3 December 2010
The Fall of Othello
It would seem to most that that the protagonist in William Shakespeare’s The Tragedy of Othello, the Moor of Venice should have everything going for him. A respected member of Venice’s elite and an integral part of the military, Othello appears to have it all together. However, a closer look reveals a few cracks in his otherwise firm foundation. Othello is a black man in a white world, and he is self-conscious about this. Not only does he feel isolated because of his race, but he is insecure about being older than Desdemona; therefore, he is quick to believe that she is having an affair with the handsome and young Cassio. Also, he has a different culture than others in Venice. Othello’s insecurities with his race, his age, and the fact that he is culturally different than Venice’s power players all lead to his downfall. Othello is a black man in sixteenth century Venice. While he has advanced in the military and become highly respected by many, he still feels lesser than those around him because of his race (“Othello”). In the following quote, Othello mentions that he feels unable to speak intelligently or beautifully because of his race: Haply for I am black,
And have not those soft parts of conversation
That chamberers have; or for I am declined
Into the vale of years—yet that’s not much— She’s gone. I am abused, and my relief
Must be to loathe her. O curse of marriage,
That we can call these delicate creatures ours
And not their appetites! I had rather be a toad
And live upon the vapor of a dungeon
Than keep a corner in the thing I love
For others’ uses. Yet ’tis the plague of great ones; Prerogatived are they less than the base.
’Tis destiny unshunnable, like death. (3.3.267–279) While he does indeed speak eloquently,...