Critical Study of Othello

1257 Words6 Pages
Critical Study of Text (Shakespeare’s Othello) “The meaning of a text is not fixed but depends on the interaction between text and responder” Different meanings will be drawn from a text depending on the personal circumstance of the audience. Era, location, personal experience and beliefs, as well as the medium in which the text is being presented are contextual and personal factors influencing the meanings drawn from the text. Three motifs in Shakespeare’s Othello which demonstrate the freedom of interpretation are the idea of interracial marriage, the character of Othello as well as the portrayal and treatment of women. Interracial marriage is a huge issue in the play, represented through the marriage (and elopement) of Othello and Desdemona. There are many scenes in the play which show that interracial marriage is shunned, or even taboo in Elizabethan society. One example of this is in Act 1 Scene 2 of the play when Brabantio (Desdemona’s father) confronts Othello over his marriage to Desdemona. “Damned as thou art, thou hast enchanted her…….So opposite to marriage that she shunned The wealthy curled darlings of our nation……run from her guardage to the sooty bosom Of such a thing as thou”. Here we can see the attitude of people in Elizabethan society through Brabantio’s exclamations of disbelief that his daughter would possibly choose Othello over the most eligible men in the whole nation. The attitudes in the play are quite different to those of a contemporary society such as our own. In today’s society the marriage of a black man to a white woman would not be seen as an issue at all, quite the opposite really. Racial marriage is seen as normal and people are encouraged to mix racially. Therefore the shock of the marriage between Othello and Desdemona is not quite as substantial to a contemporary audience and can also have an effect on the way the text is
Open Document