Othello: A Covert Discussion on Racism

analytical Essay
1609 words
1609 words

The issue of race is one filled with controversy and passion, even today in the twenty-first centaury. In today’s day and age it is more shuttle and underground then it was in its most recent ‘hay-day’. In our time today we see it as more of a shameful, offensive and intolerant thing, but it was the norm in the early 15th and 16th century. Today those people that are outwardly racist are seen as outcasts. In this essay I will tempt to show how even though it was the norm in Victorian England, Shakespeare already had another mind set, and was trying in this creative way that the mind set of the people was not correct even for that time. How and why did Shakespeare purposely portray Othello the Moor as a tragic hero, like Hamlet or King Lear, or did this character redevelop over time, as society’s view on racism changed. This issue of race is not signaler to Othello alone but through out the play with all the other characters, such as the main antagonist Iago, and the prejudice Barbantio. I will also attempt to explore their roles as well. The History of the slave trade for Britain began in 1066, but the slaves of that time period were mostly indentured servants, meaning that after they had paid off what they owned their master they were free to go and live their lives. “It is estimated that over half of all white immigrants to Colonial America during the 17th and 18th centuries consisted of redemptoners” (Wikipedia). Britain’s roles in the Atlantic slave trade begin around the mid-fifteenth century. During the late fifteenth century slavery became very lucrative. At first it was the Portuguese that had the dominate hand in the trade, but soon one man, John Hawkins begin to carry out his own assaults. “Between 156... ... middle of paper ... ... 1994 6. Amon, Frank. Othello, Macbeth and King Lear: A Formal Approach. Washington, DC: University Press of America, 1978. 7. Edwards, Philip & Kenneth Muir. Aspects of Othello. New York, NY: University of Cambridge Press, 1978. 8. Vaughan, Virginia Mason. Othello: A Contextual History. New York, NY: Cambridge University Press, 1994. 9. “Othello.” The Longman Anthology British Literature Volume One. Ed 4. Damrosch, David & Dettmar, Kevin J. H. New York, NY: Pearson Education, Inc., 2010. 1272 – 1359. Print. 10. "Othello: Summary." eNotes: Othello. Ed. Penny Satoris. Seattle: Inc, October 2002. 8 December 2009. . 11. "History of slavery." Wikipedia, The Free Encyclopedia. 7 Dec 2009, 21:43 UTC. 8 Dec 2009 .

In this essay, the author

  • Describes edwards, philip, and kenneth muir's aspects of othello.
  • Explains the longman anthology british literature volume one. damrosch, david & dettmar, kevin j. h. new york, ny.
  • Cites penny satoris' enotes: othello: summary.
  • Describes the history of slavery in wikipedia, the free encyclopedia.
  • Analyzes how iago enlists the aid of roderigo in his plot against othello on a quiet night in venice.
  • Analyzes how shakespeare is trying to send an anti-racist message. he is the tragic hero, even though he fulfills all the prejudices that iago and the other placed on him.
  • Analyzes how shakespeare is trying to make the same point. he kills desmonda without remorse because he believes that his actions are moral.
  • Cites the victorian web's "the anti-slavery campaign in britain."
  • Describes wynne-davies' bloomsbury guides to english litenature: the renaissance literature: 1500-1660.
  • Explains amon, frank, othello, macbeth, and king lear: a formal approach.
  • Analyzes how shakespeare portrayed othello the moor as a tragic hero, like hamlet or king lear, or did this character redevelop over time as society's view on racism changed.
  • Explains that shakespeare's fascination with tragedy is reflected in the consecutive plays of hamlet, othello, king lear, and macbeth.
  • Analyzes how othello is well respected by his commanding officers, but barbantio doesn't like him because of his skin tone. shakespeare is not suitably drawing attention to people that present themselves as polite and forward but deep down hold racist views.
  • Opines that shakespeare's play shows the varied themes of racism, love, jealousy, and betrayal, not othello’s race. he defiantly showed that iago and barbantio with their devious characters were more harmful than any moor would be.
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