Othello The Devil Of Venice Essay

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Othello, the devil of Venice (non-white people as a threat) The origin of Christians’ views on race and skin colour, and subsequent justifications of racism and slavery, can be found in the Book of Genesis. By means of gross misinterpretation or, more likely, a deliberate misreading, the story of Ham and his transgression has since been used against all non-white people. Although the actual verse “Cursed be Canaan; a servant of servants shall he be unto his brethren” never mentions the colour of the skin, it did serve as a starting point on basis of which religious authorities wove a delicate net of false analogies and used them to justify their prejudices. As David M. Goldenberg explains, “In the Bible Ham is the father of four sons:…show more content…
A close proximity of the Republic of Venice to the borders of Oriental countries, and its reputation as a cosmopolitan trade centre meant that the racial variety, not present in other European countries, was at its peak in Venice. A common term used for non-European, non-white people was “moor” . Moors in Venice, and Europe, were perceived with suspiciousness on account of both skin colour and religion; being of Arabic origin and Islamic faith, they were seen as a potential threat to Christian Europe. Shakespeare’s Othello attacks the prejudices of Renaissance Europe by introducing a noble Moor and positing him against a conniving Christian; a noble Moorish general making “the startling impact on Shakespeare's audience” generally accustomed to seeing such characters portrayed as villains. The very first scene of the play introduces Othello, but not in person; the image of him received is the image Iago constructs for the audience – Othello as seen by Iago, the Moor as seen by the Christian. His race is blatantly brought forth when Iago informs Brabantio, the senator, of his daughter’s elopement with Othello. “Even now, now, very now, an old black ram is tupping your white ewe. Arise, arise; Awake the

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