Racism In Othello Essay

1628 Words 7 Pages
Race is one of many themes presented in William Shakespeare’s Othello. It is used at the beginning of the play to convey Othello’s blackness, but as the play progresses Othello uses racial comparisons to identify his own blackness. Things like his facial features (nose, ears, face,) are used to portray his appearance in relation to the other characters in the play. Shakespeare uses the detailed imagery of Othello’s blackness to place readers and the audience into the time period and setting of the play. The beginning of the play starts by creating a separation between Othello and the other characters. His blackness is the focus of the scene and prompts Iago to be glad he is not black: “The fellows have some soul,/ And such a one do I profess …show more content…
Othello uses beast imagery at the end of the play when confessing, “Where a malignant and turbaned Turk/ Beat a venetian and traduced the state,/ I took by th’ throat the circumciséd dog/ And smote him - thus (5.2.353-356).” During this scene, Othello switches from his poetic language to Iago’s perverted and gruesome language. The quote illustrates why Othello must take his own life. He realizes his foreign heritage and separation by race has made him an outsider among the other characters. Othello’s blackness has made him more primal, and he must stop himself before he gets worse. He believes killing Desdemona was his way of giving into his …show more content…
Your heart is burst; you have lost half your soul./ Even now, now, very now, an old black ram/ Is tupping your white ewe (1.1.85-88).” The segregation of race has been established by Iago’s strong depictions of the characters. Othello’s blackness is transformed into a ram and the emphasis is placed on its nature. Rams are more menacing and more aggressive than elk or deer. It contains a specific tone of dominance and power. By being intimate with Othello’s blackness, Desdemona is losing her purity and becoming soiled. Later in the conversation, Iago uses the beast imagery again to emphasize why Brabantio should be worried about Desdemona. He says, “...you’ll have your daughter covered with a Barbary horse; you’ll have your nephews neigh to you (1.1.109-111).” Instead of the ram, Othello’s blackness is now a horse being intimate with Desdemona. Iago’s harsh language makes this message even more gruesome, but drives the point that Othello should not be with Desdemona. Iago’s reasoning was horses should not fornicate with people, just as Moors should not fornicate with white people.
The idea and knowledge of Othello’s blackness drives Brabantio to believe Othello must have used magic or witchcraft in order to get Desdemona to marry

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