Elizabethan Age and Othello
Consider how Shakespeare’s styles of bias and mayhem versus order were gotten by his modern audience. How does Geoffrey Sax’s production continue to discover importance in these issues for the modern-day audience? Othello is a play of catastrophe; that analyzes the darker elements of human presence, and forces us as audience to ponder what it is to be human. Shakespeare advantages and challenges the Elizabethan attitudes and worths towards the bias of race and gender while also presenting his contextual theme of turmoil versus order.
These worths go beyond the context of both modern-day and modern audiences and it is through the BBC adjustment by Geoffrey Sax that modern-day audiences are able to engage with significance of these issues. Othello is a story of black and white, or perhaps more so black versus white. Shakespeare represents this racial battle on a fascinating level, as a battle of good versus wicked which is always seen in black versus white. It is within the character and interactions of Othello that, Shakespeare opportunities and challenges the idea of the prejudice of bigotry.
It can quickly been seen that in Elizabethan times there would be no-one who would look positively on a “black” guy yet Shakespeare has actually positioned him in one of the greatest positions as the general of the Venetian army in Cyprus. Othello is a man of confidence, nobility and rank yet he is continuously inferior since of his colour as can be translucented Iago who refers continuously to him as “The Moor” and even states him of one with the devil;” When devils will the blackest sins put on”( Act 2 Scene 3, Line 341).
This is most likely to represent the attitudes of a good deal of individuals at the time the play was composed as even the Queen of England was racist as at one point she revealed her discontent at the variety of ‘Negars and blackamoors which are crept into the realm’. Yet it is through Othello’s character that Shakespeare is able to challenge the stereotypical ideology of ‘The Moor’ by making him an Elizabethan hero. From the beginning of the play, Othello is portrayed as a true hero. Even Iago admits continuously that Othello is “of a constant, loving, honorable nature” (Act 2 Scene 1 Line 270) despite his hatred.
He is a great basic and a terrific male. Like any Elizabethan hero; he is flawed; his nobility and sincerity allows Iago to utilize his deceitful ways. Whereas a black person would normally be utilized in Elizabethan literature to represent the darkness, Iago’s outright evil takes on that role. Though a male of African or other wise indigenous heritage is generally represented in Elizabethan literature in an unfavorable light it remains in Othello that enables Shakespeare to make this “Moor” to be valued by Elizabethan audiences.
The bias of racial discrimination is still pertinent within modern-day society as it is still a concern of considerable concern. Within Geoffrey Sax’s BBC production we the contemporary audience are able to engage with how these concerns are still a huge part of our society, especially the contextual significance of white and black audiences engaging with this production. This can be seen with Othello’s promotion which rather than being of personal significance is of political gain for his superiors.
In addition to the bias of racism, the play also shows to some degrees of sexism. The play is also a study of gender, the methods by which Shakespeare, Shakespeare’s culture, and our culture specify men and women. There are only 3 females in the play and every one is bound up in a relationship with a guy and at the end of the play just one of the females endures. The word ‘gender’ explains those physical, biological, behavioural, verbal, textual, mythic and power vibrant cues that signify to others in the society, particularly the society of the Elizabethans.
Constantly throughout the play, especially Act 2 Scene 1, Line 108-112; “Begin, begin! You are images out of the door, Bells in your parlors, wildcats in your kitchens, devils being, offended, gamers in your housewifery, and homemakers in your beds”. Although a joke, Iago’s speech represents a kind of skepticism in all women. Moreover Brabantio reminds Othello that Desdemona may be unfaithful to him. These kinds of perceptions make women really susceptible to the impulses of men.
To Shakespeare contemporary audience this would have been the accepted mindset, and would have been a respected dominant thinking that the Elizabethan patriarchal society. A stereotypical view regards women as the psychological, weak and submissive sex, resulting in their removal from positions of high power. Ladies were seen as things, to be used or manipulated, a view supported through Iago’s line: “Want to your house, your daughters, and your bags”, as he compares women to simple belongings.
On the other hand, the male was traditionally viewed as the more powerful, better, and more trustworthy of the sexes, who ought to be associated with the processes of leadership and preparation, as shown by Lodovico’s appreciation of Othello: “the worthy Moor, whom our full Senate call all-in-all-sufficient”. Hence, a Feminist reading of Othello takes a look at how ladies are economically, socially, politically and mentally oppressed in a Patriarchal society. Base usage of animal images by Iago demonstrates the common stance on females: “wild-cats in your kitchen areas … players in your housewifery, and homemakers in your beds. The submissive nature anticipated of women can be valued through the subservient and considerate way with which Desdemona conducts herself in the court house: “Most gracious duke, to my unfolding lend your prosperous ear.” As an outcome, Desdemona is viewed as a pure, innocent and faithful being, as evidenced through personification: “A maiden never ever bold; of spirit so still and quiet, that her motion blush ‘d at herself”. Such obedience is likewise demonstrated in Desdemona’s undying loyalty to Othello, even on her dead bed: “A guiltless death I pass away! and “Commend me to my kind lord.” Nevertheless, a more independent side of females exists in the Sax movie, through the portrayal of females as more feisty and strong-willed, yet still reduced by the trappings of their patriarchal society. Desdemona is depicted by a brunette, who promotes a more sensuous, sexual and tough aura. This can be clearly determined in the developing scenes of the movie, where she moves confidently and quickly through the deserted streets of Venice, wrapped in a veil, to avoid prying eyes, symbolic of the hold society has upon her.
Likewise, the open passion displayed in between Desdemona and Othello, in numerous and various mis-en-scenes of intimacy, juxtaposes the standard reading of the play, where females were seen as inferior and dominated by males, instead of passionate and sexually acquainted. Due to the passionate, independent and strong-minded characterisation of females, as portrayed by the Geoffrey Sax movie variation of Othello, an intense feeling of unease is produced by the futile death of these innocent, however loyal women. As Othello begins to abandon reason and language, turmoil takes control of.
His world starts to be ruled by chaotic emotions and extremely shady accusations, with order pushed to one side. This turmoil hurries him into disaster, and once Othello has sunk into it, he is not able to stop his fate from taking him over. Shakespeare’s structural choice of setting is really considerable within the play, as Venice and Cyprus function as a metaphor for order and chaos with Venice representing the order, Christian faith, culture and civilisation while Cyprus is an island that represents that of conflict, war, seclusion and political instability. This strategy is again symbolic as it is likewise a metaphorical metaphor for
Othello’s character, as he comes down into madness the setting is a shift from the logical, calm and positive General to the mad, jealousy enthusiast of Cyprus. Essential is the contrast in between Othello’s language as he falls into a hypnotic trance, and Othello’s language in any previous part of the play, including Act III. He speaks in single, detached words'”handkerchief’confession’scarf,” or “Noses, ears, and lips”‘that totally contradict his capability to speak coherently and elegantly, as Othello has shown, especially in Act I with Brabantio.
The absence of connection in his language parallels his descent into psychological and logical turmoil; as he ends up being more upset, without a true cause, he falls farther and farther from himself, and the order which normally rules him. Once again, the style of order vs. chaos enters play. In the context of the Elizabethan period, power was of extreme social and cultural significance as it was in direct association to the status and structure of society. Elizabethan world view played a vital part in Shakespeare’s text, and the Elizabethan people credited it’s involvement in his plays.