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How Does Shakespeare Present The Theme Of The Outsider In Othello(TM) Act 1?

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Introduction

How Does Shakespeare Present The Theme Of The Outsider In 'Othello' Act 1? 'Othello' is one of Shakespeare's most well known tragedies. It is a story of black versus white. Shakespeare has put a twist within this play, as there is a battle between good and evil, good being represented as a black man while evil being represented as a white man. We are not sure whether it is an accident of irony or Shakespeare trying to speak out to the public and make a statement about equality amongst races. Othello is a highly regarded General employed by the Venetian state to protect them against the Turks. This alone is quite bizarre, as a black man would not normally have any authority outside his homeland so he is often depicted as being a true hero and someone to look up to. However, he is flawed, as he is honest and tends to see the good in most people he fail to notice that Iago uses him in deceitful ways. In the era this play was written the black man would normally be used to portray the evil as the colour black is usually considered tinted and impure while the white man would normally portray the good as white is considered to be pure. Othello is quite unusual in Venice because he is a foreigner as he is a Moor, a black man from North Africa. ...read more.

Middle

This negative comment suggests that Iago thinks that Othello is only a piece of equipment that can be toyed with. He thinks that Othello can be tamed and used to his advantage if he can just act courteously towards him. The animal imagery also implies that Othello is only concerned with the sexual relationship between himself and Desdemona and is exploiting her. Othello has again been named "Moor" by Roderigo in the phrase "to the gross clasps of a lascivious Moor". Harsh alliteration has been used of the letter "s" to accentuate the sharpness of the words that Roderigo says. This tells the audience that Roderigo does harbour anger towards Othello by listening to the criticalness of the words. The constant use of the word "Moor" used as a name or label for Othello suggests that Iago and Roderigo think that he is not worthy of having a Christian name, so therefore they strip him of this and use a racist term to define him. I think that as racial terms are used only behind Othello's back that the characters using them are in some way scared of Othello. As Othello is a General, he houses more power than both Iago and Othello and maybe they think that he would exploit his position to strip them from their employment. Roderigo implies that Othello is an outsider compared to the people of Venice in and has different characteristics in the phrase "an extravagant and wheeling stranger". ...read more.

Conclusion

As Iago says "the Moor", this strongly suggests that Othello is the only foreign person living in Venice so therefore he truly is an outsider in the eyes of Iago. In the quote "I hate the Moor; and it is thought abroad that 'twixt my sheets He has done my office" Iago suspects Othello has slept with his wife Emilia. I think that the constant manipulation caused by Iago has corrupted his mind and has become paranoid into thinking that Othello has actually slept with Emilia. In conclusion, Shakespeare has presented the theme of the outsider continuously throughout the play and we get a deep feeling of loss and sorrow for Othello as after all the negative attitudes toward him and the manipulation, Iago had successfully damaged Othello, but with the severe result of Othello murdering Desdemona. There were more consequences because of the actions from Iago, for example, Cassio resulted in injury due to an attempt of murder by Othello and Iago killed Emilia because she revealed his evil shenanigans. Othello slew Desdemona because of the idea that Brabantio placed into his mind of Desdemona deceiving him - "She has deceived her father, and may thee". When Othello finds out the evil tricks played by Iago, his love for Desdemona is restored, however a little too late. The audience can empathise with Othello when he takes his own life as he let himself be deceived by Iago played right into his hands. By Ben Williams Year 10 Ben Williams 10-1 Word Count - 2394 2376 words ...read more.

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