Power is the possession of controlling and commanding an individual/s. The assertion of power over others allows an individual to gain a level of authority or position in society. Thus creating the continuous cycle of disempowerment, where people always feel the need to have domination of power over others. Power ultimately leads to disempowerment with the transformation of an individual to the stereotypical views of society. This concept of power is explored in both ’Othello’ a play written by Shakespeare in the Elizabethan period and in Toni Morrison’s ‘The Bluest Eye’.
The Shakespearian tragedy, establishes Othello as articulate, charismatic and self-assured. Othello exerts power in the means of military command. He has the power of heroic achievement and storytelling that makes him one of the “three great ones of the city”. However, it is suggested that even though Othello posses military and personal power, they are not able to surpass social acceptance in the Venetian Society. This racial and social context is also evident in ‘The Bluest Eye’ with the central character, Pecola like the character Othello, believing that in order to transcend the racial barriers and obtain social acceptance, she must achieve the cultural ideal.
Often, black people depicted as stock villains and of lower class, Shakespeare challenges stereotypes with his depiction of Othello as a man of stature and a hero to Venetian society. He also presents the isolation and vulnerability associated with the Moor’s colour in a white society. This is evident with the use of animal imagery to convey immorality, almost bestial desire, and illicit passion, “Even now…an old black ram is tupping your white ewe”. Iago also plays on Othello’s ‘exotic’ image and the highly sexual stereotype it comes with. He also plays on Brabantio’s misgivings about Othello’s colour and outsider status. Iago makes Othello sound like a devil, with his lust, indiscretion, and strangeness to Venice. Throughout...
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