To refer to Othello as a “black Moor” is not to commit a redundancy, for there are white Moors as well as black Moors, the latter mostly of Sudanese origin. He doesnât belong to the refined manners of courtiers. For much of the play, Othello resists, ignores, or seems indifferent to the racism that dogs him. Nothing separates Othello from, ‘the wealthy curled darlings of our nation,’ except skin-colour . In Europe, people of white complexion were the majority and all other races were considered to be less important and inferior. They had stretched their control across the southern end of the Mediterranean Sea and crossed into Spain with their sights set on conquest. Othello, in a fundamentally ethnocentric and racist society, finds himself confronted with the horrible reality of this self-contempt when there is cause to believe that Desdemona, whose loved had been the shield against his self-contempt, now betrays him too. Consider that in referring to Othello, he sometimes inserts the word black to remind listeners that the Moor is different, a man apart, a man to be isolated. Having lost a battle, Iago continues to plot to win the war, still using racism as one of his weapons. In Europe, people of white complexion were the majority and all other races were considered to be less important and inferior. Iago seems to have few motives for his devious actions. ORANGE is the new BLACK How is Othello racist of his own type? In the book, Othello, by William Shakespeare, we see a big impact of racism and racial prejudice. Othello is one of the first black heroes in English literature. Moor is of a mixed Arab and Berber descent. Roderigo adds that Desdemona is indeed in the “gross clasps of a lascivious Moor”. Nothing separates Othello from, 'the wealthy curled darlings of our nation,' except skin-colour. Previouslly Othello was a favorite to Brabantino and he along with Desdemona had had dinner many times with Othello.But why does he instantly react to the news of the marriage of Othello and Desdemona?It is because Othello is a Black. It can be the reason for a motive such as jealousy and can be the reason for our main character’s insecurities. Although “jealousy” is often offered as Othello’s “tragic flaw,” but that emotion is not self-creating. But in order to understand the racial issues we should ,at first, consider the Elizabethan attitude to the black people. Although he resents Othello being promoted before himself, it seems that from his speech that the thing he hates most about Othello is the colour of his skin. Let us take Othello as a play in which hatred is at the centre of the drama. When Brabantio reacts with incredulity, Iago replies with a metaphor that this time compares Othello to a horse: ‘you’ll have your daughter covered with a Barbary horse’. At a certain level, they always treat each other as respected strangers, and as circumstances drive them apart, only this formal politeness remains as a frame for communication in the final act, where they go in different emotional directions, despite their underlying love for each other. Essentially, Iago is a representative of the white race, a pre-Nazi figure who tries to inform the public of the impurity of Othello and Desdemona’s marriage. In order to survive the combined onslaught of internalized prejudice and the directed venom of Iago, Othello would have had to be near perfect in strength and self-knowledge, and that is not a fair demand for anyone. (something to consider in your essay) "O, the more angel she, and you the blacker devil!" Roderigo also refers to Othello as ‘Thick lips’ and Iago continually uses the word ‘slave’, which are both racist terms. Racism is extremely prominent and causes a multitude amount of problems for many characters. In the play, once can see that the character of Othello is also culturally isolated. Roderigo, in his deep malice and envy against Othello, calls him as âthe thick-lips.â It may refer to Othelloâs possibly African feature. Iago’s scheme would not have worked without the underlying atmosphere of racial prejudice in Venetian society, a prejudice of which both Desdemona and Othello are very aware. The society and culture in which Othello finds himself is one where racism and ethnocentrism prevailed and prejudices abounded.Othello, however, is not aware how deeply prejudice has penetrated into his own personality. Yet, when a crisis comes, they both share the same basic values of honesty and loyalty. There is an obvious racism in this quote. Critically evaluate the Imagery and Structure of Sonnet 65. Factors such as his age, his life as a soldier, and his self-consciousness about being a racial and cultural outsider, simply play on his unsureness of his position.The thing that fuelled his jealousy was his belief that he is black and Desdamona is white.That he is unfit to retain her attention for long.Thus Jealousy and racism are both inter-connected. Checkout English Summary's free educational tools and dictionaries. Desdemona and Emilia are newly in each other’s company, but quickly develop a friendly style of conversation that contrasts their different approaches to life. There was a good deal of animosity between the Muslims and Christians in Europe during Shakespeare’s times. He dedicates himself to serve society’s […] Iago’s hatred for Othello is irrational. ANSWER: YES AND NO Personally, I do not think he was being racist because the whole story line was a black man Othello is the only black-skinned character in the play. At the same time, his status as a black-skinned foreigner in Venice marks him as an outsider and exposes him to some pretty overt racism, especially by his wife's father, who believes his daughter's interracial marriage can only … Because the hero of the play is an outsider, a Moor, we have an idea how blacks were regarded in England, in Elizabethan times. Before and above all else, Othello is a soldier. It depicts the attitude of European society towards those that were different in colour, race and language. / Hath made the flinty and steel couchof war / My thrice-driven bed of down” (I.iii.227–229). He mourns that âHaply, for I am black and have not those soft parts of conversation.â This sentence is a clear reference towards his insecurity which stems from his racial awareness. Racism in Othello Racism seems to be a big concern in Shakespeare’s tragic play, Othello. The Moors were disliked by Europeans on a lot of levels. The portrayal of the eponymous character in the play was stereotypically insinuated to be savage, violent and aggressive; however, was based on falsehood in order to expose Iago’s duplicitous character and ultimately Othello’s hamartia. Race and racial differences can kill. Iago then uses vulgar animal imagery to slur Othello, telling Brabantio that the black Moor has seized his greatest treasure, his daughter, and at that very moment is defiling her. There is a polite formality of words between these two which persists below the endearments of the first half and the abuse and anguish of the second. Whether or not it is believable, racism can be connected to almost any subject for the story`s theme. But Othello’s extreme susceptibility to Iago’s villainous suggestions reveals at best a profound insecurity about himself, and at worst an internalized racism that Iago seizes upon. In Othello, one of William best plays portrays on racism and romance throughout the play. After Othello speaks eloquently of his love for Desdemona and she speaks on his behalf, the Duke exonerates Othello.But in doing so, the Duke obliquely denigrates Othello because of his race–apparently unintentionally, in a Freudian slip–telling Brabantio, “Your son-in-law is more fair than black” , implying that fairness is superior to blackness. William Shakespeare a poet, english writer and also an actor 's time to time faced off with racism in the 17th century. There is a clear theme of racism throughout, one which was firmly embedded in the Venetian society which rejects the marriage of Othello and Desdemona as erring, 'against all rules of nature'. Many critics argue against racism in Othello although they believe it has got a racist theme. As a result, Othello faces numerous offenses from Iago, Brabantio, Roderigo. Emilia is down to earth to Desdemona’s nobility, and practical to Desdemona’s romanticism. There mustâve been racial segregation in the world of this play, otherwise, itâs not easy to make someone like Othello insecure. Iago and Emilia, although married and appearing to be similar personalities on the surface, see the world differently. The references to witchcraft and the devil also help to emphasise Othello’s differences: “The devil will make a grandsire of you”, “the beast with two backs”. Rather, it stems from a psychology of inferiority. Othello explains that Desdemona's reputation used to be as fresh,pure and clean as Dian's visage but now he refers to her reputation to be something as dirty and black as his own face. In nearly every case, the prejudiced characters use terms that describe Othello as an animal or beast. Even when the play is titled The Tragedy of Othello, the Moor of Venice, the ethnic origin of the main protagonist remains … But eventually he internalizes Iago’s and … I think there are quite lots of proofs in the play which show that theme of racism is dominant and the problem of race should not be ignored. The playwright uses these characters to paint a picture of Othello as the embodiment of the black stereotype held by people at this time, labelling him as “different” to everyone else. Why did not Othello openly discuss the matter with Desdemona? Iago has the reputation of the “rough diamond,” who speaks directly and honestly, but he uses his reputation as a disguise for his plotting, whereas the “rough diamond” really is Emilia’s true nature. Shakespeare has showed it in Othello. The crime committed by Othello can also be judged as a crime of the ‘pressure group’. Firstly Iago uses racism to ignite the flame in Desdemona’s father, Brabantio against Othello. Shakespeare is also sending an anti-racist message through his play Othello. The senator, after denouncing Othello for taking Desdemona to his “sooty bosom” , accuses the Moor of having used “foul charms” and “drugs or minerals” to weaken Desdemona’s will. He demonstrates how this miscegenation is threatening to the existing social order. Othello is defensively proud of himself and his achievements, and especially proud of the honorable appearance he presents. In the play, Iago provokes Brabantio regarding his daughter Desdemona’s elopement with Othello by saying that “ an old black ram is tupping your white ewe. Iago is portrayed as the most evil villain and also the hateful racist. 3 Prominent Themes Found in William Shakespeare's 'Othello' Othello introduces an upright and righteous Moor. It dramatises the way actions are directed by attitudes, fears, … Is tupping5 your white ewe. Therefore, the play could not have been a racist … His unusual appearance becomes a reason for social prejudice. Connection to outside source. The one subject that seems to be of most interest is the subject of racism in the story and poem of Shakespeare`s Othello. Because of racism, Othello becomes much more vulnerable to manipulation and is easily tricked by Iago. The Turks, their Ottoman Empire, and their Islamic culture and heritage yield the crisis that sets Othello in motion and layers of meaning which reinforce the play’s themes and imagery. He refers to Othello as, “Thick lips,”. Instantly the matter becomes an issue in the Venetian council chamber, where the Duke and other senators are preparing for war against the Turks. The racial conflict becomes clearer when we consider of Iago’s ‘motiveless malignity’ against Othello. The Elizabethan society fostered a general cultural hostility to strangers,which stemmed from the growing presence of black people who posed an economic threat to the state.Race was a topic of great debate, discussion, controversy and passion in the Sixteenth century, as we see in the twenty-first century society.Othello and other works of Shakespeare also show that racism drew much public attention. Berbers were North African natives who eventually accepted Arab customs and Islam after Arabs invaded North Africa in the Seventh Century A.D. . It depicts the attitude of European society towards those that were different in colour, race and language. Othello shows a lot of this and how it gets in the way by restraining love in society. The envy and anger of Roderigo and Iago provide an answer to such terms used by them against Othello but the racist sentiments are clear in a social sense in the reasons for which Brabantio opposes his daughterâs marriage to Othello. The theme of racism in Othello is clearly very important. Muslims were part of a group that had invaded many lands and threatened Europe with the same. His race and colour are his vulnerability and Othello is not able to survive when Iago strikes there. His vulnerability to Iagoâs manipulation is mainly due to his racial complexity and the whole play echoes this since the very beginning when Roderigo and Iago remarks upon him in their mutual envy and anger. Iago refers to jealousy as the "green-eyed monster." Asking “fit disposition” for his wife after being orderedto Cyprus (I.iii.234), Othello notes that“the tyrant custom . The play exploits this reason to isolate Othello further into his tragedy. A military general, he has risen to a position of power and influence. ENG 220-03 In Othello the theme that seems the most apparent is race or gender as forms of “otherness” in the play. As we have seen above, the wealth of imagery of black and white, light and dark suggests that colour is important in this play (see Imagery ). The word Moor derives from a Latin word, Mauri, used to name the residents of the ancient Roman province of Mauritania in North Africa. Racial conflict reflected through the character Othello Iago is paired with Roderigo for purposes of exploitation. Thus, Othello finds himself in a society and culture that are very much antagonistic to him. The story revolves around its two central characters: Othello, a Moorish general in the Venetian army, and his treacherous … Within the opening lines of the play, we see how Othello is distanced from much of the action that concerns and affects him. Iago makes him insecure from the mere character of Cassio. The term has been used to refer in general to Muslims of North Africa and to Muslim conquerors of Spain. As for gender stereotypes, Desdimona and Emilia had to deal with the negative thoughts and comments of others as well. There is a clear theme of racism throughout, one which was firmly embedded in the Venetian society which rejects the marriage of Othello and Desdemona as erring, ‘against all rules of nature’. The most prominent form of prejudice on display in Othello is racial prejudice. Shakespeare sets his play as a struggle between the liberal, enlightened Europeans and the savage, maurading Turks. By talking to him, Iago can show the audience his wicked intentions, yet Roderigo is so gullible that he is an easy dupe. Thus,though invisible in the drama, racism plays a significant part in bringing the tragedy of Othello. Whenever characters such as Iago feel jealousy, fear, or simple hatred toward Othello, they give vent to their feelings by using racist slurs. Strictly speaking, race cannot be considered a theme in the same way that jealousy and love are themes in Othello; however, it is impossible to arrive at a satisfactory interpretation of the play, its characters and events without considering the way race and colour are presented. But Othello’s vulnerability as a black outsider, who unconsciously shares the white perception of his blackness, is inseparable from his thraldom to a patriarchal concept of masculinity and a misogynistic concept of marriage that are just as endemic as racism in Venetian culture, and that play an equally crucial role in sealing both Desdemona’s fate and his own. Iago, Roderigo, and Brabantio combine to give us a portrait of Venetian racism. Fromthe earliest moments in the play, his career affects his marriedlife. He is ambiguously referred to as “he” or “him” by Roderigo and Iago for much of the first scene and when they do begin to specify just who they are talking about, they use racial epithets, not names. Othello (The Tragedy of Othello, the Moor of Venice) is a tragedy by William Shakespeare, believed to have been written in 1603.It is based on the story Un Capitano Moro ("A Moorish Captain") by Cinthio (a disciple of Boccaccio's), first published in 1565.