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Discuss the presentation of race, gender and class in Act1 of Othello.

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Introduction

Discuss the presentation of race, gender and class in Act1 of Othello Race, gender and class are three of the most important criteria that individuals are judged by in Othello. In the opening pages of Othello we hear the first of many racist slurs made by Iago in relation towards Othello, "his Moorship's Ancient." However the audience does not know who is being referred to when Iago says the "moor." We do know nevertheless that Iago and Roderigo have a mutual dislike for the "moor." Both characters are used by Shakespeare to paint an unflattering portrait of Othello. In line 67 we see Othello's race and physical characteristics the subject of Roderigo's prejudice. ...read more.

Middle

Social classes were a very important part of Venetian society and Othello represents this very well. Social class is often represented by the way characters address each other. For example when a lower class person such as Iago address a senator he must speak differently to someone of equal or lower class than himself. He will address them as thou instead of you. Iago is driven by class and a thirst to prove himself worthy. He feels that as Othello is of a different race that he is weaker and of a lower status even though Othello is a General. He also believes that Othello cannot be civilised and consumed in the art of war, calling him a Barbarian. ...read more.

Conclusion

In many Shakespearean plays and around the Jacobean and Elizabethan eras, women were seen to be mild and submissive. However the first women we are presented with in Othello is Desdemona. She is seen to be a powerful woman with her own mind and very independent, I feel this is because she had deceived her father to marry Othello without his consent. However women generally don't seem to be individuals, each are defined in terms of her male partner. Women are a possession of a man throughout their life, whether she is her father's daughter or her husband's wife. Brabantio is very over protective of Desdemona and na�ve of his views of her. He refers to her as a possession that has been stolen from him. I think that in Othello, women are represented in a very stereotypical way, which is in-keeping with typical women of that era. . ...read more.

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