English / Othello
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Autor: anton 30 October 2010
Words: 724 | Pages: 3
The Significance of Othelloâ€™s Ethnicity.
In William E. Cainâ€™s essay, â€œThe Triumph of Will,â€ he clearly states, as is represented by James that Othelloâ€™s race is not an issue in the play. I strongly agree with James and believe that if Othelloâ€™s skin was white it would not affect the outcome of the play at all. Desdemonaâ€™s marriage to any other man, black or white, would have been just as upsetting to Barbantio and Roderigo, and in this paper I will further discuss my reasoning.
As I have mentioned in the introduction, the outcome of the play would have been exactly the same whether or not Desdemonaâ€™s husband in the play happened to be black or white. One of the reasons is the fact that Barbantio was not necessarily mad at Desdemona for marrying Othello. Although this might have made him a little upset he got over that very quick, but what made him really mad was that Desdemona married Othello secretly behind his back without his approval. Basically Barbantio felt betrayed by his own daughter. This made Barbantio feel that he wasnâ€™t able to do his part as a father, and play that major role in his daughterâ€™s life anymore. Since Othello is now Desdemonaâ€™s new husband it is his responsibility to take over those important roles. Barbantio would feel this way regardless of who his daughter married. Understandingly and respectively enough Barbantio knows that Desdemona loves Othello, and that Othello loves Desdemona just as much as he loves his daughter. In the end, Barbantio easily accepts the marriage. If the racial issue was the initial root of all evil here he would not have accepted the marriage as easily. In his acceptance to the marriage he joins the hands of Othello and Desdemona and gives them his blessings. â€œI here do give thee that with all my heart which, but thou hast already, with all my heart I would keep from thee for your sake, Jewel, I am glad at soul I have no other child, for thy escape would teach me tyranny, to hang clogs on them.â€ (Shakespeare, 31)
As for Roderigo, his main conflict is the simple fact that Desdemona has married a man whom is not himself, as he would rather love to have it. Although Iago is supposed to be a friend if Othelloâ€™s he sides with Roderigo and secretly is against Othello. Iago made a racial comment early on in the play regarding Othelloâ€™s race to Barbantio about Desdemonaâ€™s marriage, but it seems as though that Iago only used this comment to try and further anger Barbantio. â€œEven now, now, very now, an old black ram is tupping your white ewe.â€ (Shakespeare, 17) Roderigo like Barbantio would have been just as upset as he is now if Desdemona had married a man of her own race, class, and age, as opposed to marrying Othello.
In â€œThe Triumph of the Willâ€ by William Cain, James states some points and examples that lead him to believe, just as I believe that race is not the dominant conflict in the play. â€œJames insists that Othelloâ€™s â€œcolour,â€ his â€œrace,â€ is not a significant issue: I say with the fullest confidence that you could strike out every single reference to his black skin and the play would be essentially the same.â€ (Cain, 269) James believes that if Shakespeare was to replace Othello in the play with a white man, the play would most likely end the exact same way. Although Othello makes some crucial comments towards himself for being black, and much older than Desdemona, itâ€™s apparent that he being black is not the initial problem. The problem would actually be that Desdemona loves Othello just as much as he loves her in return, and this infuriates Roderigo.
In conclusion, I feel that the initial conflict in the entire play is that Desdemona is in love with a man other than Roderigo, and this leads to most of the drama in the play. Her being in love with Othello, and him being black is not the main conflict of the play, although others may take it to be the initial conflict. As I have stated earlier in the paper James and I both agree that the play would end essentially the same, whether or not Othello was black or white.
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