Stereotype in layman’s term is often defined as predictable characters and situations or something that is not authentic, or something that is already experienced. In Shakespeare literature, stereotyping is sometimes inevitable. Some of his works, its themes and characters embody the social predicaments and situations during the time he created the masterpiece. In Othello’s case, the issue of race and religion and the revelation of the dark side of human nature is revealed and discussed through the characters.
Themes and conflicts like jealousy, race, power, religious tensions, obsession and marriage illustrated in Othello are still important and experienced today. The characters in love, the characters in extreme emotions like obsession and jealousy and the characters who lose and win portray same emotions in reality and some other literature. The common human experience experienced by the characters of Othello, Desdemona and Iago makes this literature stereotype. However what makes stereotyping in Shakespeare’s literature unique and sophisticated is the creative structure of his stories and plays.
The play reflects that race and culture divides the world and the people which, in effect, influence human responses to love and emotions. Othello, who is the main character in the story, is a black man who fell in love with a white woman, Desdemona. When Iago gave false accusations against Desdemona, Othello responded with rage, revealing his awareness that his newfound love with Desdemona was all but an illusion. Othello is obviously insecure about his identity as a black man which motivated his hatred and eventually his actions.
Othello’s general conclusion that a white woman and a black man are unfit to become lovers motivated his demonic tendencies. This reflects that the controversial issues about racism manipulate our perspective towards love and relationship, which is often destructive. Like any other human beings when faced with inequality, Othello approached his emotions unwisely. Othello’s reaction to his feelings contaminated his sense of morality and spirituality just like how other people is being contaminated by their extreme emotions. Jealousy and envy motivate evilness and passion that in the long run will create human suffering and tragedy.
People often hear that human beings are naturally selfish. In love, this selfishness is often revealed. However, those people who are victims of jealousy, especially the ones who are loved, will always experience passive suffering. Love affects in this case, the way a lover responds to love will greatly affect the beloved. Love is a shared communion. The lover’s choices will affect the beloved’s fate. Othello’s choices resulted to Desdemona’s death. Here Shakespeare demonstrates the defensive nature and stereotypical image of black people
If Othello denied inferiority and race, Iago gave importance to power and race and status. This selfish need and motivation of Iago resulted to jealousy and which eventually led to destruction. Just like any other negative emotions, Shakespeare gave a predictable outcome: selfishness and jealousy leads to destruction. Stereotyping in character is probably used by Shakespeare to demonstrate the realities of human life and the realities of human nature. However the sophistication and language of his literature revealed his Shakespeare’s innate talent, artistry and creativity.
Courtney from Study Moose
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