Othello - Identity Essay

1455 WordsMay 18, 20136 Pages
Analyse how the writer develops an important idea in the text. The play “Othello”, by William Shakespeare explores the idea of how an individual’s sense of identity and how this can be manipulated affects their actions. Othello is an outsider in 17th century Venice, and how he regards himself affects his actions strongly throughout this play. We can see this from Othello’s confidence and assertiveness at the start, but as Iago starts scheming and spreading rumours of his wife’s infidelity, Othello’s insecurities start to show, leading to the climax of the story where he murders Desdemona and plots to kill Cassio. From this we can see the effects of what happens when a society tells a man over and over again that he is less than human and uncivilised because of his skin colour. This is an idea that to this day is extremely relevant, as racism is still evident everywhere, much like how society treated Othello. At the start of the play, before Othello comes onto stage, he is depicted by Iago, Brabantio and Roderigo as an animalistic black pervert. Racism and prejudice can be seen in Iago and Roderigo’s language through the grotesque bestial metaphors they use to goad Brabantio, such as: “Even now, now, very now, an old black ram / Is tupping your white ewe”. The connotations of black and white here portray Othello in a negative light, with “old black” seeming disgusting and corrupt, and “white” seeming pure and untouched, which provokes repulsive reactions in the reader. Then, Iago exclaims: “You’ll have your daughter covered with a Barbary horse, you’ll have your nephews neigh to you.”, another metaphor comparing Othello to a horse, suggesting that as a Moor, he is less than human and so the elopement of Othello and Desdemona is wrong and offensive, as it would be bestiality. We see that Venetians, such as Iago often treated Othello warily with disdain. They
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