• Join over 1.2 million students every month
  • Accelerate your learning by 29%
  • Unlimited access from just £6.99 per month

Is Othello a Racist and a Sexist Play?

Extracts from this document...


Is Othello a Racist and a Sexist Play? Racism - the intolerance and discrimination of a person based purely on the colour of their skin. In a contemporary context, racism is thought of as an issue of relatively small proportion, although still present. Western civilisation has become more accustomed to, and there for more tolerant of a multi-cultural society. But before this, before the struggles and victories of the civil rights movement, before the American civil war and the abolition if the slave trade, back in the days when Othello was written, racism wasn't even a concept. It was accepted that the colour of your skin dictated your life and culture. The difference in colour stated more than country of origin. Although many stereotypes existed for different cultures, the colour of your skin could almost define you as a different, inferior species entirely. As for sexism, women throughout history have fought for recognition of that they are more than possessions, more than just mothers and wives. But even so, it took a long, long time for this to be realised. ...read more.


Rude am I in my speech And little blessed in the soft phrase of peace" Although he admits he is woefully addicted unto wrath, he keeps his cool, and therefore defies the stereotype. He does fall victim to Iago eventually. He proves his loyalty to his friends by believing Iago over his wife, and also the stereotyped gullibility, although he takes some persuasion. His anger becomes more prominent; he looses his cool and becomes consumed by rage and jealousy. He becomes the stereotype, rather than beginning as one. In my opinion, this is not meant as a racist statement by the play, as Iago, the Venetian, is portrayed as the evildoer, and although Othello adheres to the stereotype, it is possible any man could do the same under the circumstances, rather than just a "moor." The attitudes towards Othello from the other characters could be said to be "understandable" from the historical context. Even so they are racist. It is doubtful Shakespeare did this to be malevolent; it is far more likely that it was written in character. ...read more.


Looking at this play in its original, historical context, you could also argue that it is actually a condemnation of racism. A Black man rises to a position of power and respect, enters into a mixed race relationship, which although rejected by the surrounding public, went ahead. His fall into jealousy could be seen as much more of a basic human flaw than conformity to a stereotype. Such a thing could rip any man apart. Racism and sexism are still present today, although much less apparent. Othello is the victim of some racial discrimination although, overall, the play is not a racial hate statement. All the prejudice is contained within the characters, and Othello himself breaks the stereotype of a moor, until he is consumed by jealousy and anger, which anymore may fall victim to under the same circumstances. The role of women is still somewhat hazy though. Although the stereotype is broken, they are not in anyway seen as somehow different fro how they where though at the time. Second class. This play is not extremely racist or sexist, especially looking at it in the historical context, but there are some old fashioned ways of thinking. Overall, this play is entertainment, rather than a comment on civil rights of the time. ...read more.

The above preview is unformatted text

This student written piece of work is one of many that can be found in our GCSE Othello section.

Found what you're looking for?

  • Start learning 29% faster today
  • 150,000+ documents available
  • Just £6.99 a month

Not the one? Search for your essay title...
  • Join over 1.2 million students every month
  • Accelerate your learning by 29%
  • Unlimited access from just £6.99 per month
  • Over 160,000 pieces
    of student written work
  • Annotated by
    experienced teachers
  • Ideas and feedback to
    improve your own work