Othello is a play written in the 19th-Century, but its central ideas are still very relevant to today’s audience. People in the modern world can learn very many things from Shakespeare’s ideas. The play talks about racism, jealousy, war, and love. All these elements are very common in today’s society.
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Many countries still have cases of racism target at marginalized groups of people, while others experience civil wars among their populations. Worse still, many other countries are in fierce battles with other nations. Jealousy and love are also very common habits in every society. Therefore, despite the temporal difference, Othello is still very relevant to today’s audience and this paper proves this significance.
The paper demonstrates the relevance of Othello to the contemporary audience by highlighting the existence of the major issues Shakespeare addresses in this play. Therefore, today’s audience will benefit from Othello since it reminds them of the evils they commit, especially when dealing with other people.
Racism exists today as much as it existed in the 19th–Century. Many people isolate others just because of their different colors. In South Africa, for example, the white government denied the blacks fundamental rights that other citizens enjoyed. Worse still, there have been cases where football fans have thrown bananas at black players, implying that there is no difference between them and monkeys. Almost similar cases happen in Othello.
Notably, Iago and Roderigo hate Othello because of his complexion. They refer to him using racially discriminative names such as “the Moor” (Shakespeare Act I line 39) and “an old black ram” (92). Therefore, just as Shakespeare wanted to enlighten his audience about the dangers of racism, today’s audience can also benefit from this knowledge by reading or watching the play.
The play can also help eradicate Jealousy from today’s audience. The society has both people with health behaviors and those with severe practices. However, none of them can be exclusively good or bad. Therefore, society must have people who are jealous of their neighbors’ or friends’ achievements. In Othello, Jealousy is the overriding theme. Almost all the characters feel jealous of others at one point in the story.
For example, Roderigo is jealous of Othello because the woman he loves, Desdemona, is in love with Othello. He hires Iago to do everything possible to make her stop loving Othello and fall in love with Roderigo. Iago comes up with a plan to divide Othello, his wife and Cassio.
The story he concocts makes Othello epileptic, a situation that makes Iago refer to him as not suitable for his job (Shakespeare Act 4 scene 1). Jealous also makes Othello kill Desdemona only to realize later that Iago had just made up the story. Therefore, today’s audience will learn that jealousy is dangerous.
The play can also teach today’s audience to stop being impulsive in making decisions. Often, people make impulsive decisions due to obsessions with some things in life. Such decisions mostly end up causing regrets rather than the desired expectations. In the play, many characters make impulsive decisions (that end up tragically) to satisfy their selfish intentions.
For example, Roderigo hires Iago to do all he can to help him have Desdemona without thinking about what might happen in case they fail: “That thou, Iago, who hast had my purse” (Shakespeare Act I line 2). Othello also makes an impulsive decision when he kills his wife on mere suspicion. He later regrets killing her when he realizes that she was not an infidel. Hence, today’s audience will learn to be patient and make a keen analysis of situations before making decisions.
In summary, the themes in Othello are very relevant to today’s audience. Shakespeare addresses racism, jealousy, consequences of impulsive decisions, war, and love. All these issues are common in the contemporary world. This work has explored possible lessons today’s audience can learn from the jealous, impulsiveness, and racism among Shakespeare’s characters.
Shakespeare, William n.d.. Othello, the Moore of Venice n.d. Web.