The impact of racism in Othello   In the present and the past, racism has existed in our society and civilizations throughout history. Discrimination occurs for a variety of reasons such as fear, scapegoat, a want to disassociate others and diminish their social status or jealousy (Speaks). This mindset continues to survive and grow while meshed with cultural conditioning, which is the situation of the issue of racism in Othello and in Elizabethan England. While Shakespeare was not a profound racist in his works, the society he was in influenced his work as he wanted to reflect on present day dialogue. Furthermore, language and tone of each character in the play that talked to and/or about Othello was very antagonistic to him. With his heritage and color public, he is seen as an “outsider” and distanced from everyone else, which can be seen in the society of Elizabethan England. In the play “Othello”, Othello is called a Moor. He is referenced as a black Moor, which many Europeans disliked at the time due to their heritage connection to North Africa(Speaks). We can seen the racial conflict in the play as Shakespeare sets the play as struggle between the enlightened Europeans and the savage, Africans(Touhidsm). There are several occasions where  Characters such as Roderigo, Iago, and Brabantio. We notice the racial conflict from the opening lines, Othello is referred as “he” or “him” by Iago and Roderigo; later on they used racial epithets instead of calling him by his name (Speaks). Since Iago hates Othello because he appointed the inexperienced Michael Cassio; and now Iago goes to far lengths to plan Othello’s and Michael Cassio’s demise. Furthermore, Iago dedicates his time in the play to “a plot rooted in jealousy”(Speaks). Iago is able to execute his revenge on Othello by exploiting his color and societal status to allow Othello’s infidelity with Desdemona to persist(Touhidsm). Iago realizes that Othello’s black color can cause other to look at him differently. Iago gains the help of Roderigo, who expresses him discontent and jealous of Othello by saying: “What a full fortune does the thick-lips owe/If he can carry ‘t thus!”(Speaks). Then, Iago succeeds in angering Desdemona’s father when Iago says: “An old black ram/Is tupping your white ewe”(Speaks). Brabantio doubts the truth of his statement and then replies with: ” you’ll have your daughter covered with a Barbary horse” and continues with “I am one, sir, that comes to tell you, your daughter and the Moor are now making the beast with two backs” (Othello A.1S.1. 110-120 ).  In addition, Iago and Roderigo refer to Othello as ‘thick lips’ and ‘slave'(Touhidsm).  We can clearly see that these comments are racist and are able to convince Brabantio to believe them(Speaks). If we look closely into the quotes of Iago and Roderigo, we can see the deeper meaning behind these choice of words. Iago uses imagery to emphasise Othello’s differences to paint the black stereotype during the Elizabethan time period, which labels Othello as different to everyone else(Speaks). The animal imagery that is used helps convey Othello as a monster and vulnerable to hatred. Their use of racial slurs and terror causes Brabantio to perceives that “this interracial union than the violation of his honour as Desdemona’s father.” (Ryan). He later in the play says: “How? The Duke in council? In this time of the night? Bring him away.Mine’s not an idle cause. The Duke himself, Or any of my brothers of the state,Cannot but feel this wrong as ’twere their own. For if such actions may have passage free,Bond-slaves and pagans shall our statesmen be.”(Othello A1.S2. 95-100).  Brabantio has the utmost confidence that the law will side with him and that if they, whites, allow crimes like Othello’s continue, the slaves and lower class citizens will be their rulers.(Ryan) I believe that this moment is merely a microcosm of how racism participated in play; Shakespeare makes it evident that it is not just Iago that is up against the idea of Othello, a black man, being with a white woman, but ” the status quo and a view of the world which Iago merely embodies in its most lethal form.”(Ryan). Iago, Roderigo, and Brabantio are used to paint a picture of the Venetien racism. The issue of racism has it most impactful affect in the play in causing Othello to doubt his character and his relationship with Desdemona, which leads to his demise (Speaks). At first, Othello does not think that his race could determine the status of his relationship.(Speaks) Initially, he responds to Iago’s claim of infidelity by saying : ” “Nor from mine own weak merits will I draw/The smallest fear or doubt of her revolt/For she had eyes, and chose me” (A3.S3.187-89). Afterward, he indicates that possibly, deep down, that “it is in Desdemona’s inherent nature to favor men of her own race.”(Speaks). While Othello is filled with doubt, Iago takes advantage and speculates that “Desdemona compares Othello with other white Venetian men and regrets her marriage.”(Speaks). With these words in mind, Othello begins to believe that Desdemona’s reason for cheating on him is because he is black(Speaks). As Iago steadily supplies Othello with more proof of infidelity with Desdemona, it continues to consume Othello. There are a few situation in which his behavior is out of character and people justify his actions by his skin (Speaks). Othello’s behavior becomes more rash “when he calls Desdemona a whore and Emilia exclaims: “Here’s a change indeed!”(IV.ii 107).” (Speaks). These moments of irregular behavior by Othello leads to him committing murder, in which his color is held against him(Touhidsm). They use his color as a ‘scapegoat’ because they struggle to reason for his unforseen behavior and misdeeds(Speaks). Emilia justifies his misdeeds by calling him a “blacker devil!”(Othello A4.S2 132). Later on, she says to Othello ” If he say so, may his pernicious soul Rot half a grain a day! He lies to th’ heart. She was too fond of her most filthy bargain.”(Othello A5.S2 165-170). Emilia explains that Desdemona was attached to disgusting man in marriage. Now, his race is synonymous with irrational thoughts and actions by those who alienated Othello; If it was not for Iago to prompt Othello to be consumed by doubt and jealousy, he would still be highly regarded by the rest of society. Shakespeare used his plays as a way to reflect an image of society at the time. Even though some people would say that he is a racist, but actually many authors would say differently. Many different authors quoted, related to, and found trust in Shakespeare(Taylor). When we look back to his work during the Elizabethan England time period, we see cause controversy. The racial hatred in Elizabethan England was specifically at making “blacks” or “blackmores” inferior to the Europeans(Williamson). Williamson shines light on reasons why Elizabeth I would picture “blackmores” as inferiority. First, due to the market of slaves, they wanted to make African blacks subhuman to better formalise their presence. Second, many Moors had strong ties with Spain, who England was at war with, and many Moors were muslims(Willamson). Over the period of her reign, she pushed a narrative that many Europeans could accept, the black Moors are inferior to you. I believe that this was at the root of why Shakespeare had racism and black characters in his play. By employing a dialogue of race in Othello, it appears that Shakespeare may have trying to discuss racial hatred with people in Elizabethan England(Schultz). I believe that Shakespeare purposely brought up black characters in order to depict a certain narrative that the audience to read. We can see in Othello, Shakespeare tried to make the audience feel as an accomplice of Iago’s actions because Iago talks directly to the audience and “takes us into his confidence, assuming that we share his views, understand his reasoning and admire his ingenuity.”(Ryan)In contrast, Othello is marked at a distance from the audience by Shakespeare. I believe that he used his platform, playwriting, to create a reflection of Elizabethan England society which created controversy that “generated more interest, more dialogue, more connections.”(Taylor) Initially, Othello had live a peaceful life ignorant of racism, except from the few that resented him(Speaks). Shakespeare shows that racism was used by Iago to sabotage and bring destruction to Othello. I believe that racism played a pivotal role as a way for Shakespeare to be able to reflect what Elizabethan England’s racial hatred was to black Moor. Elements of racial hatred of Elizabethan England can be seen by how many condemn him not by his character, but ” by criticizing his distinguishing racial characteristic: his color.”(Speaks). Ultimately, by having Iago talk to the audience throughout the play, Shakespeare was able to create a play which used issue of racism in order to make the audience reflect on the racial hatred towards black Moors.

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