Race in Othello and Titus Andronicus Essay

Race in Othello and Titus Andronicus Essay

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Race in Othello and Titus Andronicus

 
     Within both Titus Andronicus and Othello both by William Shakespeare the reader is introduced to the concept of a black man within a white society. Stigmas and stereotypes are attached to the black characters of Aaron and Othello. Although each black character has a similar stigma, the characters are very different from one another. Aaron is portrayed as evil, conniving and malevolent, while Othello has none of these traits. Othello's fault lies in the fact that he is very gullible and easily led.


Aaron within Titus Andronicus is a character that is both bound and not bound to his colour. Though his actions can be "blamed" on his colour, there are two paths to follow in this thinking. First Aaron's actions within the play can be blamed on the fact that he is black and as he is black, he is naturally a bad person as black people are stereotypically people prone to causing trouble and have black souls which match their outward appearance. This answer would have been acceptable within Shakespeare's times, however it seems that it doesn't fit with Othello as the villain in that play is a white man, who's soul is nothing but pure evil. If one were going by the terms of colour dictates your soul, that would have made Iago a good man, and he definitely wasn't a good man. The other way in which one could take Aaron's misbehavior, which seems to be the more logical one is that his actions though are a result of his skin tone are not an inbred condition. His actions, deeds and thoughts are not dictated through his skin colour, but because of the ostracism and the hate he has felt through his life due to his skin colour he now has built up a resistance to the hate. By throwing hate ba...


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...what similar. Though both characters have similar stigmas attached to them they are very different from one another. The reaction to Aaron can be justified as he actually is an evil person and causes nothing but trouble. In the case of Othello, the reactions of the other characters are simply a projection of the stereotypes associated with the black man.


Works Cited

McLauchlan, Juliet. Shakespeare - Othello. London: Camelot Press Ltd. 1971

Wain, John. Shakespeare's Othello - A Casebook. London: MacMillan Press. 1994

Shakespeare, William. "The Tragedy of Othello the Moor of Venice" The Norton Shakespeare. Ed. Stanley Wells & |Gary Taylor. New York/London, W.W. Norton Company,1997. 2100-2174

Shakespeare, William. "Titus Andronicus"  The Norton Shakespeare. Ed. Stanley Wells & |Gary Taylor. New York/London, W.W. Norton Company,1997. 371-434

 

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