RACISM IN OTHELLO 4
Racismis practiced when someone discriminates or prejudices another personof a different color, ethnic background, or simply based on a certainbelief. It is even heightened when someone loses respect in one wayor another due to his position in the society. In Othello, WilliamShakespeare explores racism in a work he when a black man was almostnonexistent, but occurs to be the general of Venice. In the play,Othello is a well respected black man who is surprisingly trusted byhis white elders, who were expected to be racists.
Itoccurs that Othello marries young and beautiful Desdemona who isSenator Brabantio’s daughter. Here racism takes over in that whenCassio is chosen to be Othello’s personal assistant, Iago becomesextremely jealous such that he goes to the extreme of using Othello’smarriage so as to get back at him (Shakespeare,1995).Iago shocks Brabantio from his sleep telling him that an old blackram is tapping his white ewe so he should arise and awaken thesnorting citizens before the devil makes a grandsire of him. Thesewords alone clearly show racism in Venice black people areconsidered to be the devil and animals.
Brabantioreacts by confronting Othello and demands know his daughter’swhereabouts. Eventually it occurs to him that Desdemona willingly gotmarried to Othello, but still he insists that witchcraft was used onhis daughter. He regards Othello as a moor who has absolutely nothingto give his daughter even though Othello is a noble soldier. Racismcomfortably takes its place when Brabantio believes that his daughteris well off unmarried and thinks that the Duke will definitely agreewith him on the legality of Othello’s marriage since they are bothwhite (Shakespeare,1995).This is the highest degree of racism in that according to Brabantio,a black man is as good as nothing.
Itis clearly shown that other races in Venice are accepted when theyare useful. Othello is assumed to rise above his supposed rank bymarrying Desdemona a white beautiful girl. Brabantio’s tale wasobviously believed by the Duke, but while the Cyprus were beingattacked by the Turks, Othello was needed and that is what saved him(Shakespeare,1995).Meanwhile the council is persuaded by Desdemona that no witchcraftwas used on her and it is purely love that made her get married toOthello.
Racismis evidently portrayed by the duke of Venice as he directsdiscriminate opinion on Othello. This happens when he gives anopinion that Othello is a better black man compared to other blackmen a fact that indicates his prejudice over black men, whether goodor not. Particularly, the Duke of Venice confirms to Brabantio thathis daughter is safe with Othello compared to other moors. Racism isdeployed throughout the play, especially when Iago decides to destroyOthello because he believes in the military and not on Othello’scolor (Shakespeare,1995).This portrays racism since Othello is viewed like any other moor,even though he is taken to be more honorable.
AlthoughWilliam Shakespeare has demonstrated racism in Othello, it can beseen that Othello is a good black man who was forced by the white manto do evil things. It is clear that the white man drives the blackman to do horrible things so that it comes out that the black man isthe evil one.
Shakespeare,W. (1995). Othello.United States: Castle Rock Entertainment