A brief review on
Although, Shakespeare’s Othello is a controversial play and there are a lot of things to mention about the play, I want to say that it’s a play about jealousy and racism. Racism is one of the major themes of the play. There is a lot of evidence from the text and from the context of the play which prove the idea of racism. Now in this brief review on racism in Othello, I want to elaborate these evidences.
What is the cause of Othello’s fall? As Shakespeare is a very witty and genius writer, this is a question which critics answer to it differently and Othello’s fall and its causes in the play are very ambiguous. But from my point of view, it’s racism which cause Othello’s fall. The major incident which puts the play in action is the blatant and secret marriage of Othello and Desdemona. This is the marriage which makes the other’s reaction and it’s the other’s reaction which makes the marriage blatant and full of fuss. The negative reaction of the other characters, especially Brabantio, Desdemona’s father, Iago and Roderigo, is actually based on the idea of racism. There is 2 points to mention: first, the marriage is secret because Othello is black and second, the marriage is blatant and makes the other to react because Othello is black. Brabantio who is the Senator of Venice and is higher in rank than Othello openly insults Othello and views him as a fool and dirty black and calls him “lascivious moor" or "Wheeling stranger". The other characters like Iago and Roderigo don’t show racism openly and to Othello’s face. Because they are lower in rank than Othello. But actually these characters are racist in their actions. Iago for example, in the whole of the play tries to insult Othello, and because of his jealousy tries to make trouble and break the relationship of Othello and Desdemona. But all of them are behind of Othello, because according to Iago’s plot to fall Othello, openly he is Othello’s intimate friend. Even, Emilia shows racism. At the end of the play when she finds that Othello has killed Desdemona, she expresses her feeling toward him “O, the more angel she, and you the blacker devil!” As it is obvious, it’s the blackness of Othello which makes the other characters react toward him. The other important theme that motivates them to react is union of black and white. Desdemona in a white, attractive, pretty and wise woman who is virtue is also well-known. Furthermore, Iago and Rederigo are in love with this white woman. So, the union of a “black moor” with a “white angel” causes them to react negatively.
As we know the play was written by Shakespeare in Elizabethan era. There is a lot of interesting point about racism in that era. One of the major one is that Elizabeth, herself was a racist. The Elizabethans became to recognize black skin as having satanic qualities and perversion. They linked the most horrid of heathen qualities to African and Moorish people. Also black color at that time was conceived as a symbol of negation, dirt, sin and death. Furthermore it was contributed to “otherness” and connected to nakedness, savagery, and general depravity. So, Othello’s blackness is not just visual ugliness but also moral inequalities. As a result Elizabethans found Othello’s race inferior and unworthy of Desdemona and all her positive qual