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The Role of Racial Prejudice in Othello

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Emma Cain

on 18 December 2013

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Transcript of The Role of Racial Prejudice in Othello

The Role of Racial Prejudice in
Othello
By: Emma, Alisha, and Andrea
Activity
What first comes to mind when you think of the colour
black
?

What first comes to mind when you think of the colour
white
?

Overview
Characters
Important Definitions
Preview of Arguments
Thesis
Arguments
Brabantio
Iago
Minor Characters
Effect on Othello
Discussion Questions
Conclusion
Characters
Othello
Desdemona
Iago
Emilia
Brabantio
Roderigo
Duke of Venice

Definitions
Racism
: the belief that all members of each race possess characteristics or abilities specific to that race, so as to distinguish it as inferior or superior to another race or races
Prejudice
: harm or injury that results or may result from some action or judgment
Racial Prejudice
: prejudice against or hostility toward people of another race or colour
Preview of Arguments
Brabantio

Disagrees with the marriage
Unnatural
Symbolism (white and black, devil)
Racial slurs
Iago
Has a strong hatred towards Othello
Racial slurs
Symbolism (white and black, animal, devil)
Unnatural
Minor Characters
Roderigo
Duke of Venice
Emilia
Thesis
Brabrantio, Iago, and other minor characters’ racial prejudice leads Othello to lack self-confidence, allowing him to believe in Iago’s lies of Desdemona’s adultery.
Brabantio
Iago
Minor Characters
Effect on Othello
Discussion Questions
Conclusion
If you experienced similar prejudice as what Othello received how do you believe it would affect you?
How do you think people would react to similar racial prejudice seen in Othello, in modern day?
Does the play encourage or challenge the racism of the time?
Topic Sentence
: Brabrantio's racial prejudice results in Othello's lack of self confidence, allowing him to believe Iago's lies of Desdemona's affair.
“O thou
foul thief
! Where hast thou stowed my daughter? / Damned as thou art,
thou hast enchanted her
, / For I’ll refer me to all things of sense, /
If she in chains of magic were not bound
, / Whether a maid so tender, fair, and happy, / So opposite to marriage that she shunned / The wealthy curled darlings of our nation, / Would ever have, t’incur a general mock, /
Run from her guardage to the sooty bosom
/ Of such a thing as thou – to fear, not to delight. / Judge me the world, if ‘tis not gross in sense /
That thou hast practised on her with foul charms, / Abused her delicate youth with drugs or minerals
/ That weakens motion. I’ll have’t disputed on; / ‘Tis probable and palpable to thinking. / I therefore apprehend and do attach thee / For
an abuser of the world
, a practiser / Of arts inhibited and out of warrant. / Lay hold upon him. If he do resist, / Subdue him at his peril.” (1.2.62-81)

“A maiden never bold; / Of spirit so still and quiet that her motion / Blushed at herself; and she, in spite of nature, / Of years, of country, credit, everything, /
To fall in love with what she feared to look on?
/ It is a judgement maimed and most imperfect / That will confess perfection so could err /
Against all rules of nature
, and must be driven /
To find out practices of cunning hell
/ Why this should be. I therefore vouch again / That with some mixtures powerful o’er the blood / Or with some dram conjured to this effect
/ He wrought upon her
” (1.3.94-106).





She is abused
, stol’n from me, and
corrupted
/
By spells and medicines bought of mountebanks
; / For
nature so preposterously to err
, / Being not deficient,
blind or lame of sense
, / Sans witchcraft could not” (1.3.60-64).





Quotation #1:
Quotation #2:
Quotation #3:
Topic Sentence
: The role of Roderigo, The Duke of Venice and Emilia's racial prejudice towards Othello results in him lacking self-confidence allowing him to believe in Desdemona's adultery.
"Sir, I will answer anything. But I beseech you/if't be you pleasure and most wise consent/(As partly I find it is) that your fair daughter/ At this odd-even and dull watch o'the night/Transported with no worse nor better guard/ But with a knave of common hire, gondolier/
To the gross claps of a lascivious Moor
/If this be known to you, and your allowance/We then have done you bold and saucy wrongs/But if you know not this, my manners tell me/We have wrong your wrong rebuke. Do not believe/That from the sense of all civility/I thus would play and trifle with your reverence/Your daughter, if you have not given her leave/
I say again, hath made a gross revolt/Tying her duty, beauty, wit, and fortunes/In an extravagant and wheeling stranger...
"(1.1.119-135)
Roderigo
Modern Text: "I'll answer for everything. I don't know if you know or approve of this, but in the wee hours of the morning your daughter left your house, with no better escort than a hired gondolier, to go into the rough embrace a lustful Moor. If all this happened with your approval, then we've been very rude to bother you like this. But if you didn't know about it, then you were wrong to get mad at us. I'd never play pranks on you. If you didn't allow your daughter to do what she's doing, then she's rebelling against you. She's throwing her life away on some stranger.
Duke of Venice
"Good night to everyone. (To Brabantio) And noble/signoir/If virtue no delighted beauty lack/Your son-in-law is
far more fair than black.
" (1.3.282-286)
"foul thief
!"
"
thou hast
enchanted her"
Modern text: "Goodnight, everyone. (to Brabantio) Sir, if goodness is beautiful, your son-in-law is beautiful not black.
Emilia
"Run from her guardage to the sooty bosom"
"That thou hast practised on her with foul charms, / Abused her delicate youth with drugs or minerals"
"an abuser of the world"
"She is abused"
Othello: "She's like a liar gone to burning hell/'Twas that killed her."

Emilia:"O, the more angel she, and
you the blacker devil!
" (5.2.130-133)
"corrupted
/
By spells and
medicines bought of
mountebanks"
"nature so preposterously
to err"
Modern text:
Othello: She was lying even as she was going down to hell. I did kill her"
Emilia: Then she was even more angel, and you're an even blacker devil"
"blind or lame of sense"
"
To fall in love with what
she feared to look on?"
"Against all rules of nature"
"To find out practices of cunning hell"
"He wrought upon her"

"This fellow’s of exceeding honesty / And knows all quantities, with a learnèd spirit, / Of human dealings.
If I do prove her haggard
, / Though that her jesses were my dear heartstrings, / I’d whistle her off and let her down the wind / To prey at fortune.
Haply, for I am black / And have not those soft parts of conversation
/ That chamberers have, or for I am declined / Into the vale of years—yet that’s not much— / She’s gone, I am abused, and my relief / Must be to loathe her. Oh, curse of marriage / That we can call these delicate creatures ours / And not their appetites!
I had rather be a toad
/ And live upon the vapor of a dungeon / Than keep a corner in the thing I love / For others' uses. Yet ’tis the plague to great ones, / Prerogatived are they less than the base. / 'Tis destiny unshunnable, like death. / Even then this forkèd plague is fated to us / When we do quicken. Look where she comes" (3.3.260-279).

Thesis: Brabrantio, Iago, and other minor characters’ racial prejudice leads Othello to lack self confidence, allowing him to believe in Iago’s lies of Desdemona’s adultery.
Thesis: Brabrantio, Iago, and other minor characters’ racial prejudice leads Othello to lack self confidence, allowing him to believe in Iago’s lies of Desdemona’s adultery.
Thesis: Brabrantio, Iago, and other minor characters’ racial prejudice leads Othello to lack self confidence, allowing him to believe in Iago’s lies of Desdemona’s adultery.
Brabantios refers to Othello as a "thief" who stole his daughter
"foul" implies that Othello is wicked or immoral (based on colour)
Displays that Brabantio does not approve of Desdemona marrying a black man
Negative tone
Brabantio accuses Othello of enchanting Desdemona to fall in love with him
Implies that she would never have loved him otherwise because of his colour
"guardage" means protection
Implies that she was raised and protected against Othello's race
"sooty bosom" - a metaphor comparing Othello to an evil heart
Soot is black (imagery)
Brabantio exaggerates Othello's evilness to say he abuses the whole world
"abuser"
Describes that Othello has caused damage by marrying a white woman
"foul"
Wicked or immoral
"charms", "drugs", "minerals"
Implies that Desdemona only loves Othello because a spell has been put on her
Otherwise she wouldn't have loved him as he is black
"Abused"
Implies Othello has hurt or damaged Desdemona by marrying her
"abused"
Implies that Desdemona has been hurt or damaged
"nature [...] to err"
Describes that the marriage of a black man and white woman is an error in nature
"preposterously"
Implies the ridiculousness of their marriage
"corrupted"
Negative connotation
Implies that Othello persuaded Desdemona to marry him dishonestly
"spells and medicines"
Implies that it is insensible for a white woman to marry a black man
Describes that Desdemona is blind to Othello's negative character and race
Brabantio believes that Desdemona was afraid of black men
His tone is doubtful
Implies that he does not believe that she loves Othello because he is black
"cunning hell"
Implies that Othello is a devil
In old church paintings devils were commonly portrayed as black
Symbolism
The devil is a very negative symbol of hatred and evil
Brabantio argues that it is unnatural for a white woman to love a black man
"wrought"
Beaten
Negative connotation
Implies that Othello has hurt Desdemona, something expected due to his colour
"I think my wife be honest, and
I think she is not
; / I think that thou art just, and think thou art not. / I'll have some proof.
Her name, that was as fresh / As Dian's visage, is now begrimed and black / As mine own face.
If there be cords or knives, / Poison or fire or suffocation streams, / I'll not endure it. Would I were satisfied" (3.3.385-391).
Topic Sentence
: Brabrantio's racial prejudice results in Othello's lack of self confidence, allowing him to believe Iago’s lies of Desdemona’s affair.
Topic Sentence
: Brabrantio's racial prejudice results in Othello's lack of self confidence, allowing him to believe Iago’s lies of Desdemona’s affair.
Topic Sentence
: Brabrantio's racial prejudice results in Othello's lack of self confidence, allowing him to believe Iago’s lies of Desdemona’s affair.
Topic Sentence
: Brabrantio's racial prejudice results in Othello's lack of self confidence, allowing him to believe Iago’s lies of Desdemona’s affair.
Topic Sentence
: Brabrantio's racial prejudice results in Othello's lack of self confidence, allowing him to believe Iago’s lies of Desdemona’s affair.
Topic Sentence
: Brabrantio's racial prejudice results in Othello's lack of self confidence, allowing him to believe Iago’s lies of Desdemona’s affair.
Topic Sentence
: Brabrantio's racial prejudice results in Othello's lack of self confidence, allowing him to believe Iago’s lies of Desdemona’s affair.
Topic Sentence
: Brabrantio's racial prejudice results in Othello's lack of self confidence, allowing him to believe Iago’s lies of Desdemona’s affair.
Topic Sentence
: Brabrantio's racial prejudice results in Othello's lack of self confidence, allowing him to believe Iago’s lies of Desdemona’s affair.
Topic Sentence
: Brabrantio's racial prejudice results in Othello's lack of self confidence, allowing him to believe Iago’s lies of Desdemona’s affair.
Topic Sentence
: Brabrantio's racial prejudice results in Othello's lack of self confidence, allowing him to believe Iago’s lies of Desdemona’s affair.
Topic Sentence
: Brabrantio's racial prejudice results in Othello's lack of self confidence, allowing him to believe Iago’s lies of Desdemona’s affair.
Topic Sentence
: Brabrantio's racial prejudice results in Othello's lack of self confidence, allowing him to believe Iago’s lies of Desdemona’s affair.
Quotation #1:
"you’re robbed [...] you have lost half your soul
"
"Even now, now, very now, an old black ram / Is tupping your white ewe"
Thesis: Brabrantio, Iago, and other minor characters’ racial prejudice leads Othello to lack self confidence, allowing him to believe in Iago’s lies of Desdemona’s adultery.
Topic Sentence
: Iago’s racial prejudice results in Othello's lack of self-confidence, allowing him to believe in Iago’s lies of Desdemona’s adultery.
Topic Sentence
: Iago’s racial prejudice results in Othello's lack of self-confidence, allowing him to believe in Iago’s lies of Desdemona’s adultery.
Quotation #2:
"if the / devil bid you
"
"
you’ll have your daughter covered with a Barbary / horse"
"your nephews neigh to you"
Thesis: Brabrantio, Iago, and other minor characters’ racial prejudice leads Othello to lack self confidence, allowing him to believe in Iago’s lies of Desdemona’s adultery.
Topic Sentence
: Iago’s racial prejudice results in Othello's lack of self-confidence, allowing him to believe in Iago’s lies of Desdemona’s adultery.
Topic Sentence
: Iago’s racial prejudice results in Othello's lack of self-confidence, allowing him to believe in Iago’s lies of Desdemona’s adultery.
Topic Sentence
: Iago’s racial prejudice results in Othello's lack of self-confidence, allowing him to believe in Iago’s lies of Desdemona’s adultery.
Quotation #3:
"Not to affect many proposèd matches / Of her own clime, complexion, and degree
"
"
see in all things nature tends"
"recoiling to her better judgment, / May fall to match you with her country forms"
"One may smell in such a will most rank, / Foul disproportions, thoughts unnatural"
Thesis: Brabrantio, Iago, and other minor characters’ racial prejudice leads Othello to lack self confidence, allowing him to believe in Iago’s lies of Desdemona’s adultery.
Topic Sentence
: Iago’s racial prejudice results in Othello's lack of self-confidence, allowing him to believe in Iago’s lies of Desdemona’s adultery.
Topic Sentence
: Iago’s racial prejudice results in Othello's lack of self-confidence, allowing him to believe in Iago’s lies of Desdemona’s adultery.
Topic Sentence
: Iago’s racial prejudice results in Othello's lack of self-confidence, allowing him to believe in Iago’s lies of Desdemona’s adultery.
Topic Sentence
: Iago’s racial prejudice results in Othello's lack of self-confidence, allowing him to believe in Iago’s lies of Desdemona’s adultery.
Topic Sentence
: Iago’s racial prejudice results in Othello's lack of self-confidence, allowing him to believe in Iago’s lies of Desdemona’s adultery.
Zounds, sir,
you’re robbed;
for shame, put on your gown; / Your heart is burst;
you have lost half your soul
; /
Even now, now, very now, an old black ram / Is tupping your white ewe
. Arise, arise; / Awake the snorting citizens with the bell, / Or else
the devil will make a grandsire of you
. / Arise, I say! (1.1.87-93)
Zounds, sir; you are one of those that will not serve God
if the / devil bid you
. Because we come to do you service and you think / we are ruffians,
you’ll have your daughter covered with a Barbary / horse,
you’ll have
your nephews neigh to you
, you’ll have coursers for cousins and jennets for germans. (1.1.109-113)
Ay, there’s the point. As, to be bold with you, /
Not to affect many proposèd matches / Of her own clime, complexion, and degree
, / Whereto we
see in all things nature tends
– / Foh!
One may smell in such a will most rank, / Foul disproportions, thoughts unnatural
. / But—pardon me—I do not in position / Distinctly speak of her; though I may fear / Her will,
recoiling to her better judgment, / May fall to match you with her country forms
, / And happily repent. (3.3.230-239)
Thesis
: Brabrantio, Iago, and other minor characters’ racial prejudice leads Othello to lack self confidence, allowing him to believe in Iago’s lies of Desdemona’s adultery.
Othello begins to lack self-confidence and believe in Desdemona's adultery after continuously experiencing racial prejudice from Brabantio, Iago, and other minor characters
Brabantio
disagrees with the marriage
unnatural
symbolism (devil, black)
racial slurs
Iago

develops his hatred for Othello through racism
racial slurs
symbolism (black and white, animal, devil)
unnatural
Minor Characters
Roderigo
Duke of Venice
Emilia
Prejudice can lead anyone to lack self-confidence and believe in wrongful sins
Proves that it is important to treat everyone with respect
Quotation #2:
Quotation #1:
Thesis: Brabrantio, Iago, and other minor characters’ racial prejudice leads Othello to lack self confidence, allowing him to believe in Iago’s lies of Desdemona’s adultery.
Thesis: Brabrantio, Iago, and other minor characters’ racial prejudice leads Othello to lack self confidence, allowing him to believe in Iago’s lies of Desdemona’s adultery.
"
I think she is not"
Refers to her honesty to him
Othello believes Desdemona has committed adultery
"Her name, that was as fresh /
As Dian's visage, is now begrimed
and black / As mine own face"
"fresh as Dian's visage"
Diane is the goddess of the
pale
moon and chastity
"visage" means face
"begrimed"
Blackened with dirt
Othello lacks self confidence
Desdemona marrying Othello is considered a robbery
Hyperbole
Iago exaggerates the effect of Desdemona's decision to marry a black man
"tupping" refers to mating
show animal-like characteristics
Black and white symbolism to compare the couple
Desdemona is pure (white),
while Othello is considered filthy (black)
Comparing Othello to an animal
black men were considered to be animal-like
Iago speaks of a devil again
associates Othello with a devil
"If I do prove her haggard"
"
Haply, for I am black / And have not those soft parts of conversation"
"To the gross claps of a lascivious Moor"
Moor
A person Muslim or Arab decent who invaded Spain during the 8th century
Is used as a type of racial slur in the play
"
I had rather be a toad"
Lascivious
(of a person, manner, or gesture) feeling or revealing an overt and often offensive sexual desire
"
the devil will make a grandsire of you"
Topic Sentence
: Iago’s racial prejudice results in Othello's lack of self-confidence, allowing him to believe in Iago’s lies of Desdemona’s adultery.
Iago states that Othello is a devil
in old church paintings devils were commonly portrayed as black
personification of evil
The devil is supernatural
Iago thinks people like Othello should not exist
"I say again hath made a gross revolt/ tying her duty, beauty, wit and fortunes/In a extravagant and wheeling stranger"
Revolt
rise in rebellion
Desdemona's marriage with Othello is seen as a rebellion
Tying
present tense of tie
Desdemona has tied all her fortune to Othello by marrying him
"clime" is country
Iago enforces the idea that Othello is very different than many men
Desdemona can marry someone better than Othello
Desdemona veered away from her own nature
"Far more fair than black"
Meant as a compliment
Suggesting that it is better to be white than to be black
"You are blacker than the devil"
comparing Othello to the devil
in old church paintings devils are usually painted black
Haggard
looking exhausted and unwell, esp. from fatigue, worry, or suffering
Othello is saying that if Iago is right he will make Desdemona suffer
Out of nature for Desdemona to like Othello
She should not be attracted to him
a white woman should not love a black man
Othello is saying that he would rather be a toad than to be cheated on by Desdemona
toads are viewed as gross creatures- Othello is stating that he would rather be viewed as a toad than a fool
Iago states Desdemona has other desires and thoughts
she smells of her desires
has unnatural thoughts
It is foolish for Desdemona to be with Othello
Loving Othello is unnatural
Iago believes Desdemona will recoil to her better judgement
marrying Othello is wrong
she should marry someone in her nature
Animal symbolism
Iago compares Othello an African horse
Covered means to climb
Iago is ashamed Desdemona is "covered" by Othello
shows animal like behaviour
Bestial symbolism makes it seem like an attack
Othello is shown as incapable of having a proper family
European belief that there is a superior race
races should not mix
His children will be animals
Othello shows doubt in himself
He begins to believe Iago's lies
Reflects on his differences
thinks his race may have lost him Desdemona
negative
Thesis: Brabrantio, Iago, and other minor characters’ racial prejudice leads Othello to lack self confidence, allowing him to believe in Iago’s lies of Desdemona’s adultery.
Thesis: Brabrantio, Iago, and other minor characters’ racial prejudice leads Othello to lack self confidence, allowing him to believe in Iago’s lies of Desdemona’s adultery.
Thesis: Brabrantio, Iago, and other minor characters’ racial prejudice leads Othello to lack self confidence, allowing him to believe in Iago’s lies of Desdemona’s adultery.
Thesis: Brabrantio, Iago, and other minor characters’ racial prejudice leads Othello to lack self confidence, allowing him to believe in Iago’s lies of Desdemona’s adultery.
Thesis: Brabrantio, Iago, and other minor characters’ racial prejudice leads Othello to lack self confidence, allowing him to believe in Iago’s lies of Desdemona’s adultery.
Thanks for listening!
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