When it comes to race in Shakespeare’s plays, Othello is often compared to The Tempest. Othello is a play about a black man who is in a relationship with a white woman, and eventually ends up killing her. The Tempest, on the other hand, is about a white man who is stranded on an island with a group of black people, and eventually becomes the ruler of the island.
Some people argue that Othello is a play about racism, while others argue that it’s actually a play about jealousy. The Tempest has been interpreted in many different ways, but most people agree that it’s about forgiveness and redemption.
So which play is really about race? Othello or The Tempest? It’s hard to say, since both plays are so complex. However, Othello does seem to be more focused on race and racism, while The Tempest is more focused on forgiveness and redemption.
Shakespeare’s work covers a wide range of themes. He explores a variety of social, political, and cultural issues in his plays. He has the ability to highlight the many aspects of these various problems by adopting the viewpoints of his many characters. On one hand, he appears to foreground several progressive ideas in some of his works, but on the other hand he appears to be an integral element of the majority viewpoint in others. How are we going to bridge this gap?
One way to approach this question is to look at Shakespeare’s treatment of race. Othello, one of Shakespeare’s most famous tragedies, and The Tempest, a play which is often seen as more reconciliatory in its attitude towards race, provide an interesting lens through which to view this discrepancy. Othello is set in Venice and revolves around the relationship between Othello, a black general in the Venetian army, and Desdemona, his white wife.
Othello starts out as a powerful figure but ends up being destroyed by his insecurity and jealousy. The main source of Othello’s insecurity is Iago, Othello’s trusted lieutenant who hates Othello for promoting Cassio, a young and relatively inexperienced military officer, over him. Iago starts to poison Othello’s mind against Desdemona by suggesting that she is having an affair with Cassio. Othello eventually believes Iago and kills Desdemona.
The Tempest is set on a remote island and revolves around the relationship between Prospero, the exiled Duke of Milan, and his daughter Miranda. Caliban, a native of the island who was originally enslaved by Prospero’s brother Antonio, also features prominently in the play. Prospero uses his magical powers to control the elements and to bring about the shipwreck of Alonso, the King of Naples, his brother Sebastian, Antonio and all their followers.
In two of his plays, Othello and The Tempest, Shakespeare explores the spectrum’s opposing views on race. Othello, written in 1602-1604, depicts Othello, the protagonist, as a loyal, brave and valiant general of the Venetian army. He is a committed servant of the state who is held in high regard for his virtues of fidelity, innocence, valor. This was a highly provocative depiction of a black individual at Shakespeare’s time. This play generated considerable debate.
Othello was not only a black man, but also an outsider to Venice. The white Venetians were very suspicious of him and there was a lot of prejudice against him. Othello’s race is a significant aspect of the play as it leads to his eventual downfall.
The Tempest, written in 1610-1611, on the other hand, shows Prospero, the character, as a powerful sorcerer who has been exiled from his own kingdom. In this play, race does not seem to be an issue at all. The characters are all different colours and nationalities but there is no discrimination shown against anyone. This is likely because Prospero is in control and he can protect those he wants to protect. This play is not as controversial as Othello and it seems that Shakespeare is trying to say that race does not matter, as long as everyone follows the rules.
Both Othello and The Tempest are significant in terms of the way that race is portrayed in them. Othello shows the negative effects of racism while The Tempest shows a world where race does not matter. Othello is a tragedy while The Tempest is a comedy. This shows that Shakespeare was exploring different aspects of the issue of race in his plays. Othello is a very dark play while The Tempest is more light-hearted.
This may be because Othello deals with a very serious issue while The Tempest is more about forgiveness and second chances. Othello is a play about jealousy and anger while The Tempest is a play about magic and forgiveness. Othello is a play about the dangers of racism while The Tempest is a play about the power of magic. Othello is a play about the darkness of human nature while The Tempest is a play about the possibility of redemption.
So much so that, in many instances, Othello was performed by white men rather than black people. Such was the prevailing view among 19th-century white society. The racial preconceptions were deep and Shakespeare was given some credit for Othello, which portrayed a black man as a tragic hero rather than a villain (which was generally the case during the time). Caliban in The Tempest (written in 1611) is an example of all of Shakespeare’s bad orientalist clichés.
He is savage, bestial and lustful. Prospero, the white sorcerer, controls him through magical bindings and whilst Caliban represents everything that European audiences feared and despised about the East, he is also comic and pathetic in his own way.
Othello is a play about race, specifically the intersection of white and black races. It was written during a time when there was a lot of social unrest surrounding these issues. Othello is a black man who is married to a white woman, which would have been considered taboo at the time. The play addresses the fear that white people had of black people and the anger that black people had towards white people.
The Tempest is also a play about race, but it is more focused on the relationship between white people and brown people. The play takes place on an island that is inhabited by brown people, who are considered to be primitive and savage. The white people in the play are able to control the brown people through their use of magic. The Tempest deals with the fear that white people had of brown people and the power that they perceived themselves to have over them.