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

Othello is a black man in a white society. How does his status as an outsider contribute to his downfall?

Extracts from this document...

Introduction

Othello is a black man in a white society. How does his status as an outsider contribute to his downfall? Shakespeare's play, Othello, explores themes of love and passion, 'otherness', jealousy, revenge and order vs. Chaos, which all revolve mainly around the protagonist, Othello. Surrounded by Venetians within a white society, Othello begins to realise his 'otherness' thus his insecurities as an outside and a "Moor" increase. The deceptive Iago uses these dangerous blemishes in Othello's personality to manipulate the moral Othello, using his one fatal flaw, jealousy. During the 16th Century, the Elizabethan audiences' attentiveness and familiarity of the thin line between order and chaos would have added to the tragic story of Othello. This was due to the invasion of Cyprus by the Turkish in 1572. They would also have had a clear understanding of the difference between savagery, which they stereotypes black people to be; and so called civilisation because of the predominant residence of the white people. Black people were generally only conveyed through literature, usually as evil and chaotic. Shakespeare explored the double-edged surroundings that are portrayed within Othello as a play, and the chaos and jealousy that reeks from Othello through the depreciation of his morals. The war that the Elizabethans were familiar with symbolises the tempest that Othello himself was dragged into, the war within his heart and soul. Shakespeare's portrayal of Othello is of a Venetian general but at the same time as an outside to the society that he resided in. ...read more.

Middle

His awareness of his dissimilarity was so strong that he compared her to himself and his race, using his own 'blackness' as an insult to Desdemona. Iago's relationship with Othello was that of a supposed friend and an ancient. However, Iago made no attempt to suppress his jealousy and hatred that he had for Othello, appalled and ashamed that a black man was the Venetian general, but Iago was merely his ancient, above the paranoia that his wife, Emilia, was having an affair with Othello. Iago expressed this bitter rage as it evolved into a deceiving plan that Iago plans against Othello in a lethal attempt to debase Othello's reputation. Iago began to do so as he informed Brabantio of the marriage between Desdemona and the "Moor". He used vulgar imagery to describe that they were making the "beast with two backs", to anger Brabantio and convince him to break up Othello and Desdemona. The irony that lies in the conversations between Iago and Othello is caused by Othello's repetitive phrase "Honest Iago". The audience knew that Iago was the one causing trouble, and was not honest. Iago was successful in the manipulation of Othello due to Othello's own knowledge and understanding of his 'otherness'. Iago explained to Othello that "I know our country disposition well" implying that Othello was still kept in the dark about the behaviour of Venetian women in particular. ...read more.

Conclusion

Although he loved Desdemona passionately, the idea of romanticism that passion was bad, was conveyed to the Elizabethan audience. Shakespeare signalled a message through Othello, implying that passion was an emotion that was deadly when there was no control over it, whereas reasoning and subtle relationships were good. This was not only Shakespeare's message, but the views of the Elizabethans. When Othello's jealousy takes over him, Iago merely feeds him the details, whereas it was Othello's idea to kill Cassio and Desdemona, not Iago's. Sean McEvoy explained that Othello's tragedy was that "he interprets the world - an ideology" and was weak enough to be manipulated. He felt that as he was honest and passionate himself, he could trust other characters in the play, such as the supposedly "Honest" Iago. Othello was a great man within the play, a gracious general and a passionate husband, but it was the fault of himself and his lethal error of jealousy that allowed him to be frail enough (personality-wise) to be influenced to commit the murder of Desdemona. As Othello's manners transformed into a violent storm, he began to fit the stereotype that was formed about him as an aggressive black man, which is when the start of his downfall occurred, whereas at the start of the play, when he was caring and generous, such emotions like jealousy would not occur, thus preventing his downfall. Othello's personality changed into a ball of contradictions, his feelings entwined in confusion and jealousy, as Sean McEvoy rightly interpreted "the contradictions within his ideology destroy him". Gul-e-Raana Afzal Ms Middlecott English Coursework ...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

See related essaysSee related essays

Related GCSE Othello essays

  1. How does Iago manipulate characters and bring about their downfall in Shakespeare's Othello?

    loving conversations, as he is a fighter, and he also says that he feels that he is getting too old for her. In Othello's soliloquy, he also states, "I'd rather be a toad, and live upon the vapour of a dungeon, then keep a corner in the thing I love for other people's uses."

  2. A Comparison of Women in Shakespeare's Othello, The Merchant of Venice, and A Midsummer ...

    In speaking to Hermia about Demetrius's fawning love for her, Helena sighs: O, that your frowns would teach my smiles such Skill!... O, that my prayers could such affection move!... The more I love, the more he hateth me..." (I.i.199-200,202,204).

  1. What extent does racism contribute to Othello's downfall?

    He makes Othello start to think uneasy thoughts by saying, "ha I like not that" about Desdemona and Cassio's exit; Othello immedietly believes Iago, his jealousy playing off Iago�s calculated suggestion.

  2. Is Othello a 'noble hero' brought down by 'a devil of motiveless malignity' or ...

    moor, whose beastial sexual appetite, conveyed by Iago's cries to Brabantio, telling him that 'an old black ram is tupping' his 'white ewe' (1.1.89), is something of a rapist. Iago's coarse animal related language conveys Iago's feelings against Othello's marriage in a much more pronounced way.

  1. At the start of the play Othello is presented as a very confident character. ...

    He has status and integrity, dignity and the audience recognises this. Othello's development from a gallant, confident, and strong general to jealousy, insanity, revenge and murder, Can be seen initially in act III scene IIII where Iago skilfully begins to manipulate him by planning seeds of doubt in his mind about Desdemona's fidelity.

  2. How does Shakespeare create the character of 'Othello' in Act 1 and how is ...

    Iago continues his devious provocation by implying to Brabantio that common thieves have abducted his daughter. Desdemona has secretly entered into marriage without the knowledge of her father. Iago "Awake, what, ho, Brabantio! Thieves, thieves !" (Act 1, scene1, line 85)

  1. Why is Iago's manipulation of Othello successful?

    her with Cassio, 'Were they as prime as goats, as hot as monkeys' prime and hot meaning sexually rampant and 'as salt as wolves in pride' in pride meaning on heat. Iago uses animals in this imagery maybe to suggest they were acting like dirty animals themselves or, to describe to Othello how inhumane they have acted.

  2. The Tragedy of Othello, the Moor of Venice : How Does Jealousy Contribute to ...

    Therefore, Iago comes up with a plan to get revenge on Othello by lying to him, and convincing him that Desdemona is cheating on him with Cassio. Through several conversations between Othello and Iago, Iago implies that he knows something that he refuses to divulge regarding Cassio and Othello?s wife, Desdemona.

  • Over 160,000 pieces
    of student written work
  • Annotated by
    experienced teachers
  • Ideas and feedback to
    improve your own work