Othello and The Merchant of Venice, by William Shakespeare Essay

Othello and The Merchant of Venice, by William Shakespeare Essay

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Tension is defined as “the feeling caused by a lack of trust between people, groups, or countries that do not agree about something and may attack each other” (Macmillian Dictionary). Shakespeare seamlessly conveys tensions between different cultures in multiple plays through his expert use of language and ethnic knowledge. These tensions may result from the hatred between two races, two religions or two ideologies. Racial tensions are most pronounced in Shakespeare’s Othello and religious tensions are most prominent in The Merchant of Venice.
Othello is a play where Iago tricks Othello into believing that Desdemona is unfaithful and to do so Iago manipulates and disposes of characters at his will. The play Othello begins with Roderigo and Iago telling Brabantio that his daughter has married Othello. This leads Brabantio to confront Othello, and that is where Brabantio learns that Desdemona willingly chose to marry the Moor. Right after that event, Othello has to go off to war to fight the Turks. Later on, Othello safely arrives in Cyprus while a storm destroys the Turkish fleet so; the city of Cyprus has a celebration. At this party Cassio gets drunk and gets into a fight where he injures Montano, which results in Cassio’s demotion from his position as lieutenant. Iago then tells Cassio to ask Desdemona to help get back his position. Iago tells Othello that Desdemona is cheating on him with Cassio since they are always together. Emilia gives Iago Desdemona’s handkerchief and Iago places it in Cassio’s possession and then Iago tells Othello that he will get Cassio to admit that he slept with Desdemona. Othello becomes enraged and tells Iago to kill Cassio, but Iago only injures Cassio and then Othello kills Desdemona. At the end o...


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...trayal of Othello and the widespread hatred for Shylock provide indisputable evidence of the racial and religious tensions Shakespeare used as inspiration in his works. These plays help to show the audience that people may have different beliefs and different morals, but that does not justify degrading them in order to rise in stature.



Works Cited


Bloom, Harold. William Shakespeare's Othello. New York: Chelsea House, 1987. Print.
Bloom, Harold. William Shakespeare's The Merchant of Venice. New York: Chelsea House, 1986. Print.
"Gender and Race in Othello." Gender and Race in Othello. N.p., n.d. Web. 9 Nov. 2013
Johnson, Vernon E. Race in William Shakespeare's Othello. Detroit: Greenhaven, 2012. Print.
"Tension." Macmillan Dictionary. N.p., n.d. Web. 11 Nov. 2013.
"Themes in The Merchant of Venice." Themes in The Merchant of Venice. N.p., n.d. Web. 9 Nov. 2013.

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