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The Importance Of Race In Othello

1103 words - 5 pages

Being the only different person in the room is hard; constantly being judged, and never actually fitting in; it can drive even the most normal person insane. The Tragedy of Othello by William Shakespeare is a play about a general who is different: the only one who’s black. No one else in Venice is from Africa, and with such a high position in the Venetian military, Othello’s race is almost non-existent, he appears to actually fit in along with the rest of the fair-skinned people. In this play, Shakespeare develops the motif of racism as a seed that grows, and eventually creates a sociopath full of hatred. Overall, racism is a viral disease that encircle us, and subconsciously controls ...view middle of the document...

iii.167-69). Othello tells his stories of being an African slave and lost in the lands where most men cannot survive; and within does stories he finds a fair-skinned person who is wooed and awed by a black man’s struggle. He also says that he loved her for pitying his stories. Thus, his reason then for loving her could be found in how Desdemona listens to the side of Othello that is black, and still finds a way to love him. Othello’s race can’t be ignored because he lets the readers know that Desdemona is not another duke who just respects him and forgets that he is black, but instead she is a woman who knows that he is black and still loves him. “She had eyes and chose [him]” (III.iii.195).
On the other hand, as Iago makes Othello wonder about Desdemona’s loyalty to their marriage, one can see that Othello is very aware of Desdemona’s nature and skin color. Once he learns that Desdemona might have cheated on him with Cassio, he rationalizes that his marriage to Desdemona was really “nature erring from itself” (III.iii.233). Othello said that line while he was wondering why she would cheat on him and that is the first line he says before he believes she did betray him. That indicates that Othello is aware of Desdemona’s “nature,” what she should be doing as a white woman and what she chose to do in marrying the black Othello. As Othello develops this idea, he begins to lose his mind, and starts to claim his occupation is gone, “I had been happy, if the general camp/Pioneers and all, had tasted her body,/So I had nothing known…/Farewell the plumed troop and the big wars/That make ambition virtue!… Farewell! Othello’s occupation gone!” (III.iii.355-68). With Othello’s “discovery” of Desdemona’s infidelity, he rejects the occupation that gave him his respect, made his race unimportant. The reason he might have proclaimed his lost occupation could be found in looking at how he sees Desdemona rejecting him for a white Cassio. Desdemona is the only one in the story that actually loves Othello because she knows the African side of him...

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