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Iago's victory over Othello

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CSW COLLEGE

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  1. Some signs of self-doubt
  2. Othello's anxiety over his relationship to Desdmona
  3. English xenophobia under Elizabeth
  4. Iago giving voice to the audience's racist tendencies
  5. Othello, the black monster painted by Iago

There is no question that, like any tragically flawed hero, Othello is complicit in his own undoing. However, the nature of his character flaw is somewhat unusual in Shakespearean tragedy in that it is a flaw which the entire audience is tricked into sharing. Shakespeare takes pains to make the opening scenes of the play such that the audience is coaxed out of their most base racist feelings: Iago, the villain, gives voice to Elizabethan racism in rather vulgar language, while Othello, the hero, comes off as far more likeable and honorable despite his blackness.

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