Othello - Historical Context

  • Created by: tegdavis
  • Created on: 13-09-17 20:11

Othello - Historical Context Notes

  • When Othello was written the English were becoming more and more aware of the existence of other races in the world besides themselves
  • As Loomba explains in 'Othello and the radical question' (1998), Venice was seen by Londoners as a cosmopolitan society and a place for female devience. It was viewed as both an intreguing and dangerous society.
  • Voyages to the New World during Elizabeth's reign had brought them into contact with native Americans, some of whom had been brought back to England to learn English so they could act as interpreters.
  • For Elizabethans pale skin was the epitome of  beauty - and therefore dark skin ranked below it.
  • The term "black" was used in a variety of texts to stand for sin, filth, ugliness,  evil, the Devil. To label dark-skinned people "black," therefore, brought a great  deal of cultural baggage with it.
  • Moors (North Africans) tended to have lighter skin than natives of sub-Saharan  Africa; Elizabethans sometimes recognized this by calling the latter "Black  Moors." But in general they tended to lump anyone whose


No comments have yet been made