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Shakespeare’s world renowned play, Othello, written in 1604 demonstrates the numerous beliefs and ideologies of the Renaissance. However, Othello can now be interpreted in different ways because of the way in which modern contexts change. Personally, I see Othello as strongly portraying the two main issues of racism and sexism. Iago, the antagonist, is the main culprit with his racist remarks towards Othello and his vicious sexism towards women. These issues are important to my interpretation of Othello because they are relevant issues to society today. Recurring themes within the play, jealousy, deception and appearance vs. reality are important to the plot and the way in which we interpret the play. For these reasons I perceive Act 1, Scene 1 to be an important scene. This scene is important to my interpretation of Othello as immediately the three themes deception, jealousy and appearance vs. reality are brought to our attention, but more importantly we begin to understand the racist light in which the characters view Othello. Act 1, scene 1 opens the drama and the audience is given the first insight into the themes that take shape and develop further in the rest of the play. The scene begins at night in a street in Venice, with an argument between Iago and Rodrigo. We discover that Iago harbours a strong jealousy for Cassio, because Othello promoted him to lieutenant and not Iago. Rodrigo is in love with Desdemona and is therefore jealous of Othello. During the scene we begin to see the formulations of a plan that Iago devises to punish Othello. We see the deception through Iago’s claim, “In following him, I follow but myself”, this shows that Iago will deceive Othello, pretend to help him, but really that is all part of the plan to bring him down. Appearance vs. reality is what I consider to be one of the most important themes in defining Othello. The characters in Othello, see the appearance of each character, and the act they put on, while we as the...
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