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Brabantio protests against the marriage of his daughter, Desdemona to Othello claiming that Othello used other means-‘spells and medicines’ to win her daughter. However, Brabantio’s real reason for protests is racial discrimination against Othello-he is not contented with Othello’s skin color. He despises and accuses Othello of taking his daughter to his sooty bosom. He also believes that there is no way which a vile black man could have won the favor of his daughter, if it were not for foul charms and drugs or minerals. He also horrified by the fact that his grandchildren will be dark skinned. However, Brabantio’s color discrimination is inflamed by Iago, who uses various vulgar animal imageries to affront Othello. Iago for instance states that’…even now…an old black ram ... is tapping your white ewe…’. In fact, when Brabantio reluctantly reacts to Iago’s claims, Iago convinces him by comparing Othello to a horse’…you will have your daughter covered with a Barbary horse…’
Brabantio‘s problem with Othello’s skin color is also portrayed after Venetian council ruling. Even after Othello’s eloquent speech concerning his love for Brabantio’s daughter, Duke pardons Othello, Brabantio is still not convinced. When the Duke degrade Othello based on his race -apparently by mistake, they try to convince Brabantio that his ‘son in law is after all more fair than black’. However, Brabantio still reluctantly accepts their ruling. This implies that Brabantio believes that being black is inferior.
Europeans’ Attitude Of Towards Blacks during the Time of Shakespeare.
During Shakespeare’s time, the European rejected any individual from a different race and religion. Blacks, for instance, were perceived as ill mannered individuals, with inferior blood. Blacks were considered superstitious, heathen and fiery tempered. In the initial scenes of the play, Othello is referred to by different degrading names such as ‘old black ram.’, the ‘moor’, and’ thick lips’. Brabantio believed that a black man could not win the favor of his daughter, claiming that Othello must have used ‘fouled charms and drugs or minerals’. During the Venetian council ruling, Duke convinces Brabantio by stating that his son in law is more fair than black. This implies that the society (European) considered fairness to be more superior to blackness.
Europeans were also very biased to blacks. Due to his blackness, Othello’s relationship with various characters in the play, reveal certain biases that European had towards the black people. For instance, Roderigo refers to Othello by different terms such as a wheeling stranger, ‘gross clasps of lascivious Moor’, and ‘stranger with thick lips’. In addition, Iago evaluates Othello on the basis of racial biasness: he points sexuality and jealousy as the characteristic of the moors. Brabantio expresses various biases towards Othello claiming that Othello has used ‘fouled charms’ to convince his daughter.
Othello’s Deception by Iago
Othello is easily deceived by Iago despite the fact that he is a great general capable of reading the minds of his enemies. This is because Iago applies variety tactics, most of which Othello is oblivious about. He uses other characters such as Roderigo, Brabantio and other members of the upper class in most of his efforts to deceive Othello: he achieves this by changing the society’s attitude towards Othello by his different racist terminologies and words. As such, it becomes difficult for Othello to realize most of his deceptive moves. Othello’s trust to Iago also makes him to be easily deceived. Othello trust Iago so much to an extent that he orders him to accompany his wife to Cyprus.