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The traditional role for soldiers in Elizabethan times was as a hero, very brave and fighting for the country. Black characters were normally seen as slaves and not important people. I agree with the title that Shakespeare has inverted these roles in Ot

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Introduction

Othello The traditional role for soldiers in Elizabethan times was as a hero, very brave and fighting for the country. Black characters were normally seen as slaves and not important people. I agree with the title that Shakespeare has inverted these roles in Othello. I am going to study the two characters Iago and Othello. Iago plays a soldier who hates Othello and causes a lot of trouble. Othello is a black General who thinks that Iago is his loyal friend. In Iago Shakespeare has turned the idea of soldiers being brave, heroic and fighting for one's country to a villain who only looking out himself and has no sense of loyalty. Othello is different to traditional Black roles because he is seen as a powerful soldier who is sophisticated and respected instead of savage and low in society. Iago's philosophy is contrary to how soldiers are expected to behave. He is not following Othello out of loyalty 'In following him, I follow but myself.' This shows he is only following Othello for personal gain, whereas soldiers are expected to fight for country and leaders. ...read more.

Middle

Iago twists the story of how Desdemona and Othello 'she did deceive her father marrying you' to make Desdemona look bad and untrustworthy. The audience like Iago because he is the one in control who makes everything happen. Without him the play would seem duller. He charms us with his cleverness and the way he speaks to the audience also makes them feel more like his friend. Soldiers were meant to be seen as people who follow the order of command instead of being the ones in control; Iago is the opposite of this. As Iago persuades Othello our opinion of him disintegrates and he starts to fit the traditionally weak character black people were given. His language becomes fragmented and disjointed 'No, not much moved: I do not think but Desdemona's honest.' Not keeping the control he seemed to have at the beginning of the play. We can see that Iago has significantly influenced Othello as Othello takes on Iago's animalistic language 'I had rather be a toad' and misogynistic terms 'impudent strumpet.' ...read more.

Conclusion

At the beginning of the play Othello is not very much like traditional black characters but as the play progresses we see him start to fit into that role more although he does redeem himself somewhat in the end. Iago shows no redeeming qualities that a soldier should have and is only working for his best interests right up until the end of the play. When Shakespeare wrote the play what was he trying to say? What he shows in this play is that on the outside a black character who is the leader of a white soldier, but looking deeper, we see that it is still the white person in control using Othello, exploiting him and eventually making him lose his life. Even when the black person is given power the white person is the one in control and it all ends tragically. Maybe in a society in which black people were not given many opportunities he was trying to justify this fact. Or maybe Shakespeare was just being a playwright trying to pull in large audiences by writing about sex, violence, exotic black characters and unconventional soldiers. ...read more.

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