Othello William Shakespeare

Topics: William Shakespeare, Iago, Othello Pages: 7 (2800 words) Published: September 18, 2010
In class Essay (Othello)
* William Shakespeare created one of his most famous plays Othello to investigate in an influential manner the unrelenting issues of racial discrimination and gender equility. Based on the tale ‘Un Capitano Moro’ (The Moorish Captain) by Giovanni Cinthio, Othello was written during the epoch of 1603. Due to the actions of Othello, in the midst of a small cast, there is an exploration of sexual jealousy, and thus this play has earned a title of a domestic tragedy. * In this, the final scene depicts how the tragic hero Othello acquiesces to his incurable blemish and reaches his cessation. The foreseeable ending is cathartic for the audience to experience catharsis, as they experience a passionate feeling of trepidation and pity. Shakespeare shows how he is able to differentiate an individual’s personality in the unchanging hierarchy of his society. * This was achieved through the Turkish invasion in Cyprus where the Venetians fought purely for national identity. Intertwined in the play, the Machiavellian character of Iago brings a certain rise to chaos and blurs out all the lines between appearance and reality. Saying this, by Shakespeare’s intense use of language, the emotional engaging final scene, brings back a certain order; giving light to issues of truth, race and female insubordination and defining the central protagonist. Context:

* Written between 1601 and 1604, Othello’s context is based around the eras of the Elizabethan and Jacobean epochs of English history. Between the two different periods, the Renaissance ideologies are greatly encompassed. These ideologies are that of a cultural movement occurring throughout Europe in the 14th to the 17th centuries. In the crux of this era, a deep understanding of characters and issues in Othello may perhaps be attained from the initial actions of the play, being set in one of the foremost cities of the Italian Renaissance. Moreover, this period also brought with it the Protestant Reformation which was commenced by Martin Luther which viewed the refusal of medieval Christian values. The Protestant theology believed that God’s divine plan of rational and moral logic was constant throughout society; one which developed in the unchallengeable hierarchy. * The Chain of Being was the reason for such order whereby it relegate all beings to ones rightful place and purpose in the universe. To preserve such a harmony, people had to develop reason and intellect to rule their emotions. In difference to such strict array, the Renaissance also gave rise to Humanism. Pico Della Mirandola here declared that “one could become as low as an animal or through intellect and imagination become equivalent to God, at least in understanding”1, which I believe may have shaped Shakespeare’s traditional thinking in Othello. * The selection of using a black tragic hero was indeed controversial, and furthermore those “Blackamoors” in Shakespeare’s previous dramas were without a doubt wicked. This is exemplified through Aaron in Titus Andronicus where this drama exclaimed ‘If one good deed in all my life I did, I do repent it to my very soul’(Act 5, Scene 3). Due to the conflict with Spain during the Elizabethan period, Blackamoors arrived in England and were reduced to servants or slaves. Therefore it is obvious that the audience of the era would have seen Othello’s superior military position as a serve rebellion to natural order. * Nevertheless, although the importance of race in Othello, it is essential that the audience recognises that the play is created primarily for the concern with class and subordination rather than forceful racism. The historical and geographical setting also plays a major influence in bringing various amounts of symbolism to the play. Venice was seen as a locus of Christian civilisation, rational order, culture and prosperity. It was also linked with poisoning as it was the birthplace of Niccolo Machiavelli....
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