The Theme Of Racism In Othello

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The beauty of Williams Shakespeare’s plays is the timelessness of the inherit themes and universal truths present in every one of his plays. Much like urban legends, myths, and folktales are passed down, Shakespeare’s plays are passed down from generation to generation. During the course of these stories getting passed down, often details may get lost or jumbled, but the theme and moral of will always remain the same. Othello is no exception, as Shakespeare’s timeless theme of jealousy and anger is as relevant now as it was early 17th century during the Elizabethan Era. Over the course of the transmission of this historic play, come modern-adaptations of Shakespeare’s universal themes, and “O”, directed by Tim Nelson, puts a unique spin on…show more content…
In all three, Othello is a considered an outsider due to his skin color, and is an easy target for Iago’s manipulation. Despite the hurdles of racism, Othello is able to succeed whether it is as a high-ranking general or as a star basketball player. “Gli” makes use of the motif of racism right form the start, not even giving Othello a real name, only calling him the “Moor”, a degrading and dehumanizing name. Despite this Othello doesn’t escape his insecurities and falls prey to Iago’s manipulation almost immediately without full proof, thinking he isn’t worthy of Desdemona’s love, and thus Iago must be correct. “As Dian 's visage, is now begrimed and black as mine own face. (3.3.441-443)”. Over here, Othello confirms his own insecurities, associating the blackness of his own skin with something dirty and stain. Likewise, in “O”, Hugo tells the dean that Odin raped his daughter and the basis of the accusation solely due to the color of his skin. Much like Othello, Odin eventually confirms his insecurities and in a jealous rage he murders…show more content…
First, we must consider the length of story to assess the difference in technique. “Gli” is a novella; therefore Cithio is only given a small amount of space to describe the character’s motives and feelings. Cithio doesn’t have the room to let the plot develop and is sometimes at fault at making blunt statements in order to easily show a character’s feelings and get the plot moving. We see this right from the start when Ciatho introduces the Moor, “There once lived in Venice a Moor, who was very valiant and of a handsome person; and having given proofs in war of great skill and prudence”(Cithio, par. 1). Othello on the other hand is a full-length play. Shakespeare is able to get creative and use literary devices to portray character’s feelings and thoughts. The fact that Othello is a play also allows for the reader to see the characters genuine emotions with his own eye. Shakespeare also has the freedom to elaborate on the setting of the play (Venice and Cyrpus), and the room to create new characters altogether, such as Emilia, Brabantio, and Rodrigo, each who plays a vital role in the play. The modern “O”, is a full-length feature film and its modernity allows for Nelson to use techniques that Shakespeare could only dream of. Nelson and Shakespeare differ on their portrayal of Iago’s inner
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