Elizabethan Era and Othello

Topics: Othello, Elizabethan era, Sociology Pages: 4 (1479 words) Published: September 6, 2008
Consider how Shakespeare’s themes of prejudice and chaos versus order were received by his contemporary audience. How does Geoffrey Sax’s production continue to find relevance in these issues for the modern audience? Othello is a play of tragedy; that examines the darker aspects of human existence, and forces us as audience to contemplate what it is to be human. Shakespeare privileges and challenges the Elizabethan attitudes and values towards the prejudices of race and gender while also presenting his contextual theme of chaos versus order. These values transcend the context of both modern and contemporary audiences and it is through the BBC adaptation by Geoffrey Sax that modern audiences are able to engage with relevance of these issues. Othello is a story of black and white, or even more so black versus white. Shakespeare represents this racial battle on an interesting level, as a battle of good versus evil which is always seen in black versus white. It is within the character and interactions of Othello that, Shakespeare privileges and challenges the idea of the prejudice of racism. It can easily been seen that in Elizabethan times there would be no-one who would look favourably on a “black” man yet Shakespeare has placed him in one of the highest positions as the general of the Venetian army in Cyprus. Othello is a man of confidence, nobility and rank yet he is constantly inferior because of his colour as can be seen through Iago who refers constantly to him as “The Moor” and even states him of one with the devil; “ When devils will the blackest sins put on”( Act 2 Scene 3, Line 341). This is likely to represent the attitudes of a great deal of people at the time the play was written as even the Queen of England was racist as at one point she expressed her discontent at the great number of ‘Negars and blackamoors which are crept into the realm’. Yet it is through Othello’s character that Shakespeare is able to challenge the stereotypical ideology of ‘The...
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