Analysis of Othello

1361 Words6 Pages
Character Analysis - Othello
In Shakespeare’s play Othello, we are introduced to a determined, brave, yet intellectually naïve and simple character named Othello. Othello is a military general with a reputation for being strong-willed and having a never-give-in attitude, which is why he managed to gain such position and notoriety in spite of him being black in a predominantly white society. However, as noble a character as Othello is, his strength, in combination with his simple-mindedness leaves him open to easy manipulation by those who he deems trustworthy and this ultimately seals his own fate.
As previously stated, one of the main issues throughout this play comes in the form of race and the controversial nature of a black-white relationship in the form of Othello and Desdemona. During this period in time black skin, and the color black in general is seen as the polar opposite of white in every way. This is why a relationship such as Othello and Desdemona’s, taken at face value, is seen as controversial. This can be seen through the use of imagery throughout the play.

“Within Othello, black is used with mainly with two distinct denotations, and white or fair is posed in each instance, either explicitly or by suggestion, as the opposite quality. First, black is used as a color designation for the darkest hue, “an old black ram” (I.i.88); white, as the opposite, designates the lightest hue: “white ewe) (I.i.89). Second, black is used to designate a Moor, a Negro.” (The Rhetoric of Black and White Othello, Doris Adler, 1974) Othello must go through a great deal in order to have the society view him not just based on his skin color, but the content of his character, and here is where his relationship with Desdemona, in addition to his acts as General and his ownership of property help out.

“Othello solves his semiotic dilemma - how to manifest his
Open Document