Comparison Between Othello And Skin Essay

1645 words - 7 pages

Compare and contrast the portrayal of the predicament of the outsider in the texts Othello and Skin. To what extent are the differences between the two texts' treatment of this theme due to their different historical and cultural contexts?

Othello and Skin are both excellent examples of how the outsider is topic in which society is intrigued by. Both Sandra and Othello are both victims of their time and geographical setting, as well as being considered different due to their race and achievements. Although there are a great number of common themes through both Othello and Skin, such as racism, relationships with both family and the community, gender roles in relationships, the role of the ...view middle of the document...

Othello was mainly set in Cyprus, an island near Turkey and Syria and would have been chosen as a setting as it was cut off from Venetian values and surrounded by the primitive values of the Turkish Empire, as well as acting as a conflicting setting as opposed to Venice. Cyprus was considered as being situated on the end of the world, which is incredibly different to the idea of Venice being considered the heart the world, filled with culture and luxuries. The setting of Venice and Cyprus also impacted upon how the outsider, Othello, is viewed throughout the play. Although Othello was seen as an outsider, he was respected for his great leadership skills as well as his achievements. Compared to South Africa, Venice was more multicultural and accepting of the achievements Othello made than South Africa was in the apartheid era.
Anthony Fabion’s film Skin was set between the years of 1965 and 1994. During this time, the National Party governments who ruled from 1948 to 1994 enforced a system of racial segregation, otherwise known as apartheid, which comes from the Afrikaans word for ‘the state of being apart’. Black and coloured inhabitants were diminished and the Afrikaner minority rule was maintained throughout the span of the film. The strict Afrikaner government was portrayed through the Population Act, which was put into action in 1950. It stated that all citizens had to be classified by race (black, white or coloured). People of different races were forbidden to enter the same shops, live under the same roof or go to the same school, and all black and coloured citizens were required by law to carry a passbook. The apartheid scheme was developed after World War II by the Afrikaner-dominated government and was also practiced in South West Africa. The use of violence throughout the movie was incredibly evident, as when mass migrations began in the 1800’s into South Africa, the original Dutch settlers, otherwise known as Afrikaners or Boers, retreated to protect their land with their only option being that of violence.1 This carried through during the film, as Abraham was willing to shoot Petrus to protect his land.
During both Skin and Othello, the themes of racism is incredibly evident, as both Sandra and Othello are both thought of as divergent to the rest of their societies, forcing them to be outsiders. For example, although Othello does not have a high social statues due to the colour of his skin, he is still respected for his military leadership, whereas Sandra is not respected or acknowledge for her achievements, and is only seen for her skin colour, as well as fighting with the entire society, as opposed to Othello’s internal fight against his paranoia and delusions about the impact in which his skin colour has upon his relationship with Desdemona as well as the impact it has upon his military leadership. During apartheid South Africa, the use of pseudoscience and Social Darwinism very heavily governed the way in which South Africa saw...

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