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Racism and Cultural Differences Exposed in Othello Essay examples

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Othello, from the onset, is shown to us a play of love and jealousy. There is however more to this play than just love and jealousy; there is underlying racism, hate, deception, pride, and even sexism between these pages. Othello is a transcendent play, one that will survive the perils of time simply because it is still relevant. Even today, over 400 years later, there are still issues of racism and sexism. Hate is as natural as love in humans and Othello gets right to the root of that. We witness this from the very first scene, “…you’ll have your daughter covered with a Barbary horse/ you’ll have your nephews neigh to you” (I.i.112-14); to the very last, “Moor she was chaste. She loved thee, cruel Moor” (V.ii.258). Moor however is used as an insult all throughout the play; not so much the word itself but the feel of the word. Between these pages we see many different ways as to how the cultural differences between Othello and the other characters.
To begin, race is the first and clearest of differences between Othello and other major characters. However race is also the least seen issue in the play. Racism is, as stated by Martin Okin “confined to Iago, Roderigo, and Brabantio” (Orkin, “Othello: and the”). Emilia herself has her moments of racism, going from using Moor as a describer of Othello to using it as an insult. Brabantio shows this racism when he discovers that Othello has wed his daughter stating:
O thou foul thief, where hast thou stowed my daughter?
Damned as thou art, thou hast enchanted her!
For I’ll refer me to all things of sense,
If she in chains of magic were not bound…
So opposite to marriage that she shunned
The wealthy curled darlings of our nation,
Would ever have, t’incur a general mock,
Run...


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...olored man are still viewed the same way; in this way Othello is a play that can still be considered pertinent. 400 years later and Othello can still have a major effect on the audience – more so than a Hamlet or a Macbeth – because the issues shown there are still visible today. For this reason I believe Othello may be Shakespeare’s best work. It is a powerful play that puts issues such as racism and cultural differences between people in the forefront.



Works Cited

Shakespeare, William, and Kim F. Hall. Othello, the Moor of Venice: Texts and Contexts. Boston: Bedford/St. Martin's, 2007. Print.
Orkin, Martin. “Othello and the “plain face” Of Racism.” 2nd ed. Vol. 38. N.p.: n.p., n.d. 166-88. Shakespeare Quarterly. Folger Shakespeare Library in Association with George Washington University, Summer 1987. Web. 12 Mar. 2014. .



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