Racism, and prejudice are major issues all over the world. They have been an important issue in society throughout history. Even though society has improved a lot in the last couple of decades, both socially and technologically; nonetheless racism, and prejudice are still present today. The play, Othello, is a tragedy that shows different events of racism and prejudice toward Othello. It illustrates with descriptive experiences how Othello was being disrespected by society due to his skin color. Othello facing racism is shown throughout the dialog.
Othello is a brave soldier from Africa and currently supreme commander of the Venetian army. Mostly all of the character from the play use a racial slur to insult Othello and Iago is the character that most commonly makes racist remarks about Othello. lago showed his true colors by demonstrating verbally his fake position next to Othello. It seems that when the opportunity presented itself, Lago didn’t waste any time to express his utmost feelings of hate towards Othello.
This essay will show with experiences what happens when we allow biases and prejudice to affect our actions towards others.
Characters such as Brabanzio, after being startled by the news of his daughters affair with the Moor. Brabanzio disapproves of the marriage between his daughter and Othello, and his expressions of this come off as racist. Brabantio refuses to believe that his daughter willingly married Othello and accuses him of using some sort of black magic to woo her.. Even though at this point Barbanzio does not even know that Roderigo and Iago are referring to Othello, he knows that since it is a colored man, they are speaking of that some dark man.
He accuses Othello of witchcraft and wonders how, against all rules of nature” (Brabanzio). Brabantio views of Othello were based on racism or perhaps prejudice. He makes it known through his ventilated heated attitude. For instance, when he said, “oh treason of the blood” sounds like his daughter was doomed to keep the blood lineage. Branbantio couldn’t accept reality. His prejudice mentality kept him from seeing his daughter married a black man. Brabantio looks down on Othello. He considers him poor and not worthy of his daughter. He doesnt meet the expectations of Brabantio. Just as he called it, “against all rules of nature”. his lovely daughter could have fallen in love with that what she feared to look on”” (Brabanzio). This is one of the most revealing quotes about race in Othello by Shakespeare, this statement refers about how race was viewed by contemporaries of Shakespeare. Desdemonas father considers such a union to be against the laws of nature and never considers that love does not always recognize color and cultural bounds. Using the information that the Moor is a black man, it is obvious that it may have been common to associate black men with dark magic and seduction and furthermore, it comments on the idea that black and whites should not be allowed to marry or associate in any other way romanticallythat somehow this is not natural Moor” making his race part of who he isa respected and revered man who is, quite circumstantially a Moor.
Iago is one of Shakespeare’s most sinister villains, often considered such because of the unique trust that Othello places in him, which he betrays while maintaining his reputation for honesty and dedication. For instance, Iago expresses racism toward Othello when he says Even now, now, very now, an old black ram is tupping your white ewe. Arise, arise! Awake the snorting citizens with the bell, or else the devil will make a grandsire of you arise, I say (Iago) Iago speaks these lines when he visits Brabantio to inform him that his daughter Desdemona has secretly married Othello. He uses a racial slur to provoke the jealousy and racial prejudice of Brabantio against Othello. Othello is a Moorish general in the Venetian army, perhaps from North Africa. Hence in those days, the discrimination was strong against the black people. Iago tells Brabantio that Othello is the black ram (Iago) is having sexual relations with his daughter white ewe (Iago). It shows that Iago is using racial discrimination to create opinion against Othello to cause his downfall. Iago has played Brabantio perfectly. Iago knew that Brabantio was racist. Iago used Brabantio’s attitude toward the idea of a mixed marriage in order to rile the man against Othello.
Another moment from the play Othello suffers another criticism from Iago is when he tells Brabantio I am one, sir, that comes to tell you daughter and the Moor are making the beast with two backs. Iago uses animal imagery in his racist diatribe against Othello, which is grounded in the idea that black men and women are inhuman. Here, Brabantio objects to Iago’s middle-of-the-night assertions that Desdemona has eloped by saying his house isn’t a “grange” (a farm or a farmhouse). Iago takes the opportunity to pun on the term “grange,” as he claims that Desdemona is having sex with a “barbary horse” and, as a result, Brabantio will have relatives that “neigh to him.” Desdemona and Othello, he says, are “making the beast with two backs” (in other words, humping, like camels). This isn’t the first time Iago has implied that Othello’s animal-like sexuality corrupts Desdemona. The theme of the parallels of animals with those of a darker race is further solidified when Iago follows Roderigos description on the dangers” of Desdemonas union with Othello by saying that the act of this union (sex) between the two forms the beast with two backs. Before the reader is ever given a clue about the identity of Othello, there are only the images of animals and beasts. This is also relevant because it demonstrates a perceived parallel between black men and animals, that they are not fully human, thus undeserving of the humanizing use of a name instead of such images. There is certainly an element of savagery and a lack of civilization that is infused into such description and although it becomes apparent later that Othello is in fact, quite civilized, well-spoken and language-oriented, and respected, the reader is forced into the same racist mindset of the characters simply because of the descriptions they offer.
Overall, Shakespeares play depicted racism and prejudice towards Othello due to his skin color. He was called the moor, black ram and even compare to an animal. Racism should be stopped. Racism has occurred for centuries, but there is still a chance to end it. Racism should end because if it continues, it can split the unity of races. Racism and prejudice can lead to more violence within the countries. There is no race is superior to any other race. All races should have equal opportunities and same respect. We are all humans, that have feelings. We are responsible for the future by educating our family and others on the challenges of racism and prejudice. Lets treat each other with the same respect you would like to be treated!.