Inter-Racial Marriages Essay Examples & Outline

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Inter-Racial Marriage

William Shakespeare is a prominent English play writer and poet. His works have elaborate themes of love, death and betrayal. These themes featured in the famous play Othello. In this play, the main theme that surfaces is racism. This paper will focus on the play and the portrayal of racism as the main theme. Moor in the play is the Hero, and he is the first black to feature in English Literature (Adler 249). Othello and Desdemona are two protagonists in the play.

They make the play interesting to read because of their roles. The entire plot of the play revolves around Othello, Roderigo and Desdemona. Othello the most innocent and pure character, but he is a subject of racism. Interracial marriage is a theme in the play as well as the aftermath of elopement of Othello and Desdemona (Orkin, Delbanco and Alan 178-180). An in-depth analysis of the conflicts resulting from racism provided in the entire play comes from defined scenes.

Despite Othello’s acquisition of a position in the army, Roderigo, Iago and Barbinito despise him (Shakespeare 176-182). Othello and Desdemona are not waivered despite sharp criticism of their marriage. Othello becomes the puppet of Iago and Roderigo because of his colour. The colour disparity affects his relationship with Desdemona.


Roderigo uses the racial slur ‘Thick Lips’ in reference to Othello. This disgraces Othello and the rest of humanity who reign from black minority. The plans by Roderigo and Iago to destroy the relationship of Othello and Dedemona finally succeed. Othello is insecure in his relationship, and there is a common fear that Desdemona might cheat on him. Barbanito believes that her daughter agreed to marry Othello because of trickery. Barbanito portrays Othello as a person not to be loved but despised (Adler 249). Othello’s racial background is the issue in this case and thus, he is the race factor in the Act. I being the audience would like to side with Othello who is the subject of racial injustice. His character encourages one to provide justification of racial injustice against the blacks.

Despite having an honorable position, Othello is considered low profile because of his skin color. People full of jealous take the love cultivated between Othello and Dedemona. As we approach the end of Act 5, racial prejudice can lead to decisions, which are heinous. White culture, on a different account, despises the marriage between a white and a non-white person. They are judged indifferently. This disparity is imminent in the society.

Othello is a brave soldier who faces discrimination. He feels insecure because of his racial background and age (Shakespeare 176-182). This makes him go out of balance and ends up killing Desdemona. Whites consider themselves superior where only their kind can love and marry them. Shakespeare proves this aspect in Othello Act a fact that has made authors like Doris Adler and Martin Orkin to concur.

In her writing, The Rhetoric of Black and White in Othello, Adler argues that Othello is black skinned who is metaphorically portrayed as a white. Desdemona, according to Adler calls Othello metaphorically white. Desdemona calls Othello fair and likewise he calls her ‘Black heart’. Adler argues that the meaning of Bianca which means ‘white’ and is called fair Bianca, which ironic since she plays the role of a whore. Iago is portrayed as ‘blackness of the devil’ at the end of the play.

The word black has featured eleven times in the entire play according to Adler. Iago tells Barbanito, Desdemona’s father that an old black person is in love with her daughter. Adler points out that the blackness of Othello has been contrasted with whiteness of Desdemona. In one, act “black” Othello is honoured, and in the acts 1 and 2, he is judged on racial accounts. The argument portrayed by Adler is that Shakespeare wanted the target audience to understand racism.

In his work, Martin Orkin, considers the attitudes towards races in England when Othello was written. He focuses on how Shakespeare defines the theme and concludes that the play opposed acts of racism. Orkin pays close attention to the hospitality Orthello received in South Africa. According to Orthello, there is a racist sentiment that is characterized by Iago, Rodriego and Barbanito. Iago not only show racial prejudice against Othello but also appoints Cassio for a post that Othello needed.

Barbanito portrays this racial injustice by attempting to send Othello to prison for bewitching his daughter. He defines Othello as a beast animal tupping on her daughter. Othello is aware of his skin color, but in this case a victim of circumstances (Shakespeare 176-182). People who are showing contempt and disgrace towards his skin color surround him. The relationship between Desdemona and Othello is shattered because of racial prejudice (Adler 249). Othello is a victim of this unruly treatment and their love life dismantled.

At some instance, Barbanito refers Othello as a foul thief. This comment illustrates the contempt of Desdemona’s father towards Othello. The push of Iago and Roderigo to destroy the relationship of Othello is based on the racial prejudice. The indifference on skin colour lead to their act of pushing for an end of their love. This led to the heinous act of killing Desdemona (Orkin, Delbanco and Alan 178-180). Shakespeare, in this play, portrays racial indifference, which is still experienced in the modern world. Shakespeare balances the character of Othello by giving him the role of a soldier as well as racial prejudice as his downside (Shakespeare 176-182). Racial prejudice masks the good qualities of Othello by subjecting him to racial indifference.

The commentary by Martin Orkin and Adler serves to supplement the theme of racism portrayed in the play. Racism is a major problem facing humanity. In the play, Shakespeare addresses this problem by creating the character Othello (Adler 249). In this case, Shakespeare uses the indifferences that emanate from interracial marriage. Interracial marriage is a subset theme in the whole topic of racism (Orkin, Delbanco and Alan 178-180). Shakespeare does a commendable job of illustrating this theme using Othello as the main character. Iago and Barbanito are against this marriage. Racism is a bad influence to the relationship and see its fall.  
    
 Works cited

Adler, Doris. “The Rhetoric of Black and White in Othello”. Shakespeare Quarterly: 25.2 (1974 Spring). pp 248-257
Orkin, Martin, Delbanco, Nicholas and Alan, Cheuse. “Othello and the ‘Plain Face’ of Racism Drama. New York, NY: McGraw-Hill, 2010. Print. “Shakespeare Quarterly 38.2 (Summer1987): 166-188.
Shakespeare, William. “Othello.” Literature: Craft & Voice. Volume 3: Boston: Pearson. 2012. Print.