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Fear of Sin

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  1. Introduction
  2. The fear of sin
    1. Relinquishing the rights to Heaven
    2. The undesirable human behaviors and desires
  3. This Christian conviction that sin resides within the innate savageness
    1. Missionaries and the calling of Jesus Christ
    2. Othello: As Venetian as the other characters
  4. The adaption of Othelo into society
  5. The authority of his family
  6. Carnal sins derived from the innate needs of the savage
  7. Sexual intercourse: The idea that sinful thinking parallels sinful action
  8. The women in Stephen's life
  9. Stephen's repentance
  10. Conclusion
  11. Works cited

(King James Bible, Psalms 34:1)
With patriarchal systems prevalent in most societies, masculinity is often exalted as a source of universal power. Critics, often focused on the issues of political correctness and moral integrity in such sexist assumptions, never object to the actual existence of beliefs in male dominance. But the strength of men born into these earthly patriarchies is meaningless before God, reduced to the weakness inherent to any subordinate group. Just as Eve was formed of Adam's rib, so did ?the Lord God [form] man of the dust of the ground, and [breathe] into his nostrils the breath of life; and man became a living soul? (King James Bible, Gen. 2.7). Men are entitled to the control of the carnal bodies of women but are not themselves in control of their eternal souls. Women, taught to follow since birth, fulfill their Christian roles naturally; Mary is idealized throughout the religion for her acquiescence and the literal contentment she feels when obeying the formative power of God (Podles 36). However, men can only be forced into obedience, feminized by their forfeiture of leadership and autonomy. They can only be controlled through fear.

[...] But still he is convicted of the crime, the sin of sloth. He learns his greatest lesson at this point: at all costs, he must not sin. The punishment at the hand of the prefect is only an earthly representation of the punishment he will receive at the hand of God on the day of his judgment as a sinner. He must never be this sinner. The accident along the cinderpath that resulted in the pair of broken glasses, the accident that resulted in his punishment as a ?little schemer,? as a sinner consumed by sloth and idleness, must never be repeated (50). [...]

[...] He fears the sin that results from such wasteful acts, knowing that the body exists only to provide life for the Christian soul and mind, and knowing also that aggression hinders the development of his relationship with God. His poetry, his intellect, and the calmness with which he spends his time in thought and reflection are the true paths to salvation, and his weakened body, cleansed of masculine inclinations, is never a source of disappointment when he remembers the power of his Christian soul. [...]

[...] Othello, a slave freed into Venetian society who owes his respected role to his newfound Christianity, embodies the image of a savage, neutered by his conversion, taught to fear the animal inside as the source of sin. Based on conversation and action alone, Othello appears as Venetian as the other characters. His Muslim origins are only discovered through the comments of Roderigo and Iago, addressing him as old black in constant reference to color of his Moorish skin (Shakespeare I.i.88). [...]

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