Effects Of Racism In Othello

1184 Words 5 Pages
William Shakespeare’s Othello is a play that tackles the racial issues of the Elizabethan period without explicitly mentioning them. Shakespeare aims to go against the stereotypical views of black men and paint them in a good light, one that his audience is not used to. The play takes place in a setting relatively tolerant of Africans, Venice, but through the events of the play the Elizabethan audience is able to see the damage that their racist thinking creates. Shakespeare shows the effect of racism on an accomplished man, as everything that happens to Othello is due to his race and how others treat him because of it; he is accused of enchanting Desdemona, believes she is cheating on him, and dies all because he is black. In the beginning …show more content…
In his article “‘Othello’ and Race Relations in Elizabethan England”, Rudolph Shaw explains that “This lack of self-confidence and esteem is typical of racial inferiority” (Shaw 87) Because black men were looked down upon, they grew accustomed to the belief that they are not as worthy as white men. Faced with constant discrimination, they started to believe in what people were saying about them. Their opinions of themselves lessened and it was easy for them to feel inferior to white men, Othello is victim to this. As a black man, he doesn’t believe in himself and even once he gets Desdemona he isn’t completely confident that she was his. He says "Haply, for I am black/And have not those soft parts of conversation/That chamberers have, or for I am declined/Into the vale of years, -yet that 's not much-/She 's gone" (Shakespeare 3.3.304-308). This proves that Othello has low self-esteem because he is black. He believes that his race causes him to not be polite enough to really have Desdemona, that if he were a white man it would be easier to woo her. However, he seems to have stopped caring for the reasons why she left him because it 's a done deed, even though he has no proof for it. He doesn’t need any proof because he is so self-conscious that he cannot believe Desdemona could really love him, so he readily accepts the idea that she wasn’t being faithful to …show more content…
Othello tells Desdemona “Sweet soul, take heed, take heed of perjury. Thou art on thy deathbed” (Shakespeare 5.2.63-64). He refuses to listen to Desdemona’s claims of innocence because he is blind in his belief that she has wronged him. He was determined to end her life in order to spare himself and other men from more suffering. However, once he’d realized what he’d done and that he wrongfully accused her he can’t live with himself. He says “When we shall meet at compt this look of thine will hurl my soul from heaven and fiends will snatch at it” (Shakespeare 5.2.324-326). Othello believes that what he’s done is completely unforgivable; even he can’t forgive himself and believes he isn’t worthy of living while a pure being like Desdemona had to wrongfully die. Had Othello never faltered in the belief that Desdemona loves him, he would not have simply taken Iago’s word that she is cheating, would not have killed her so rashly, and in turn not had to kill himself out of

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