In Shakespeares Othello the characters are as much a victim of their own weakness as they are of Iagos plotting. Do power dynamics in Othello support this?
Iago, whos charisma and intellect make him more powerful than Othello and Desdemona, proves that powerplay amongst the characters supports the fact that characters, specifically Othello and Desdemona, are equally victims of their own weakness as they are of Iagos plottings. Othello and Desdemonas weaknesses are race and gender respectively which hugely depletes their personal power. Iagos uses his power to make Othello and Desdemona as much a victim as their own weaknesses as they are of his plotting’s.
Othello is as made as much a victim of his skin colour, as he is of Iagos plottings. The effect that Othellos skin colour has on his sense of self and confidence, greatly depletes his personal power. Othello’s skin colour is not a weakness in his own mind, but rather those around him who treat him differently make it his weakness. Othello is dehumanized when he is spoken about, being referred to as “old black ram” and “the devil”. These metaphors not only highlight the role that Othello’s skin colour has on how he is perceived by others, but also show that Othello’s dark skin is associated with wickedness. The role that race plays on the way that characters interact with Othello can be seen to have an affect on his sense of self. In the first Act of the play, Othello is seen to know his own worth, and when an important white man threatens to punish Othello, he responds with “Let him do his spite: My services which I have done the signory, Shall out-tongue his complaints,” Othellos tremendous control, and confidence in himself, leaves no trace of evidence that his race has had any effect on him. By the third act Othello responds to Desdemonas supposed infidelity, and we can see that Othello can recognize the negative connotations of his race. “My name, that was as fresh As Dian's visage, is now begrimed...
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