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The Outsider - Shakespeare's Othello

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SPEECH- The Outsider The concept of the outsider is a common theme explored in many texts. The techniques used to represent this idea and the way the outsider is perceived differ in many ways. The perceptions of an outsider may come from within the person or be imposed by society and change over time. The concept of the outsider is illustrated in the play Othello as well as more modern texts "Perfume" a novel by Patrick Suskind and the short film; "The Story of Bubbleboy". These texts share both similarities and differences in their representation of the outsider and have significantly increased my understanding of the concept. Perfume is a story of murderer written in 1985 as a literary, historical cross-genre novel by the German writer Patrick Suskind. The novel was first published as a translated version in Great Britain in 1986 by Hamish Hamilton. The novel is set in 18th century France and centres itself around a strange, abominable and gifted man named Jean-Baptiste Grenouille. He is born lacking a personal odour, a fact that society finds disturbing, and is endowed with an outstanding and unique sense of smell. Grenouille is born as an unwanted orphan in the guts of Paris. He spends his childhood commuting through Paris as a reject of society. They believe there is a "sinister presence about him". At the age of eight Grenouille is sold to a tanner and is able to explore the city, where he discovers the most alluring smells and the profession of perfumery. ...read more.


It is here when Grenouille can be seen to be accepted into society. However, regardless of this Grenouille still perceives himself as an outsider. Grenouille believes that he is not loved for himself but for the perfume he created, he states; "I have always found gratification in hatred, in hating and being hated, not love." He then decides to return to Paris upon finding that the satisfaction that he initially felt has transformed itself into self-hatred and disgust. In comparison to Othello the novel Perfume can be seen to be both similar and different in their representations of the Outsider. Like Grenouille, Othello is seen as an outsider because of his background. He is outcaste because of his race and his differing values due to past experiences. Grenouille can be seen to reflect this idea, as he is an outsider initially because of his background that challenges the norm of society at the time the novel was set. Another similarity that can be made between these two texts is that the perception of the outsider is perceived from society and also from within the outsider itself. Othello, even though quite underestimating at times, believes that he is inferior to the Venetians, he states; "Happily for I am black and do not possess the soft parts of conversation chamberers have". Grenouille also perceives himself as an outsider and is aware of the unwelcoming presence he bestows upon others. The fact that Grenouille devotes his life to creating a scent that will make him accepted and valued in society shows how he is aware if this. ...read more.


Close-ups are used to show the looks of mockery and confusion on the towns people's faces to convey this idea. The attitudes' towards Bubbleboy as an outsider may be seen to change towards the end of the film. When he is ironically stabbed on his way home from his healing journey his is stripped of his bubble-wrap protection. It is here when society can accept him as his true self is revealed. This is shown by a woman rushing to the aid of injured Bubbleboy, truly concerned for his wellbeing. Bubbleboy's perceptions of himself as an outsider can also be seen to change. A narrator's voice is used to explain that at that point, Bubbleboy finds salvation, and for the first time feels connected to the world once outside his shell. There are not many similarities to the play Othello as the short film is such a vastly different text. Though it is clear that both characters; Bubbleboy and Othello are perceived as outsiders by society. However, it is Othello's unforeseen and irrational actions that confirm his status as an outsider. While it is Bubbleboy's out of the ordinary actions that enable him to be accepted into society. Also, Bubbleboy is portrayed to be a victim of the imposing views of society, as he is a lonely and lost character, but on the other hand Othello victimizes society itself when he undergoes the actions that make him an outsider. Evidently, the three texts; "Othello", "Perfume" and "The Story of Bubbleboy" have all increased my understanding of the outsider as they illustrate a vast use of techniques and concepts that make a person an outsider in society. ...read more.

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