Racism And Sexism In William Shakespeare's Othello

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Often the most important themes in literature are developed in scenes in which a death or deaths take place. In the play Othello by William Shakespeare, the death of the character Desdemona serves as the climatic breaking point where pervasive racism and sexism can no longer exist without resulting in detrimental harm to the involved parties. It is Othello’s prideful hamartia that, combined with sexism, is the catalyst that ultimately destroys both his and Desdemona’s life. In Othello, the cast of characters is subjected to the mounting pressures of sexism and racism without even realizing the detrimental effects it has on their lives. The main character from whom the play’s title comes, Othello, is a general in the Venetian army. He is a …show more content…
By strangling her in their bed, the one they shared together as husband and wife, Othello shamelessly tries to regain his manhood, having lost so much of his moral sense by the end of the play that her death does little to hurt him until he realizes the course of his actions moments before his death. Man in this time was viewed as the greater sex, and my strangling her in their bed, he not only dominates her physically, but also as though he would be expected to by societal standards within carnal matters. Desdemona dies a victim of misogyny that was in turn caused by matters rooted deep in racism. Had Othello lived as any other white man in the play, it is likely that his hamartia would not have come into great importance in his life. The play is rightfully named The Tragedy of Othello because lives such an otherwise short-lived, tragic life. He dies as a result of deeply implemented societal racism and takes Desdemona with him as a result of the anger directed at others, including his fellow characters and society, as well as himself.
In all, the death of Desdemona in the play Othello is where the themes of the play culminate. Through her death, William Shakespeare brings to life the harsh realities of pervasive racism and sexism that ran rampant in both the society that Othello lived in as well as Shakespeare himself. In the end, it is Othello’s hamartia, pride, that is brought on by the racism he has faced throughout his life combined with the time period’s sexism that ultimately leads to the destruction of both his and Desdemona’s

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