Racism in Othello by William Shakespeare

1248 Words5 Pages
Have you ever thought about how much Othello’s race and the racism around him affected his life? 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” (Shakespeare 1.1.40; 1.1.88; 1.1.111; 1.1.66).The term “racism” has been around for several years; it started in the twentieth century (Bartels 433). By the way the Elizabethan era viewed black people was similar to how racism is today with all of the racial comments, and stereotypes. Being a black person in a mostly white ethnicity area at that time had to be challenging based on Othello’s experience. Othello was the black sheep crowded around a herd of white sheep, he was an outcast. Racist comments were made by many of the characters like Iago, Brabantio, Roderigo, and Emilia. If there was an award for most used racial comment towards Othello, Iago would win. Racism in Othello had a tremendous impact on Othello. 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.
To begin with, Othello’s race and the racism around him ruined his marriage with Desdemona. Othello and Desdemona made 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 was not allowed. While Brabantio (Desdemona’s father) was sleeping, Iago and Roderigo woke him up saying that Othello was having sex with his daughter Desdemona at that very moment (Shake...

... middle of paper ...

... to most people. Most of the actions that took place in Othello still occur 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.
Shakespeare, William. Othello. Ed. Philip M. Parker. [San Diego, Calif.]: ICON Classics, 2005. eBook Collection (EBSCOhost). Web. 17 Feb. 2014.
Open Document