Racism In Othello

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Shakespeare was a literary pioneer and was able to inspire conversations about race in a predominantly white European society while living in England through his play Othello which is unique in the sense that it features a non-white hero as the protagonist. Although race is not at the center of Othello, it plays a pivotal role in deciding the course of the play and explains the actions and motives of the characters.
Shakespeare’s culture consisted of a homogenous pool of residents who all very likely looked like one another, so seeing someone like Othello, whose appearance is quite different from theirs, was a novelty to them. It is important to note that when Shakespeare wrote this play (between 1600 and 1605) he was living in an era before the transatlantic slave trade when the modern obsession with the biological classification of people was absent. This early obsession with categorizing human beings based on physical features and appearance eventually paved the way for the enduring race constructs that exists today. Othello is casts as a black because his character is part of Shakespeare goal as a writer to further explore topics of identity, but in doing so he provided a platform for racism to eventually grow on.
Whether this is what Shakespeare intended, the text is filled with racist commentary, stereotypes, and implications that anything other than the norm, in this case, blackness, is bad and disruptive to the status quo. Othello’s race and complexion clearly set

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