The Role of Race in Othello

1773 WordsMay 16, 20118 Pages
Topic paper : The role of race in Othello. “Although the plots of Shakespeare's plays are specific, the motivations of the characters -- as well as of Shakespeare himself -- have been the source of much debate. Arguments continue over interpretations of Shakespeare's intentions in part because his plays remain so profoundly relevant.” (www.pbs.org, Teachers’ Guide, Othello : Essay on race, web.) Othello is the story of a Berber who in the fourteenth century, has reached the top of the pyramid in the Republic of Venice thanks to his value as a valiant general of the army. However, his life ended prematurely and tragically in the darkness of jealousy and crime. Othello is the only one able to defeat the Turks on the Cyprus…show more content…
In the first scene of Act I, Iago, Othello’s "faithful" servant, who could not bear not to have been appointed by him as lieutenant, is trying to oppose the Senator Brabantio, Desdemona's father , to the love affair between his master and Desdemona. Iago’s terms would today lead to court prosecution for racism : "You’ll have your daughter covered with a Barbary horse; You’ll have your nephews neigh to you, you’ll have coursers for cousins, and gennets for germans". A little further the remarks are no less moderate: "I am one sir, that comes to tell you your daughter and the moor are making the beast with two backs “. We also learn in this first act, when Othello is obliged to explain the circumstances of his love with Desdemona (“strange and against nature”), that Brabantio that was linked to him in some "friendship "but we understand that it was true as he remained in the place which was his own, without going to compete with the Venetian nobles and hope to enter, for example, in the family. In this situation, the witch trials is already wielded by Brabantio accusing Othello of magic. Othello: "Her father loved me, he often invited me, he asked me the story of my life ...”. This is in sharp contrast to the despair and violence of the father when he learns that his daughter left with
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