Victim Of Racism In Othello

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Othello is one of the Shakespeare’s greatest tragedy which illustrates a tragic downfall of a black protagonist, Othello. Although in the play, Othello is a socially secured man working as a military general, his social status seems to be cancelled out by his colour. In the society of Venice, Othello is referred to as an outsider not only because of his cultural difference but also his colour, Therefore, in the play, Othello is depicted as a victim of racism even though he himself does not seem to acknowledge that he is victimised because of racism.

The theme of darkness and lightness is constant through the play which highlights separation by skin colour. In the final act, dark truly eclipses light as Othello decides to “put out the light,
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Therefore, even before Othello is physically presented to the audience, the Elizabethan audience would already have an image of Othello being wild and “moorish” since they would have the similar notion as Iago and Rodrigo towards black men. Therefore, Shakespeare establishes the racist concepts from the very beginning of the play to set the base for the tragic downfall of Othello. Racist language is not only limited to the beginning of the play; it is constant throughut the play. Iago uses racist words when he wakes up Brabantio to inform him about Desdemona’s marriage. Iago says an “old black ram” is “tupping” Brabnatio’s “white ewe” which is highly racist and reveals the Elizabethan society’s prejudice against black men. The Elizabethan era believed that black men have animal-like and sexual nature and Iago uses this notion to make Brabantio fear about the mixed marriage and persuade him to stand against Othello. Also, Iago makes use of the racist Elizabethan notion that the colour black meant evilness by calling Othello as “the devil”. This is ironical because in the play, Iago is the one who is playing the role of “the devil” whereas Othello just the biggest victim who is manipulated by Iago. The irony adds on as Iago, white man, is the most evil one in the play where normally according to Elizabethan racist notion, black men are the one who should be the…show more content…
Shakespeare deliberately puts black man as a protagonist, who is victimised and completely destroyed by an evil white man. The roles that Elizabethan audience would expect are reversed in the play to show how racist ideas are wrong and can put everyone in danger. For the Elizabethan audience back then, they would laugh off at the racist jokes and languages in the play and feel catharsis when Othello kills Desdemona because they would have expected to see the “true nature” of the “moor” which they believed to be “evil”. However, Shakespeare thought ahead of his own time period and wrote Othello to show how racism is wrong and it leads to inevitable
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