Racism in Othello

Essay by EssaySwap ContributorHigh School, 11th grade February 2008

download word file, 3 pages 4.0

Downloaded 38 times

Racism is prevalent in Shakespearian time and the literature that was produced during the Elizabethan era. That time was when white men dominated society and when the black man was used for slaves or other such low and demeaning jobs. For centuries, usage of the black man as badness or evil in stories has been used. For example, in The Devil and Tom Walker, the devil is portrayed as a black man that temps Tom Walker and his wife. In the play Othello, by William Shakespeare, the roles are reversed. Racism is prevalent throughout the whole play and how it is stated in backlash ways but never to the main character's face. The main person who shows a racist attitude is Iago because of his jealously of Othello and his standing in life. Iago's main intent throughout the story is to breakdown Othello and to destroy him.

Iago begins the story with back handed racial comments about Othello and this is when we first see how evil Iago is and how he uses racial slurs to denounce Othello's name.

When Iago calls Othello "thick-lips" he is making fun of how many African Americans have large lips and another part, where Iago uses sexual references to degrade Othello and to shame the relationship between him and Desdemona, is when he is talking to Brabantio and telling him that his daughter is with a "an old black ram" (Act 1, Scene 1, lines 66, 88-89). Iago was talking about how Desdemona married Othello and how he was tainting a "white ewe" (Act1, Scene 1, line 89). Back in those times, color of animals was an art and it was terrible if a pure line, such as the white race or Desdemona, was tainted with another color or breed, like Othello...