Undeterred by the paternal wrath and widespread disapproval they are bound to incur, Othello and Desdemona act as if a black man from Africa and an upper-class white woman from Venice have every right to fall in love, marry and be left to live happily together.
They act, in other words, as if they were already free citizens of a truly civilized future, instead of prisoners of a time when racial prejudice and sexual inequality are so ingrained that even their heroic hearts are tainted by them.
As Iago sees it, a black African has had the gall to court and marry a white Venetian beauty as if he were the equal of a man of her class and colour.
And she has had the gall to prefer ‘a lascivious Moor’ (1.1.126) to her own kind and defiantly proclaim her love for this ‘erring barbarian’ (1.3.355-6) in public.
And it underscores the fact that Othello's proprietorial relationship with Desdemona as husband and wife is typical – that it’s extraordinary only in the fatal consequences it leads to in this particular case, not in its essential character.
Othello Critique Essay Essay On Memory Techniques
Othello's dread of cuckoldry and the misogyny that feeds it are perfectly in tune with the patriarchal culture of a city where his colour makes him feel like an alien, but where he’s entirely at home as a man.
Brabantio perceives at once that there’s much more at stake in this interracial union than the violation of his honour as Desdemona’s father.
If we turn a blind eye to this outrage, Brabantio argues in effect, we’re treating our inferiors as our equals, which means there’s nothing to stop the subhuman underclass or the heathen outcasts of society taking our place and having power over us.
The basic idea of the play is so well known that it’s easy to forget the startling boldness of Shakespeare’s decision to take Cinthio’s brief tale of a doomed mixed-race marriage and transform it into a heart-breaking tragedy.
In a country where few people outside London would ever have seen a black person, and centuries before the problems that fuel the tragedy became as ubiquitous and pressing as they are today, Shakespeare produced in The tragic sequence of events is triggered by the elopement of Othello and Desdemona.