Shakespeare otherness in othello
Otherness is not always understandable but it gives the reader an idea as to why certain characters act as the way they do. Race is one of the main topics in Othello that Shakespeare goes ahead and plays with. Othello being the only black man in the story he is different from the main characters. He is seen as a man of dignity, respect, and pride. Othello is different from the perceived view of darker colored folks at the time. Shakespeare uses racial otherness to toy around with the reader’s view of the characters. Most potent, grave, and reverend signiors, my very noble and approved good masters,….
Hath this extent, o more. Rude am I in my speech, And little blessed with the soft phrase of peace,.. (Othello 79-85) Othello has what people of his skin color were perceived not to have which is somewhat of an education. Shakespeare instilled the exact opposite of the readers perception into Othello. Othello lets the Duke and all others know that he knows his place and tells them that he is not a good speaker, actually quite the awkward one but he switches the subject to the task at hand with having to go to Cyprus.
Othello is seen using his quick whit at the beginning of the play to defer the Duke and men to the more important issue. Readers at this time would have been shocked to see a man of darker color with somewhat of a quick whit describing his best attributes to distract the Duke and let the duke know he knows his place. Shakespeare expressed to us the otherness in Othello because his battle experience and quick whit is possible for a man of his color Iago is the main cause of the entire ruckus that is going on throughout the playwright.
He is responsible for the underlying Jealousy, trickery, and murderous revenge. Iago is seen as an educated individual who believes that he should be in a higher position like Cassio is. Iago is the biggest mystery throughout the playwright. His motives for the most part are unknown but he does mention why he is angry at times. Shakespeare uses lagos character to show the reader many things. Iago is white and he is othellos ensign. He is one of the most evil people having no motives for what he has done.
He is a bitter man who feeds upon the torment of others to others. Shakespeare gives the reader an understanding of what type of person he is and also shows that a person of white upper class up bringing can be evil. He also shows the otherness of a white man serving under a darker skinned individual. Shakespeare brings up an interesting topic even hundred of years before its time. He shows the reader the otherness in Othello himself. Othello is a genuinely better person than Iago will ever be and he Just happens to be of darker color skin. l hate the Moor:0And it is thought abroad, that ‘twixt my sheets0He has done my office: I know not if’t be true;0But l, for mere suspicion in that kind,0Will do as if for surety. (Othello 5 ) . He uses the “apparent” rumor that Emilia is sleeping with Othello even though it is not true he uses it to fuel part of his hatred towards Othello. Iago ay be a pathological liar that has no motives for his selfish acts. Iago is a manipulative psycho and deep down probably wants to make Othello die in misery. He wants Othello to die with the image/stereotype of being of darker colored skin.
Iago wanted to portray to everyone that Othello was and still is a savage. Shakespeare shows that even though Othello is of darker skinned he is a good man who is completely the opposite of the stereotype during this time period. Iago also uses Othello’s gift to Desdemona against him. Othello tells Desdemona that the handkerchief was given to his mother from his father to show he was faithful. Othello sees the handkerchief as a symbol of marital fidelity and Iago sees it as a ticket to ruin Othello. Iago taking the very symbol of Desdemona’s fidelity and turning it into what Othello thinks is Cassios personal napkin drives Othello insane.
This helps bring up a major topic that Shakespeare wanted his readers to know about hundred’s of years before it was addressed which is equality towards women. Emilia goes out of her way to help her husband out because she is desperate for love and attention. Iago still refuses to give her the love she wants from him and ironically she is ultimately the one that takes him down. Emilia in wanting to help her husband out brings up a subject not spoken about by women during that time being unfaithful. Emilia speaking to Desdemona states, “Who would not make her husband a cuckold to make him a monarch?
I should venture purgatory fort”. (4. 3). Emilia talks about cheating on her husband for his own personal gain. She refers to going to purgatory for her sin but only because she loves him and wants to keep trying to please him. Emilia also brings up another good point that if a man can be unfaithful woman can be unfaithful as well thus referring to that men and women should be qual. Shakespeare shows the otherness by bringing up these topics of infidelity, being unfaithful and equality for women. Another major message that Shakespeare portrays is feminism.
The biggest hero in the story was not actually a hero more like a heroine. Emilia represents otherness as a character because she is willing to go above and beyond the rules to do what she thinks is right. Emilia could have kept her mouth closed in the end about what really happened but she didn’t. Emilia rose above the cold treatment that her husband gave her and did what was right. Emilia let the truth out to set her and Desdemona’s story straight and show that their word was better then lagds word a killed the woman he loved.
Othello didn’t even want to hear what Desdemona had to say instead he disrespected her and hit her. Othello did not show his true love for her. “She’s gone, I am abused, and my relief must be to loathe her. Oh, curse of marriage that we can call these delicate creatures ours and not their appetites! I had rather be a toad and live upon the vapor of a dungeon than keep a corner in the thing I love for others uses” (Othello Othello has an aside and expresses how pset he is that a man of his stature and importance can get played the way he thought he was by Desdemona.
Othello’s love is childish he automatically hates Desdemona for her supposed acts of infidelity. Othellos male pride is seen and crushed. Shakespeare wants the reader to know that the insight of women is very important and should not be disregarded. Shakespeare again has brought the reader some very interesting topics before their times. Feminism, infidelity, and equality are all seen in this play, which helps the reader to see the otherness Shakespeare has created with his characters.