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The play Othello, by Shakespeare is set in Venice.

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Angela Lau Shakespeare 354 Emily Sherwood March 1, 2006 The play Othello, by Shakespeare is set in Venice, a time in which it was ruled by a Venetian state that believed it represented Christian order. As revealed throughout the play, the society itself was primarily concerned with rank, race, gender and status. Because many of the ideals the society held are fundamentally prejudice, Othello is instinctively cast as an outsider. He is an outsider culturally because he is Moroccan, and racially because he is a black man within a white Venetian society. A fairly racist society is revealed in the opening lines of Othello through three of the plays central characters. Iago and Roderigo never refer to Othello by name in the first scene. Instead they consistently refer to him as, "the Moor", "thick lips", "an old black ram" and "Barbary horse". Brabantio's racism is revealed in his reaction to the account of Desdemona and Othello's sexual activities and marriage. Perhaps, Othello and the audience became very aware of his displacement and the underlying racism within the society when Brabantio quickly turned from friend to foe. ...read more.


Othello consistently refers to Iago as "honest Iago" because he appears to be honest to Othello and therefore believes that he is. However, Iago's view on honesty is much more cynical, and has said, "pricked to't by foolish honesty and love", deeming what are perhaps Othello's best attributes foolish. The Duke of Venice uses Othello to defend Venice and Cyprus, but would undoubtedly dismiss him once proven useless because in the opening scenes the only reason they dismiss Brabantios accusations is because they'll need him to defend Cyprus. His exploitation reflects the type of manipulative society Shakespeare is trying to portray and is more obvious in Iago's exploitation of Othello's innocence and betrayal of his trust. Iago sees Othello's honesty and innocence as a weakness, so instead of working to preserve Othello's trust he seeks to exploit it, he uses it to destroy him. The fact that Othello is uncertain about Venetian culture and even more so in regards to women, Iago lies about Venetian women and their dishonesty and lack of moral values because he knows that Othello has no evidence to disprove his allegations. ...read more.


Othello accepts what he believes to be the truth unquestioningly. In Act III, we can witness Othello's rather quick deterioration. Due to Iago's relentless manipulation and deception Othello becomes a victim of deceit and in the end he loses himself. In the beginning of the play, Othello exudes confidence and eloquence in speech. By the end of Act V, he like the Venetians requires "ocular proof" adopting some of the European culture that dominated that period. Iago and the Venetian society gradually eat away at what goodness he possessed. Once a man of fantastic stories, he is eventually reduced to mad rants and seizures. Othello is essentially the story of a proud, intelligent, heroic, loving and patient outsider who is destroyed by pure evil, personified in Iago. Perhaps Shakespeare's message is that what little goodness there is within cruel societies can be destroyed. That evil exists in all forms and all societies despite the appearance of order and harmony. I believe that his message is that even though evil within a society can reek havoc upon one's mind and dictate one's actions it can not corrupt a pure heart. Evidence to which can be found in Othello's last words when he returns to his world stories. ?? ?? ?? ?? 3 1 ...read more.

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