Othello Act 4/5 Question 10/27

My question is Shakespeare considered racist, or is a story like Othello a critique of the racism and prejudices of his time. We see the prejudice and obstacles Othello faces from white characters throughout the play because of his race, and we see him become manipulated and internalize the racism he faces from a societal standpoint and Iago, Brabantio, and other characters. It’s tragic watching Othello’s identity and mind be warped to the point where he is manipulated into agreeing racist sentiments, but again I can’t tell if this is a critique of the time periods racist thinking or if Shakespeare believed in that thinking. I never knew that women weren’t allowed on stage to act in plays and their parts were played by men until we discussed it in class. So, Shakespeare was a white man writing plays for a white crowd, to be acted out by white men. He never rejects the racist ideas and speech throughout the play as wrong, and in the final act we have this quote from Emilia after Othello kills Desdemona.

O, the more angel she, and you the blacker devil!


Emilia comes in with more racism and claims that Othello is the devil because he is black, and reinforces the ideas from white characters throughout the play that Othello is barbaric and violent because of his race. Othello is an honorable and strong character who falls from grace because of the manipulation and incessant racism of white characters, but again they are not pointed out to be wrong or rejected.

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