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Othello's Racial Insecurity and the Role of Racism in the Play

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Othello’s racial insecurity is a tragic flaw because it is a major cause in his tragic downfall. The most visible indicator of his outsider status is also the one that provokes the most poisonous responses: Othello is a black man in white Venice. Whenever characters like Iago feel jealousy, fear, or simple hatred toward Othello, they let out their feelings by using racist slurs.

Race is an extremely important theme; it has a great amount of influence on how people regard Othello for those who distrust black people merely on looks never like Othello, like Iago. The role of racism has also been emphasized to show gender and race relations and their importance in contemporary movie creation. Othello has been compared with Desdemona to show the threats that are exposed by the feminine aspiration. The use of animals and beasts as “the Moor,” “the devil,” and “a Barbary horse.” are used to describe the identity of Othello, turning him into a villain and an animal. Othello is accused of using witchcraft to force Desdemona to fall in love with him. This is because black people were not expected to have an affair with the white people.

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Othello himself also is aware of his color. He becomes self-conscious about the fact that Desdemona could change her mind because of his color. He thinks that she would definitely have an affair with someone of her color, as she would get sick of him. Othello has continued to regard himself irrespective of the diversity in races. His humbleness allows him to be willing to accept his race regardless of the insults from his enemies. The use of the term ‘other’ shows the ability of Othello to resist and defend his race even when he is regarded as an inferior race. This is shown where he is willing to enter into a relationship with a white woman. Race also determines how Othello perceives himself as a rough outsider, though he is nothing of the type. Othello’s race sets him apart, and makes him very self-conscious, work hard and look carefully after his reputation.

It was just one of the many ingredients that drove Othello to the solution of murder, but it’s one that stands out the most. When he finds out that the one person he truly loves and trusts is “cheating” on him, he instantly believes it because he believes that he is not good enough for her. He knows that he does not meet Brabantio’s standards, and that Brabantio does not want his daughter married to a black man. Othello instantly believed that Desdemona was cheating on him with Cassio because he feels so insecure and low about himself that he wouldn’t even question it because deep down he must be thinking ‘Why wouldn’t she cheat on me?’ ‘Her father doesn’t accept me’ and ‘I am the devil’ ‘I am black.’ Racist comments got to Othello’s head and caused his insecurities to build, which then turned into a tragic flaw, leading to his downfall. 

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