Race in Shakespeare Essay
In order to better understand the racial context behind the tragedy of Othello it is important to keep in mind the …show more content…
In the beginning of the play, Iago shares with Roderigo and the audience his intentions of manipulating Othello for his personal gain because Othello passed on Iago as his lieutenant, thus allowing Iago to act a need for revenge based on personal hatred. Before diving into examples illustrating racism in the play it is important to also understand Othello’s background in regards to being a black foreigner in Elizabethan society.
Othello, who is the play’s protagonist, is a highly respected general of the Venetian armed forces, although being a “Moor”, a man of North African descent. Ironically in the play, Othello is therefore presented in some ways opposite to the norms of Elizabethan society. While being a powerful figure and having the respect of his followers, Othello is still subject to racial backlash due to his societal role as a cultural outsider for being a foreigner. Moors, or those of African decent, were seen as second class citizens of Elizabethan society, treated with little respect, and making very little income to help support their families. Othello has to secretly marry Desdemona, a Venetian woman, because he knows not only would Desdemona’s father