Should Othello be played by a black or white actor

Essay by EssaySwap ContributorHigh School, 11th grade February 2008

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Does it matter? The very fact, that Shakespeare made Othello's character black, was what made the play interesting and gave it its invariable twists. If Othello had of been created as a white character, the story would not of become what it did. It would have been fine for Desdemona to get married to him, because back then, it was seen as incredibly low, and degrading for a white woman to be with a black man. When Brabantio discovered that Othello and his daughter Desdemona were together, he refused to accept it, and felt that his whole family had been shamed, because of the way his daughter was behaving.

On the first of November 1604, when Othello underwent its first performance, at the Blackfriars Theatre in London, Shakespeare was aware of his audience's potential feelings and prejudices, which questions the underlying question of racism within Othello and whether the play was created to reinforce these prejudices, or to explore them with an open mind.

From the beginning of the play it is made very clear that Othello is an outcast by the fact that he is referred to as "he", "The Moor", or his "Moorship", by Roderigo, Brabantio and Iago, the three principle racists in the play. They find it very hard to see that in fact, despite his blackness, and the dominant image he portrays, there is a man behind it all. The quote by Roderigo, when informing Brabantio of Desdemona's marriage to Othello "An old black ram is 'tupping' your white ewe", cements the fact that they think of Othello as a beast, and will decide their opinion of him, purely on skin colour. In my own view of the play, it seems that Shakespeare sought to challenge the stereo-typical views concerning black people which were...