Race In Benito Cereno And Othello

1639 Words 7 Pages
The issue of race has been seen all throughout history. It has been the cause of past wars, one of the main components of slavery, and race has been a hard to overlook quality even in contemporary societies. Both Herman Melville’s novella “Benito Cereno” and William Shakespeare’s play Othello explore race through the lens of a predominantly white society. In “Benito Cereno,” Captain Delano is introduced on a slave ship where he meets Captain Benito Cereno and his seemingly loyal servant, Babo. Although Delano claims he himself is not racist, his prejudiced viewpoint on the slaves blinds him from the truth about the ship and sets the tone for the novella’s conflict. In Othello, Othello is portrayed as an outsider in society partly because of his race, which in turn causes him self-doubt. This allows the antagonist of Iago to capitalize on this insecurity of Othello’s and use it to bring about Othello’s downfall. As a result of society’s influence, both Othello and Delano are under the impression that being black means one is inferior in a predominantly white society. However, this idea proves fatal as it allows …show more content…
Being black is generally considered unfavorable while being white is considered pure and privileged, enabling race to hold power over individuals of both races. In “Benito Cereno”, Delano’s skewed view of the black slaves on the ship blinds him from the truth. In Othello, society’s racial views influence Othello’s own self-worth and acts as the main element in Iago’s manipulative scheme. The way society views race is entirely based off outward appearances and divides people against each other because of it. The construct of race was created many years ago, but is still prominent in worldwide societies. Humans are so ensnared in differences that humanity is lost in the process of identifying those differences. In order for there to be equals, humanity must lose sight of the idea of a superior or inferior

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