The Other in William Shakespeare's Othello Essay

The Other in William Shakespeare's Othello Essay

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The "Other" in William Shakespeare's Othello


In several of Shakespeare's plays the writer introduces the notion of being considered an "other", and whether certain groups are "in" or "out". This theme is significantly portrayed in the play Othello, in which a black general living in Venice must constantly struggle to balance his dual nature of both Moor and Venetian. It is apparent that before the play begins, Othello has not yet resolved his duplicitous self-image; however, throughout the action of the play, he is put in a maliciously-designed situation which causes his insecurities and self doubt to breed, allowing the Venetian?s stereotype of the brutal and ignorant black man to consume Othello's eloquence and education adopted as a Christian military leader in society. Othello's fall into uncivilized madness intensifies throughout the play, but is finally resolved in his final speech in Act V, scene ii, just before he stabs himself to death: Othello reconciles both of his identities in asking that he be remembered as he is and not as what the Venetian insiders see him to be, and what he has become in the course of the play - a vile, unforgiving, savage Moor.

Othello is one of Shakespeare?s prime examples of an ?other?, someone who doesn?t truly belong to society by some unfortunate inheritance of ethnicity and race, made worse by the negative stereotypes constructed by the Venetians to apply to outsiders like him. Although Othello is a gifted military hero, a ?worthy governor? (II.i.30) and a ?full soldier? (II.i.36), he is also damned by his color, his blackness. Most of the Venetian insiders, including his wife Desdemona, refer to Othello as merely ?the Moor?, and label him with such blatant insults as ?l...


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...n outsider like Othello to be. So in essence, the killing spree that ensues from the above events can be blamed on the racist natures of the Venetians themselves, allowing a person such as Othello to be socially constructed according to their opinion of him as a killer and madman. Works Cited
Collier, Judith, and Francine Prose. The Outsider within: Othello and the Military Code. Ed. Leslie Knox. Austin: U of Texas P, 2009. Print. Shakespeare, William. Othello. Making Literature Matter: An Anthology for Readers and Writers. Ed. John Schilb and John Clifford. 4th ed. Boston: Bedford / St. Martin’s, 2009. 706-793. Print.

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