To conclude, it is clear that Shakespeare's Othello continues to engage audiences through its dramatic treatment of the role of power in relationships. Gender, Race and Social class all play a major role in the power an individual possesses in a relationship, and the effect it can have on their life. Othello clearly demonstrates these themes, and links them to the power and relationships throughout the play.
Shakespeare's Othello continues to engage audiences through its dramatic treatment of the role of power in relationships. William Shakespeare's Othello was written in the Elizabethan era, but is still studied and regarded as a classic literary text. This is as a result of the timeless themes which reinforce power as a major role in relationships. Themes such as 'Gender', 'Racism' and 'Socioeconomic status' are all conveyed in the play in order to show what role power plays in a relationship. 'Differences in race, gender and class suggest that Venetian society consists of both empowered and dis-empowered groups.' Shakespeare's play demonstrates these contextual concerns, as well as engaging the audience. Although this text has been studied, and interpreted a vast majority of times, this presentation will consist of my interpretation and understanding of Othello, and the role of relationships depicted throughout the text.
Another factor, which can be used to attest that Othello is a tragic hero, is that he does not perpetrate evil with a premeditated intent. The plot of Iago exploits the trusting nature of the protagonist to cause him to perform evil. In the play, Iago implies that Desdemona was cheating with Cassio. Iago placed a handkerchief belonging to Desdemona in the room of Cassio arousing the suspicion of Othello. This led to the murder of Desdemona in the hands of Othello, an act that sealed the downfall of the protagonist (Bradley, 2006). Therefore, the protagonist was pushed to evil by the work of an external influence, in this case, Iago. His weakness, which leads to his tragedy, is the trust he has for Iago. Despite the plot of Iago to destroy Othello, the protagonist appears to be oblivious of the intentions of Iago. The tragic flaw of the protagonist was also evident in his character of being jealous and irrational. His emotions spurred him to act impulsively a flaw, which resulted in his tragic end. Another interpretation of the unhappy flaw exhibited by the protagonist was that he had internalized the racial prejudices, which were evident in the Venetian community (Bloom and Heims, 2008). He came to believe that being from the black race, he was inferior and unattractive to the native population. This caused him to second-guess the love of Desdemona and fall into the ploy of Iago leading to his tragedy. When Iago hinted at the infidelity of Desdemona, Othello appeared to believe the accusations immediately without stopping to think about the rationality of the accusations (Dutton & Howard, 2003). This shows the insecure nature of the protagonist concerning his status in the society and on love. Despite the protagonist being held in high acclaim by the leadership and the Venetian society, he still relates to the perception of the society on the black race, a main factor that leads him to death.
The characters reaction towards Othello is very dehumanizing for it inherits the concepts of animal description. The subject relating to use of coinciding animals traits with the dark race is hardened by his enemies who bring a dangerous outlook of Othello. In addition, the use of animals and beasts are used to describe the identity of Othello. Through this description, we come to have a perspective that black men are likened with animals. This gives a more outline of the character of black people in conjunction with deficiency of correct human identity. Sequentially, this brings imagery to the audience about the insignificance of black people in the society. Therefore, Othello’s color in the play is used to reflect to the discrimination that the black people face. The color issue brings another concept that faces the black race in terms of lack of modern progression. Many mistakes and an undeveloped way of intelligence are plotted against the black color because of the substandard way of thinking that is perceived to relate to the black people.
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Shakespeare is thought to be a racist in the beginning of the play because he brings a character who does not match with others in terms of color. Throughout the development of the play, we realize that the black race is associated with many weaknesses thus giving rise to the theme of race. The presence of Iago shows how the races have been portrayed in terms of having superior and the inferior race. This is because the white race has the tendency of insulting the black race basing their argument that black race is inferior. Racism has been used to show irony when Othello encourages his enemies to keep their bright sword because it will be rusted by the dew. Othello in this scene uses intellectual saying to deal with his enemies and thus bringing concept of wisdom among the black race. The role of racism has also been emphasized to show gender and race relations and their importance in contemporary movie creation. Othello has been compared with Desdemona to show the threats that are exposed by the feminine aspiration. This issue engulfs facts that surround a woman in terms of her virginity and authenticity
An essay or paper on Issues of Race & Gender in Othello
5 This position was powerfully—and variously—articulated in three classic essays published in 1979-80: Edward A. Snow's "Sexual Anxiety and the Male Order of Things in 10 (1980): 384-412; Stanley Cavell's "Othello and the Stake of the Other" in (Cambridge: Cambridge UP, 1987), 125-42 (originally published in 1979 in [Oxford: Oxford UP]); and Stephen Greenblatt's "The Improvisation of Power" in (Chicago and London: U of Chicago P, 1980), 222-54, esp. 232-52. For the association of Othello's blackness specifically with sexual contamination, and Othello's internalization of this association, see especially Snow, 400-402; and Cavell, 136-37. For a fuller reading of the association between blackness and monstrous sexuality in early modern English culture and in see especially Karen Newman, "'And wash the Ethiop white': femininity and the monstrous in in Jean E. Howard and Marion F. O'Connor, eds. (New York and London: Methuen, 1987), 143-62, esp. 148-53; for a fuller reading of the ways in which Othello internalizes the Venetian construction of his blackness, see Edward Berry, "Othello's Alienation," 30 (1990): 315-33. The "blackening" of Desdemona has become a critical commonplace: see, for example, Michael Neill, "Unproper Beds: Race, Adultery, and the Hideous in 40 (1989): 383-412, esp. 410; Berry, 328; Ania Loomba, (Manchester and New York: Manchester UP, 1989), 59; Parker, "Fantasies of 'Race' and 'Gender': Africa, and bringing to light" in Hendricks and Parker, eds., 84-100, esp. 95; and especially Newman, 151-52, for whom the blackening of Desdemona indicates the convergence of woman and black in the category of monstrous sexuality.
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2 is of course a vexed term; many have pointed out that the word gained its current meaning only as it was biologized in support of the economic institution of slavery and that the link between race and skin color is a peculiarly contemporary obsession, that (for example) Irish and Jews might in 1604 have been thought of as racially separate from the English. For a particularly lucid account of the questions surrounding the invocation of race as a category in early modern England, see Lynda E. Boose, "'The Getting of a Lawful Race': Racial discourse in early modern England and the unrepresentable black woman" in " Margo Hendricks and Patricia Parker, eds. (London and New York: Routledge, 1994), 35-54, esp. 35-40; see also John Gillies, (Cambridge: Cambridge UP, 1994), for the claim that early modern otherness was based on geography rather than on the anachronistic category of race (25). Nonetheless, in Iago's capacity to make Othello's blackness the primary signifier of his otherness—as Boose observes, "once his Ensign has raised the flag inscribing Othello within the difference of skin color, all the presumably meaningful differences Othello has constructed between himself and the infidel collapse" (38)—the text insists on the visible difference of skin color that will increasingly come to define race, perhaps because, unlike religion, it (proverbially) cannot be changed. For a discussion of the significance of visible difference in early modern England, see Kim Hall, "Reading What Isn't There: 'Black' Studies in Early Modern England," 3 (1993): 23-33, esp. 25-27; in her account "science merely takes up already pre-existing terms of difference, such as skin color and features, that have [previously] been combined with physical and mental characteristics" (25).