Othello,the Moor of Venice, is a Shakespearean play that criticizes the risksof social insecurity to a man love. Othello is an accomplishedVenetian general. He has outstanding military reputation. However,his subordinates such as Iago manipulate the weakness in removing himfrom his coveted leadership position. In addition, Iago and hiscohort use Othello’s social insecurity in taking his girlfriendaway because they believed she was too good to wed a black person.Throughout the play, Othello is evidently an accomplished, bold, anddecisive general, but his social insecurity creates a loophole forhis downfall.
Racismtheme is rampant in the play. Othello is constantly depicted as anoutsider and wicked person because he is black. Despite histremendous success as a soldier of fortune and the high rank, he washolding in the Venetian army, the locals such as Ronderigo believeshe does not have the credentials for marrying a respectable girl suchas Desdemona. The belief makes him hire Iago’s services to breakthe relationship. After Brabantio discovers that Othello has elopedwith his daughter, he immediately goes to arrest him because as hecannot imagine that his daughter could get married to a stranger andan outcast, without his approval or knowledge.
Racismagainst Othello is evident in that they refrain from referring to himby his name. In the first scene, Ronderigo and Iago refer to Othelloas “he”, “him”, and “the moor” because they do notconsider him as part of the society. In addition, they associate himas having won Desdemona’s love using magic, which was considered aweapon for the wicked persons in the Elizabethan era (Niamat 1).Brabantio, Desdemona’s father, expresses his dislike for Othello bycolluding with Ronderigo and accusing Othello of winning Desdemona’slove using wicked strategies. Ronderigo went to arrest Othellobecause he believed he was not worth of serving in the Venetianadministration as a general. However, he bursts in fury afterdiscovering that he could not imprison the General as the duke incouncil had called him to attend an urgent meeting concerning mattersof state. “Cannotbut feel this wrong as `twere their own/ For if such actions havepassage free,/ Bond-slaves and pagans shall our statesmen be(I.ii.12).” Brabantio calls the general a thief, a cheat, andintends to have him arrested. The false accusations and racismremarks make Othello feel insecure towards Desdemona’s love becausehis father clarified that he was against the relationship(Shakespeare 2).
The“black skin” in the Elizabethan era was a symbol of guilt andwickedness. On the other hand, white skin was a symbol of innocenceand honor. The Venetians could not trust Othello a black skinnedgeneral, because he was supposedly a villain and an outcast withpotential for turning against them. Brabantio suspects that Othellohas taken Desdemona by force or using wicked means such aswitchcraft, minerals, and drugs.
“Othou foul thief, where hast thou stow`d my daughter?/ Damn`d as thouart, thou hast enchanted her/ For I`ll refer me to all things ofsense,/ If she in chains of magic were not bound,(I.ii.12).” Brabantio comes to Othello’s house with a big army toarrest Othello because he is convinced that he was holding hisdaughter by force. However, after Desdemona admits that the generalwooed her without coercion, her father suspects that she is under aspell (Niamat 1). He cannot understand how her young daughter canrefuse to get married to young white-skinned men with “money” and“honor” to match her dignity. The accusations, further, makeOthello become socially insecure. He is afraid that Desdemona canleave him easily because he does not have requirements such as the“honor” and “innocence” that is symbolized by white skins(Shakespeare 6).
AlthoughOthello appears a bad character in the play, Iago is the centraldesperado because he masterminds key events that build the story. Forexample, he sets a creative plan that puts all the characters atloggerheads with each other. In addition, he manipulates his wife,Emilia, into betraying Desdemona by stealing her handkerchief. Hiscunningness enables him portray Othello as a villain.
“Why,any thing:/ An honourable murderer, if you will/ For nought I did inhate, but all in honour (V.ii.289).”Desdemona’s father (Brabantio) describes Othello as a wicked personusing charms to win the love of his daughter. Similarly, the Venetiancourt prosecutes Othello for killing his wife, Desdemona. However,Othello is a victim of circumstance and free of guilt and disloyaltyto the state. Desdemona and Emilia die in the play to make Othelloappear guilty. The two are two understand that Othello is a loyal,loving and honest person who is tricked into committing atrocities(Niamat 1). The author portrays the general as a wicked person whomurders a statesman’s innocent daughter. The action was no surpriseto the Venetians because the black persons are famous with wickednessand betrayal. Nonetheless, Othello was a loyal general, and he lovedhis wife passionately, but Iago manipulated his social insecurity tobelieve that Desdemona had an affair with Cassio. He kills his wifebecause he is so jealous to let another man have her unlike theaccusers’ statements that he killed Desdemona because he was anoutcast and a villain (Shakespeare 3).
Insummary, Othello is not wicked or disloyal to the Venice state. He isan excellent soldier determined to offer the best services to thestate, as can be proven by his determination to conquer the stateenemies such as the attacking Turks. His decision to kill Desdemonaoriginates from jealous and social insecurity that makes himunconfident that his wife could be faithful to him even though manypeople were discouraging her from loving him.
Shakespeare,William. “Othello, the Moore of Venice.” MassachusettsInstitute Technology.2005. Web. last modified on August 7, 2014 fromhttp://shakespeare.mit.edu/othello/full.html
Niamat,Ali. “"Othello" A Critical Review.” Theliterature Network. 2006.
Shakespeare,William. “Othello Summary and Analysis.” GradeSaver Study Guide.2014.