Essay about Racism in Othello

862 WordsMar 29, 20114 Pages
Racism is inextricably linked to the story of Othello and presents several universal themes, still prominent in modern society. It is this that questions what sort of message Shakespeare intended to convey to his audience; was Othello the black ‘moor’, portrayed as a tragic hero? Or did his character eventually come to resemble the prejudices of which he was a victim? A text rich with ethical debate, Othello is a story of black and white, culture, fate, and ultimately good versus bad. Racial ‘otherness’ is a crucial part of the text; it is with this that Shakespeare crafts a journey in which Othello is initially presented proud, with dignity and respect, then painfully contorted into the mould that Iago has created, eventually turning…show more content…
However these positive factors are outweighed by the deep rooted hatred of ‘the Moor’s’ race on Iago’s behalf; the initiation of Iago’s dark scheming which eventually results in Othello’s downfall. Closely associated with the racism in the play at the beginning is a more generalized fear of the unknown—in this case race is the otherness that separates Othello. Characters such as Brabanzio, after being startled by the news of his daughter’s affair with “the Moor” is convinced that this foreigner is using trickery and dark magic to engage Desdemona. Even though at this point he does not even know that Roderigo and Iago are referring to Othello, he knows that since it is a colour man they are speaking of that some dark “savage” arts must be at work. He accuses Othello (here the unknown man of colour) of witchcraft and wonders how, “against all rules of nature” his lovely daughter could have fallen “in love with that what she feared to look on”. Othello is also conveyed as a proud man who cripples under the pressure of manipulation and eventually becomes a beast, a murderer and hence, fulfils the prejudices with which his enemies brand him. It is evident in the final scene that Othello has truly transformed into a ‘killer’, and subsequently fits the

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