Othello is a black man who introduces himself and is mentioned in the play as a derogatory name like the Moor. This reference is a person of Arab descent who lives in North Africa, is of Muslim religion and has an uneducated, crude, rude and cruel background. In other words, a Moor is an unintelligible and barbaric person. But, this is where the mystery begins with this ugly word. Shakespeare expresses that this man is more than a Moor; he is an honest, noble and just Moor. This terminology can easily confuse your thoughts to determine whether or not racism is really present. But don’t get carried away by both because it is there or not.
First of all, I will say that racism immediately entered the play from the beginning. It started after Iago was passed over for promotion in the Venetian army by his superior, Othello. After this action Iago expressed to Roderigo how he hated him for his decision. This is where the fire was stoked and the blaze turned racist. Iago had no honest or just reason to hate Othello, so he first used Roderigo’s lust for Desdemona, who has just secretly become Othello’s beautiful Venetian wife. This news ignited anger within Roderigo, sparking the first in a series of racist comments made throughout the play. He said: “What a great fortune full lips owe.” (Act I, Scene I, Verse 66) Their full-lipped indication obviously tells me that there was something different between them and him whom they hated. You’d think it was something that was wrong and flawed.
Second, the two go to Desdemona’s father, Brabantio, that same night to notify him of the marriage that occurred behind his back. Upon waking him up and asking him if everyone was in his house, the two suggest that he does not know what is going on inside his house and his blood. Iago with the help of Roderigo gets Brabantio to panic saying things like “Your heart is broken, you have lost half your soul. Even now, now an old black ram is beating your white sheep.” (Act I, Scene I, Verse 87-89) For me this proclamation communicates to Brabantio that he has just lost his daughter and that Othello, the black ram, was taking advantage of her. Iago then introduces Othello as “the devil.” (Act I, Scene I, Verse 91) This would probably make any father think the worst of the man who took his daughter’s hand. “Your daughter and the Moor are now making the beast with two backs.” (Act I, Scene I, Verse 115-116) Iago’s quote surely conveyed an obvious message that he hated Othello for his personal political reasoning, but also and perhaps more strongly because of his ethnicity. He was clearly racist and was undoubtedly using his own personal racism to corrupt and manipulate the feelings of others.
Ultimately, Iago influenced different characters to act on their emotions by relying on their open love or hidden hatred for the honest and noble Moor Othello. He showed many faces like hatred, jealousy, and the superiority of the two was his racism for the type that many considered so noble. Anything to see him disappear, I think was the true and ultimate goal Iago had for Othello. She hated him just for existing, in his authority, in his position, in his country or even in his world. This hatred so strong that she pretended to love him seeing his ending in the place where he didn’t belong. The racism throughout this work conveys that at any cost it will try to consume everything around it, and no one is excluded when this hatred like racism takes its place in a life and tries to feed itself or spread and grow until everything and everything what it finds in its path is destroyed.
Shakespeare illustrates to the audience how a subject undergoes a metamorphosis to reveal something stronger and more dangerous that lurks in the dark and hidden areas of this society. This theme continues until the end of the play when, even after the bloodshed of some of the characters, Iago would still prefer to keep quiet rather than give a justification or even quell the curiosity of the very people who had been victims of his malicious acts and detestable. . (Act V, Scene 2, Verse 303)
In closing, I will say that this work has shown me how ingenious hatred can be and how it will grow and consume more than it feeds. It also shows how someone like a noble and honest Moor Othello could simply fall prey to an honest Iago falsely portrayed with a heart that survives from jealousy, hatred, and racism. Be careful who and what you think may well be the unknown battle of good against evil. Sometimes what you see is what you get and other times it may not appear black and white, but there is always the possibility that it will appear blood red.