Essay about Racism and Cultural Differences Exposed in Othello

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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…show more content…
I’ll have’t disputed on;
‘Tis probable, and palpable to thinking.
I therefore apprehend and do attach thee
For an abuser of the world, a practice
Of arts inhibited and out of warrant. (I.ii. 63-66, 68-72, 74-80)
Brabantio shows his racist ways clearly here; he feels that his daughter could never love Othello unless she had been somehow tricked! When one looks deeper into this mindset we understand how loving Othello, the Moor, could be seen as such an issue to her father. Then and even today color is associated with, “sin, damnation, and eventually, sexual promiscuity” (Hall, 182). White on the other hand is associated with, “purity, virginity, and virtue” (Hall, 183). For Desdemona to love Othello she must give up her innocence. For a “pure” and “virtuous” woman to love a man such as Othello she must be a “sinner” and a “whore.” This “realization” of his daughter’s lack of purity causes Brabantio to die due to pure grief as Gratiano explains to us:
Poor Desdemon! I am glad thy father’s dead.
Thy match was mortal to him, and pure grief
Shore his old thread in twain…
Yea, curse his better angel from his side,
And fall to reprobance. (V.ii. 211-13, 215-16) Roderigo also shows racism throughout the play although it is due more to a combination of Iago’s manipulations and his love of Desdemona than his natural feelings. Iago shows racism all throughout the play

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