William Shakespeare's Othello as a Victim

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William Shakespeare's Othello as a Victim

Not All Works Cited Included

In "Othello" Shakespeare shows that Othello is victimised in many

ways, for instance; his race, his culture, his social position and

naïve. Othello's victimisation could also show Shakespeare's meaning

of the term "tragedy". In other Shakespearean tragedies the lead

character is shown as cunning, ruthless and manipulative, more similar

to Iago than Othello. This could represent a change in Shakespeare's

opinion of a true Shakespearean tragedy.

The main cause of Othello's victimisation is his race. Unlike the

other characters in "Othello" he is a Moor, a natural figure of hatred

and disgust. In the play he is very rarely referred to as "Othello",

but more often as; "moor" or "negro", Desdemona even refers to Othello

as "my noble moor" not Othello. The event where Othello is victimised

due to his race are vast, for example at the start of the play when

Iago is talking to Roderigo, Othello's race is a major issue,

"To the gross clasps of a lascivious Moor-".

Here evidence of racism is shown. There is also a case that this shows

the imperial and colonial nature of Venice in the Sixteenth century.

"Othello" can be seen to show the stereotypical contemporary

Elizabethan belief of blackness and the barbarous nature of the

"black" man as evil and devilish. Othello's race also helps to

highlight his jealousy and gullibility, due to his race Othello is

always subconscious of his weaknesses, his "tragic flaw". This may be

a reason for why he befriends Iago, who would act as his link to the

"white" world, informing Othello of the opinions white society.


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...d social figures.

In conclusion I feel that Othello is more "sinned against than

sinning". This is not to say that he is a innocent, it most be

remembered that he killed Desdemona, not Iago and that no matter how

big a part Iago has it is still Othello's fault. But, Othello is

victimised, he is portrayed as an "other",

"if this be known to you, and your allowance".

He is also presented as a savage, barbarian and a inferior, a

parasite, living of the healthy Venetian state. But, this is all due

to the fact that he is different, it has been noted that if you are

different you will never be equal, "if you are different you will

always be different" (Marx - CM 1848) and Othello's difference is no

fault of his own.

Works Cited:

Shakespeare, William. Othello. Ed. Alfred Harbab. Middlesex, England: Penguin, 1970.
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