Essay Practice 1:
William Shakespeare’s Othello was first performed in November 1604 and is a play based on social ambiguity and the predominance of a marginalised society that reflects the real issues of 17th century England and the world. Through Shakespeare’s mastery use of language and form that appeals to contemporary audiences and contexts, issues that are still relevant today are conveyed. He represents these matters through the tragic hero, Othello, a Moor and the attenuated outrage received from Venetian society when he marries the white Desdemona. Although, Venice was known for its civilised culture, he highlights that racism in Elizabethan society regarding Moors was universal; an issue that is still pertinent in many societies today. Additionally, reflections of the concept of individuals being manipulated by those subjected to the human conditioned desire for revenge and jealousy is evident with the relationship of Othello and Iago. Othello is oblivious to Iago’s Machiavellian character and nefarious nature and as a result leads to the tragic denouement of confusion and death among the protagonists. A close interpretation of this play therefore, hinders the responder to self – question their involvement in the underlying issues of their societal context that has the supremacy to exasperate human emotions and feelings. The societal prejudice that can deeply affect the values and attitudes of an individual is an issue that is reflected through the dramatic scenes involving both Othello and Desdemona and is similarly conveyed throughout the world. The responders automatically identify with society’s perception and mistreatment of Othello from the beginning of Act 1, Scene 1, where Othello is metaphorically portrayed as ‘’an old black ram.’’ The association of animalistic traits refers to the belief in this historical context of a Divine Order, where attributing Othello to an animal meant he had a lower position in importance and ‘’spiritual value’’ in...
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