Language And Inequal Power Relationships In 'Othello'

1283 Words6 Pages
Explain how language and/or generic conventions are used to construct unequal power relationships. Explore how this occurs in at least one dramatic script you have studied.

David Cushieri once said “The mind is a powerful force. It can enslave us or empower us. It can plunge us into the depths of misery or take us to the heights of ecstasy.” In Othello, written by the playwright Shakespeare, the power in each and every relationship has taken the majority of the characters down to the depths of misery through enslaving each of them. Shakespeare uses language to construct unequal power relationships in the fields of gender, ethnicity and class.

The relationship between Othello and Desdemona is a rich example of power in gender stereotypes
…show more content…
Othello, a general in the Venetian army, is a conventional man given that he is robust in his profession but feeble in his intimate relationship. As a Moor, he built himself a highly just reputation and is excelling in his profession as he has built himself up from a slave to a general. However, he is quite a weak man in his relationship with Desdemona as states that he cannot live without her: “But I do love thee! And when I love thee not/Chaos is come again”. This is a prime example of diction, as Shakespeare’s words have not only cleared conveyed his message but also expressed the emotion, love, chaos and rage, building in Othello. The message conveyed is that chaos and rage ensue when he is without Desdemona. Each and every typical man always suspects that their wives are promiscuous. Throughout Othello, there are passages hinting at Desdemona’s promiscuity: “you are pictures out of doors…players in your housewifery, and housewives in your beds”, “if she be fair and wise, fairness and wit/ The one’s for use, the other useth it” and “begin to heave the…show more content…
Othello, the black eponymous protagonist in the dramatic script, is heavily marginalised due to his race, even though he has ascended through the ranks of the Venetian army. In his profession, he has an abundance of power whereas he has seldom power in his private or social life. A large group of Venetians are racist about Othello referring to him as a “thing” with “thick lips” and a “sooty bosom”, connoting to the reality that racism exists and the white people have power over black people (specifically in this case). Iago, a white Venetian and Othello’s good friend, clearly has power over Othello. This is reinforced as he manipulates his emotions by implanting thoughts engulfed of jealousy: “I cannot think it/That he would steal away so guilty-like/Seeing you coming”, “Did Michael Cassio, when you wooed my lady/Know of your love?” and “She did deceive her father marrying you”. Each of these quotes connotes to Desdemona being promiscuous, therefore causing Othello to become jealous. Given that Othello was referred to as an “old black ram” and a “devil” as well as allowing himself to be manipulated clearly substantiates that Iago has power over Othello, therefore has an unequal power
Open Document