Racism in Othello

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Racism is just one of the many problems that we have here in the United States today. Racism isn’t as bad as it used to be but it’s still here. In Othello, written by the one and only William Shakespeare, racism is the main theme and focus. England became involved in the slave trade during the late sixteenth and seventeenth centuries (Slights 377). Racism started in the twentieth century after this was written but the way the Elizabethan era viewed black people was similar to how racism is today (Bartels 433). Othello struggled a lot during the play because of his dark skin color. He was called several racist names like “the Moor,” “Old black ram,” “Barbary horse,” and “Thick lips.” Othello was the black sheep crowded around a herd of white sheep. Racist comments were made by many of the characters like Iago, Brabantio, Roderigo, and Emilia. Iago got the trophy for the most used racial comments. Racism in Othello had a tremendous impact on Othello. Being the only black person in a mostly white ethnicity area influenced him in a bad way. He was judged by the color of his skin and not his personality. Othello’s race and the racism around him affected his life by ruining his marriage with Desdemona, alienating him from everybody in Venice, and by making him an easy target to be manipulated by Iago. Firstly, Othello and Desdemona was a good couple, but you know what they say, all good things must come to an end. Almost everybody had a problem with their relationship. In that time, interracial relationships and marriage wasn’t allowed. While Brabantio was sleeping, Iago and Roderigo woke him up out of his sleep saying that Othello was having sex with his daughter Desdemona at that very moment. Brabantio didn’t believe them at first... ... middle of paper ... ...of how accurate and relatable it is. Most of the things that happened in Othello still happen today like racism, stereotypes, manipulation, and jealousy. Works Cited Adelman, Janet. “Iago's Alter Ego: Race as Projection in Othello.” Shakespeare Quarterly 48.2 (1997): 125-44. JSTOR. Web. 17 Feb. 2014. Bartels, Emily C. “Making more of the Moor: Aaron, Othello, and Renaissance Refashionings of Race.” Shakespeare Quarterly 41.4 (1990): 433-54. JSTOR. Web. 17 Feb. 2014. Berry, Edward. “Othello’s Alienation.” Studies in English Literature 30.2 (1990): 315-33. JSTOR. Web. 17 Feb. 2014. Little, Arthur L. “’An Essence that's Not Seen’: The Primal Scene of Racism in Othello.” Shakespeare Quarterly 44.3 (1993): 304-24. JSTOR. Web. 17 Feb. 2014. Slights, Camille Wells. “Slaves and Subjects in Othello.” Shakespeare Quarterly 48.4 (1997): 377 90. JSTOR. Web. 17 Feb. 2014.

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