When the setting was in Venice, Othello was initially addressed and depicted as a “noble Moor”, however, when the plot moves to Cyprus where there is disorder, it disrupts his “Worthy Othello” title and emphasises his devilish descriptions which dethrones his position in society: “O, thou foul thief” (1:2); further alienating himself. Even in terms of him thinking that Cassio may have a secret relationship with Desdemona, an attack at his honour. Our summaries and analyses are written by experts, and your questions are answered by real teachers. The characterisation of Othello was presented through the dominant ideology of the predilection, prejudice and paragon image of race. Change ). Iago raises Brabantio from his bed, and shocks Brabentio saying, “'Zounds, sir, you're robb'd; for shame, put on your gown; Your heart is burst, you have lost half your soul; Even now, now, very now, an old black ram In the very first scene, Roderigo and Iago disparage Othello in explicitly racial terms, calling him, among other things, "Barbary horse" and "thick lips." Change ), You are commenting using your Twitter account. Note how he describes Othello to Brabantio, Desdemona's father: "an old black ram is tupping your white ewe." ’s race does not prominently impact his demise, although Shakespeare touches upon the issue of race, the reason for Othello’s demise lies somewhere else.. The very first act of deception is done by the character Desdemona. Furthermore, the setting of the play creates great significance in Act 2 Scene 1 when the action shifts to Cyprus; he turmoil Cyprus reinforces Othello’s nature as a savage “Moor”, as he can no longer dominate his reactions, but rather, as Shakespeare previously quoted: “wears his heart on his sleeve” as his emotions are on the surface of his “blackness”; in reference to F. R. Leavis’ ‘Diabolic Intellect and the Noble Hero’: “The noble Othello is now seen as tragically pathetic”. Already a member? Educators go through a rigorous application process, and every answer they submit is reviewed by our in-house editorial team. Brabantio says, "O, she deceives me/Past thought!" Nevertheless, I think the duke does not let race effect his judgment and bases his verdict on what each party has to say, so he gives his blessing and sees nothing wrong with Othello’s and Desdemona’s relationship. Othello faces constant racism from other characters, especially when he marries Desdemona, a privileged white woman whose father disapproves of the union. Shakespeare displays irony, as he intentionally reverses stereotypes as he illustrates Iago to have most of the negative descriptions of the black people and Othello to have the typical English Christian man influence: “Most potent, grave, and reverend signiors, My very noble and approved good masters” “Rude am I in my speech” (1:3). As stated in Shakespeare Unlimited ‘Othello and Blackface’ Podcast: “People weren’t interested in seeing the play in the way in Shakespeare’s time [which] is really sort of startling, because of the very clear and numerous derogatory references to skin colour in the play.” In Act 1 Scene 1, Iago cowardly confesses to Brabantio through Roderigo’s shadow that “even now, now, very now, an old black ram is tupping your white ewe.” Exposing Iago’s malevolence in his stealthy manner that is hidden behind his duality; which further reiterates the “derogatory references”. The marriage of Othello and Desdemona was a union of different races and colors that the sense of the world has never approved. Many of Othello's insecurities are derived from his race and from the perception that he is lowlier than his wife. However, the allegations of race directly lead to its tragic ending. Tragically his wife Desdemona was unable to persuade him to see beyond his colour as she does, but as others' have said elements of the society at the time, and Othello's … As referenced in an article created by Virginia Mason Vaughan: “Othello was crafted at the dawn of the 17th century, shaped by complex social and geopolitical issues”. That’s fulsome.” (4:1) This implies the carnal, visceral and obscene descriptions, through Othello’s use of repeated variances, clever wordplay and imperatives that reinforce his ascending anger and obsession that was clearly elevating throughout the play. ( Log Out /  As this was stated by the Duke, it undermines the fact that Othello is civil in the eyes of nobility, despite the colour of his skin. While Othello is barraged by racism, he manages to resist its pull for some time. Although Iago uses honesty to manipulate at several stages in the play, there is one scene where he is brutally honest with Othello regarding race and his relationship with Desdemona. What reason does Iago give for his hatred of Othello? Top subjects are Literature, Arts, and History, Latest answer posted May 03, 2012 at 11:56:23 PM, Latest answer posted December 15, 2018 at 3:55:37 PM, Latest answer posted June 10, 2019 at 5:16:54 PM, Latest answer posted December 08, 2016 at 2:37:48 PM, Latest answer posted May 31, 2015 at 9:00:42 PM. In Othello, most male characters assume that women are inherently promiscuous, which explains why all three women characters in the … (1.1.163-164). Lie with her! – – O devil – -” reinforce the increase of passion that is fuelling his restlessness and his lack of rationality. Brontë simply describes him as “a Lascar” (an Indian seaman) and a “dark-skinned gipsy”, leaving the rest to us to interpret. While the prejudiced characters in the play denigrate Othello as an animal or a beast based on his race, Othello's obvious honor and intelligence makes these attacks obviously ridiculous. Racism very much affects the way Othello interacts with all the characters in the play. Desdemona hides her relationship with Othello from her father, knowing he will disapprove due to Othello's race. 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 be the result of Othello's trickery. Who are the experts?Our certified Educators are real professors, teachers, and scholars who use their academic expertise to tackle your toughest questions. Iago corrupts Othello “for sport” and as part of his perceived revenge more than personal gain which makes him the embodiment of evil, not unlike Lucifer’s temptation of Christ. Critical intelligence / critical thinking ; Critically evaluating his justification ; Critical reservations (of viewer of the play) 48 Critically Thinking . Here, Othello’s position of power and influence together with his desire to love Desdemona is influenced by Iago’s ill advice which he, Othello acknowledges and finally leads to his failure. Othello, the Moor of Venice.. As I’ve mentioned before, “Moor” was Elizabethan shorthand for Muslim (though through the Middle Ages, “the Moors were widely supposed to be mostly black or very dark-skinned” [“moor” Oxford English Dictionary Online.Oxford University Press, December 2015. Noses, ears, and lips. Moreover, Iago’s malcontent is derived from his hunger for power, through his hatred towards Othello: “A frail vow betwixt an erring barbarian and a super-subtle venetian be not too hard for my wits and all the tribe of hell” (1:3). Only a black Othello can serve as adequate motivation for his attitude toward his daughter's marriage to a man of exalted rank and reputation. Shakespeare shows how his main protagonist’s racial tension and mark of cultural, social identity affect his relationship with the characters of the play. eNotes.com will help you with any book or any question. The main hypothesis of Shakespeare’s Othello play in this study will be “race affects our relationship when our ideas are manipulated by ill-minded people about our progress”. Further linking back to the dominant ideology of the predilection, prejudice and paragon image of race. Virtue is the way we see Othello characterised in the beginning because he is humble etc. Change ), You are commenting using your Google account. – -Is’t possible? Desdemona herself does not seem to judge Othello for his skin color at all—on the contrary, she is attracted to him because he is so different... (The entire section contains 2 answers and 532 words.). The language used by the other characters makes this very clear—the racial epithets Iago applies to Othello ("the thick lips," for example) all form part of Iago's hatred toward him. Throughout the play, Iago's soliloquies disclose to the audience what he does not reveal to the other characters as his plans take shape. It can happen that an exam question on the Single Text might ask you to discuss the relationship between two specific characters rather than just focusing on one alone. Iago keeps fingering his wound to take him away from his beloved wife Desdemona. Further linking back to Lust’s Dominion and the Binary black and white imagery. A military general, he has risen to a position of power and influence. The most prominent form of prejudice on display in Othello is racial prejudice. Othello is one of the first black heroes in English literature. “Haply for I am black, And have not those soft parts of conversation That chamberers have…” (Othello, Act 3 Scene 3, Line 267) Iago and Roderigo describe Othello at the start of the play, without even naming him, using his racial difference to identify him, … OTHELLO'S RACE BACKGROUND In Othello’s case this interpretation varies considerably. Shakespeare perhaps does not want to introduce Othello until the audience fully understands Iago, so that this deceitfulness can be seen immediately as he enters, and to form the audience’s opinion of Othello through the words of Iago to create the same sense of unsure curiosity in the audience as to his real character. The play's performance history has been marked by racism. Further reassuring the racist implications on Othello’s “blackness”. b. As he questions their relationship and believes that “haply, for I am black” and “for I am declined into the value of years,” that his race and age affect their relationship (III.iii.301-318). ( Log Out /  Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. What is Othello's tragic flaw that causes his downfall. – – Confess – – handkerchief! We’ve discounted annual subscriptions by 50% for our End-of-Year sale—Join Now! Shakespeare uses Othello to underscore the animosity between “blackness” and the Venetians, to emphasise the vivid marginalisation of the ‘Other’ that was occurring at that contemporary era. Web. Othello's race sets him apart, and makes him very self-conscious; it makes him work hard and look carefully after his reputation, so he is regarded … Sharing resources for Secondary English. Brabanzio channels his own insecurity about his daughter’s loyalty to him by expressing sneering disgust about Othello’s race, implying that Othello’s blackness is a dirty coating that threatens to soil Desdemona’s purity. In the play “Othello,” by William Shakespeare, the main protagonist can be very much interpreted as a victim who has been treated differently in comparison to the Venetians due to his race. Lecture on Othello - Othello's Jealousy. See also our discussions of "Race" and "Sex" for more on this topic. Subsequently, Iago extends his antagonising, animalistic and dehumanising characterisations of Othello through his use of visceral, brutal and sexual imagery: “I am one, sir, that comes to tell you your daughter and the Moor are now making the beast with two backs” (1:1) which further degrades Othello, not only as a black person but as a human who was belittled through Iago’s bigotry. 81–82). 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. This play presents a story of Othello being misguided by his ensign Iago and led to him murdering his … Racism very much affects the way Othello interacts with all the characters in the play. In Shakespeare’s Othello, the primary obstacle in Othello and Desdemona’s relationship is Othello’s race, and hence, his status as an outsider. The marriage of black and white seems always to have been repulsive to an Elizabethan, and dramatists before Shakespeare had always presumed that to be the case. The use of exclamatory remarks and disjointed incomplete sentences when he exclaims “Pish! from University of Oxford M.A. Does Othello prove to the Duke he really loves For example, in spite of his obvious eloquence in Act I, scene iii, he protests, “Rude am I in my speech, / And little blessed with the soft phrase of peace” (I.iii. However, the theme of race was overlooked by the audience, as it was not considered a significant problem at that time; no matter how eloquently Shakespeare interweaved it throughout the play. Othello and Race. Othello, a black general, was disapproved and deemed unfit to become Desdemona’s husband, not because of his achievements, but because of race. We should also note that it's impossible to discuss gender and sexuality without considering race: Several characters in the play, including Othello, believe that black men sexually contaminate white women, which may partially explain why Othello sees his wife as soiled. 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