Shakespeare’s otherness in Othello
Shakespeare when writing Othello uses many different underlying themes for the reader to try and pick up on. One of the biggest is otherness. Otherness is defined as the quality or condition of being other or different, especially if exotic or strange. Shakespeare throws at the reader some interesting topics to think about race, a handkerchief, feminism, and many more. All these different topics Shakespeare wants the reader to pay attention to are all underlying issues that better help the reader to understand the playwright from Shakespeare’s point of view. Otherness is not always understandable but it gives the reader an idea as to why certain characters act as the way they do.
Race is one of the main topics in Othello that Shakespeare goes ahead and plays with. Othello being the only black man in the story he is different from the main characters. He is seen as a man of dignity, respect, and pride. Othello is different from the perceived view of darker colored folks at the time. Shakespeare uses racial otherness to toy around with the reader’s view of the characters. Most potent, grave, and reverend signiors, my very noble and approved good masters,…. Hath this extent, no more. Rude am I in my speech, And little blessed with the soft phrase of peace,.. (Othello 79-85) Othello has what people of his skin color were perceived not to have which is somewhat of an education. Shakespeare instilled the exact opposite of the readers perception into Othello. Othello lets the Duke and all others know that he knows his place and tells them that he is not a good speaker, actually quite the awkward one but he switches the subject to the task at hand with having to go to Cyprus. Othello is seen using his quick whit at the beginning of the play to defer the Duke and men to the more important issue. Readers at this time would have been shocked to see a man of darker color with somewhat of a quick...
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