Identity and Cultural Points in Othello Essay

1. Is Othello considered an equal by the leaders of Venice? In what ways is this communicated in the play?Othello, the protagonist in this play is considered and equal by some, but not all.

Characters like Desdemona and Cassio consider Othello to be of equal status despite his race. However, Characters like Iago consider him to be inferior. Othello is a man of high political status, the leader of the Venetian militia; married to a white woman of high class. This only causes more controversy and a larger uproar of the characters in the play Othello.Throughout the first act, many racist comments are made about Othello. Iago calls Othello a “black ram” when telling Brabrantio of Othello and Desdemona’s marriage. He says “An old black ram/Is tupping you white ewe” (I.i.

88-89). This vulgar statement creates a contrast between race as well as Iago’s opinion of Othello. This “black old ram” is corrupting this innocent virgin, Desdemona. He may have said this to Brabrantio to influence his opinion of the marriage and express his own distaste of the event.At the end of Act I, Iago expresses his hatred for Othello in a speech.

In this speech he informs the audience of his plans: Cheating Roderigo out of his money, making Othello believe that Desdemona is cheating on his with Cassio, and using Othello to bring him to his ultimate demise. At the end of this speech, he says: “hell and night/must bring this monstrous birth to the world’s light” (I.iii.397-98). This is a racist statement because creates contrast between the two races, as well as good and evil. Othello is thought to be “hell and night”, Iago desires to deliver Othello to the “world’s light”, bringing him to an end; metaphorically and physically.3. Based on the overall play, do you feel that Shakespeare is a critic of interracial marriages/relationships? Why or why not?I do not believe that Shakespeare is a critic of interracial relationships.

I believe that he thought it would be controversial, that’s probably why he wrote a play about it. The topic of interracial relationships, romantic or otherwise was a very controversial subject in that time period. Everyone is interested in scandals, and controversy. Shakespeare probably knew that it would sell, because it would peak many people’s interest.

I also believe that if Shakespeare was a critic of interracial relationships, he would have made Othello the antagonist. If he would have gone along with the racial views of his culture, Othello would have been the evil one, the bad guy. Othello is the protagonist, and his relationship with Desdemona could have worked out if it wasn’t for Iago. Iago’s cruelty and Othello’s naivet� is what makes this play tragic. Maybe Shakespeare was trying to tell the audiences of his time something worth hearing.4. What differences do you see between the racial attitudes in Othello and the attitudes in this country over the past 100 years? What similarities do you see?Today, interracial marriages are accepted by many, but not all.

The attitude today is very similar to that in Othello. There are always some people that are going to disagree with interracial relationships. This time period in Venice seems to be somewhat accepting of Othello and Desdemona’s relationship, the society itself progressing into a more racially accepting people. America has gone through this movement, this progression. Now, there is no law against interracial marriages.

Now, there is no segregation. There is equality. Despite these general statements, there are always people who refuse to change their ways.Even in today’s society, there are people who are racist, believing that one race is superior over another. Laws have been changed, society has progressed and still there are these individuals, these groups that continue to think in this close minded manner. There is still hatred.

Characters like Iago are a perfect demonstration of this. Despite the fact that Othello is an honest, respected member of society, Iago finds reasons to hate him because of his race. Iago even goes as far as plotting against him, all because of his race. Individuals like this still exist, and hate crimes still happen.

Maybe one day, every person can become accepting and understanding of a joined community. A joined community; void of any sort of discrimination.


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