throughout the play. For some reason, there are many people that find this racist. Evan …show more content…
He lived in the late 1800’s to the 1900’s century. He translated many other of Shakespeare's plays, for example, “Show that Noble and Valor like depravity and cowardice and not the Monopoly of any color”. He responded to the play more reliably than the white ruling of South Africa. In the play he suggests that everyone will understand it differently, depending on your race. He also adds some background information on the history that the English have with the Africans, as well as discussing the Elizabethan culture. He stressed about the culture specifically to show it’s concern for needing to have external self disciplines of all people. The first proof he shows about the play being racist is in Act 1 scene II when Othello enters and he is not mentioned by his name. He was referred to as “the Moor”, “ the thick-lips”, and “a Barbary horse” which all represent his skin color. He talks about how Iago and Brabantio were talking, and Iago says “ an old black ram / is tupping your white calf”. This is one hundred percent about Othello and Desdemona. It describes Othello being the black man and Desdemona being the younger white female. Roderigo uses the “ racial insult” to Othello calling him “Thick Lips”. Those are his first two solid pieces of evidence that make the play seem Racist. His next key point is when he starts talking about how South African critics avoid Othello. If they do talk about it they definitely talk about color. They see the
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
Othello, from the onset, is shown to us a play of love and jealousy. There is however more to this play than just love and jealousy; there is underlying racism, hate, deception, pride, and even sexism between these pages. Othello is a transcendent play, one that will survive the perils of time simply because it is still relevant. Even today, over 400 years later, there are still issues of racism and sexism. Hate is as natural as love in humans and Othello gets right to the root of that. We witness this from the very first scene, “…you’ll have your daughter covered with a Barbary horse/ you’ll have your nephews neigh to you” (I.i.112-14); to the very last, “Moor she was chaste. She loved thee, cruel Moor” (V.ii.258). Moor however is
• Using grotesque animal imagery, Iago voices an explicitly stereotypical view of Othello, as a “Barbary horse,” depicting him as an animalistic outsider. Through the image of conflict in black and white, Iago emphasises on the racial demarcation between Othello and Desdemona, that “an old black ram is tupping your white ewe,” associating Othello with uncontrolled animalistic sexuality. Iago’s overt and vicious racism becomes representative of the reigning stereotype of the African on the
Othello or The Moor of Venice by William Shakespeare is a tragedy of race. Shakespeare creates a hero who does not fall under a racist stereotype, Othello is a nobleman, a decorated soldier, very well respected by his men (with the exception of Iago). One of the few characteristics that harms, rather than helps him, is that he is dark-skinned in a society utterly dominated by men prejudiced against those with dark skin. At the start of the play, he appears confident that, "My parts, my title, and my perfect soul / Shall manifest me rightly." (Shakespeare, 1, 2, 36-37) But Iago makes sure to use Othello's race against him as much as possible. As a brave soldier from Africa and recently instated supreme commander of the Venetian army, Shakespeare still allows Othello to succumb to the subtle racism that surrounds him. Most of it comes forward through the dialog, and is directed toward Othello. Shakespeare makes no effort to hide this colorful language, nearly every character uses a racial slur to insult Othello at some point in the play. Even Emilia, who doesn’t trust her own husband, sinks to the level of insulting Othello based on the color of his skin. Though the main character to make racist remarks in Othello is Iago, making him a representation of white supremacy. The effect of racism on Othello is quite evident and is one of the main causes of his insecurity about his marriage. These black stereotypes show up in the play and lead to the problem with trying to produce
Othello by William Shakespeare raises the issue of how rampant beliefs and attitudes in a society can cause a person to question their sense of self. In a society where racial equality is near non-existent, Othello, a black skinned foreigner in the Venetian society, is constantly reminded of his status as an outsider. Othello, however, is not depicted in a stereotypical manner and despite occupying a highly respected position he is often confronted with blatant racism throughout the play. The prevailing attitudes and beliefs of Venetian society towards Othello are exploited by Iago in order to manipulate Othello’s self confidence and emotional state.
Three sources analyze the racial conflicts of white actors playing colored parts, and all agreed that it was not a trivial situation, for audiences, or actors. Racial tensions are very popular with the media. While there is some minor tension today, the movies and plays of Othello top the charts for most racial conflicts. First, The article, “Othello: the role that entices and engages actors of all skin colours,” by Andrew Dickson shows the history of the actors that played Othello, and when the actors were black, they were either not cast, due to segregationists, or were criticized in their performance for the same reason. Also, this article uses diction to convey the seriousness of white vs. minority crisis. Next, the video, “SHAKESPEARE UNCOVERED White Actors Playing Othello” by PBS, shows the performances of many Othello actors that were white. Additionally, the video shows one white actor who used makeup to make himself more than than black. The video uses hyperbole to describe the absurdity of Othello movies. For example, Laurence Olivier, the 1964 Othello was black-top showing how far film industries will go to cover-up racial tensions, and the narrator describes the makeup as ridiculous,and dramatic. Finally, the last article, “Aladdin: putting a white character in Disney’s live-action remake is offensive,” by Hannah Flint displays that film industries feel obligated to please a white audience, keeping the minorities second fiddle by adding characters white people
“Othello” is a tragic play of jealousy, racism and struggle for power. Right from the beginning, Shakespeare has created vigorous dialogue and conflicting situations. There is a direct contrast between black and white in this play, with black meaning something negative and evil and white meaning pure and fairness. The clash between these two colours leads to severe hatred and enmity between a few people.
Racism is a theme that is prominently evident throughout Shakespeare's Othello. Through this theme, there are several perceptions of an individual's race which are exhibited to establish the
The play, Othello, is certainly, in part, the tragedy of racism. Examples of racism are common throughout the dialog. This racism is directed toward Othello, a brave soldier from Africa and currently supreme commander of the Venetian army. Nearly every character uses a racial slur to insult Othello at one point in the play. Even Emilia sinks to the level of insulting Othello based on the color of his skin. The character that most commonly makes racist remarks in Othello is Iago. It is very apparent that Iago uses racism as a scapegoat to hate and blame Othello. Societal racism takes its toll on its victims. The effect of racism on Othello is quite evident and is one of the main causes for
Throughout time, writing has evolved such that gender, race and creed have taken on a more pivotal role in fiction. Some people argue that race in William Shakespeare’s tragedy, “Othello,” is hardly an issue. However, to many people, race is everything in “Othello. The challenges that Othello, the lead character, faces are directly attributed to his “Moor” complexion and if he were of a different nationality, the outcome of his situation would have been drastically different. These claims are supported by the articles of “Othello’s Alienation” by Edward Berry and “Race Mattered: Othello in Late Eighteenth-Century England” by Virginia Mason Vaughan that argue that race is a major element in “Othello.”
Racism seems to be a big concern in Shakespeare’s tragic play, Othello. Because the hero of the play is an outsider, a Moor, we have an idea how blacks were regarded in England, in Elizabethan times. There are many references that bring about the issue of racism from the very beginning to the end. In the tragedy, where Othello is coming from is not mentioned, yet through the descriptions the reader is informed that he belongs to one of the Eastern nationalities such as African, Ottoman Turk or Arab. In this paper I am going to analyze some episodes involving a prejudicial, racist attitude and try to discuss whether Shakespeare was a racist or not. Even though the play is full of offensive definitions of black
Therefore, even before Othello is physically presented to the audience, the Elizabethan audience would already have an image of Othello being wild and “moorish” since they would have the similar notion as Iago and Rodrigo towards black men. Therefore, Shakespeare establishes the racist concepts from the very beginning of the play to set the base for the tragic downfall of Othello. Racist language is not only limited to the beginning of the play; it is constant throughut the play. Iago uses racist words when he wakes up Brabantio to inform him about Desdemona’s marriage. Iago says an “old black ram” is “tupping” Brabnatio’s “white ewe” which is highly racist and reveals the Elizabethan society’s prejudice against black men. The Elizabethan era believed that black men have animal-like and sexual nature and Iago uses this notion to make Brabantio fear about the mixed marriage and persuade him to stand against Othello. Also, Iago makes use of the racist Elizabethan notion that the colour black meant evilness by calling Othello as “the devil”. This is ironical because in the play, Iago is the one who is playing the role of “the devil” whereas Othello just the biggest victim who is manipulated by Iago. The irony adds on as Iago, white man, is the most evil one in the play where normally according to Elizabethan racist notion, black men are the one who should be the
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.
In the play Othello written by Shakespeare, the issue of racism is addressed. Othello, the protagonist of the play, is African American or black. “According to Lois Whitney, many of Othello’s specific attributes probably derive from Shakespeare’s reading of Leo Africanus, whose Geographical Historie of Africa which was translated and published in London in 1600”(Berry, 1990). Many critics have different views on this. “If Shakespeare depended upon Leo Africanus for such details, he must have been much more interested in racial psychology than critics such as Bradley or Heilman suggest”(Berry, 1990). One of the most prominent features of this Shakespeare play is the