The Venetian Society in Othello by William Shakespeare

Decent Essays
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. The fear of interracial marriage in Venetian society is used by Iago in an attempt to alienate Othello. Othello himself acknowledges the fact that interracial marriage is frowned upon and that racism still applies to him despite his position. A common attitude in Venetian society is that black men and women are inhuman and animalistic in nature; Iago capitalizes on this idea in order to aid his plan of antagonizing Othello. Brabantio, Desdemona’s father, is a prime example of the attitude of Venetian society as a whole, in the sense that he “loved” Othello as long as he remained a servant of Venice and would rather Othello not intermingle amongst the Venetian society. Initially Brabantio “oft invited [Othello]” to his home and “queston’d [him] the story of [his] life”, showing an admiration and sincere interest for Othello’s
Get Access