Race and Patriarchy in Othello

Marjorie St. Rose

Abstract


This paper argues that both patriarchy and racism shape the dynamics of Othello. Othello's blackness affects his behaviour toward his wife as well as his attitude to himself. Desdemona's pariah status as a result of marrying a black man partially accounts for her murder. On the other hand, Othello, as oppressed Other, is also, in his role as a male within the patriarchal tradition, the oppressor. Othello's need to establish and maintain hegemony over his wife makes his behaviour no different from that of other men operating in the framework of patriarchy. Ultimately, Othello is as much a man as he is a black man.

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DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.15362/ijbs.v11i0.44

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