Why We Value Shakespeares Othello

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The attitudes and values portrayed in Shakespeare’s Othello exemplify a great value of understanding and familiarity in today’s society where patriarchy and prejudice is still seen. Humans still create and conform to racist stereotypes; furthermore the greed for power and control has destructive impacts. These same concepts are depicted throughout Othello; Iago’s greed and desire for power and control, and the driving theme of jealousy, promoted across various characters including Othello, Iago and Roderigo. Also the characterisation, context of the play and the language features and structure used in Othello illustrate a deep meaning and serve to fulfil a particular purpose of creating a sense of realisation for the audience.

The power of racism exposed in Othello expresses the views of Venetian society in the 1600’s as highly chauvinistic. Through the use of the character, Iago, acknowledgements of the integrity of Othello’s character is seen. Iago achieves his manipulation of those around him by putting on facades of honesty; yet it is unknown what his motivations of hatred towards Othello are. His strong hatred of the Moor is further emphasised through the repetition of “I hate the moor”, illustrating Iago's jealousy and underpinning hatred of Othello's military rank and social status which is purely irrational. The racist scrutiny additionally suggest that merely Othello's skin colour is also a hint as to internal qualities such as naivety and oblivion. Iago essentially compares Othello to an animal incapable of virtuous human qualities when he says “Barbary Horse” (I.i.111). The choice of the words ‘Barbary’ and ‘horse’ is demeaning to Othello as it implies he is a brutal and domineering person. This is in keeping with the stereotypical assumption of black-skinned men as violent and physical being. Additional racism that Iago constantly presents also shows the level of unjust hatred he has towards Othello by referring to his “thick-lips” (I.i.66) and...
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