What are the social implications shown in the play Othello?

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coachingcorner | High School Teacher | (Level 1) Senior Educator

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In the play 'Othello' by William Shakespeare, the author presents several issues that have social implications. There is racial inequality, gender inequality as well as workplace and family dynamics. There is a possibility that however high a black general like Othello rises in the ranks, and however much respect he gains this will always be for military courage and skill in executing and planning battles and never for anything else such as gentlemanly status or refined learning. If he suffered these snubs in his early life, they will always be there simmering underneath, waiting to trip him up through low self-esteem and insecurity - as they do later, through Iago's exploitation. The social implications of this is that discrimination through gender or color needs addressing in the early years of education in society.

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Ashley Kannan | Middle School Teacher | (Level 3) Distinguished Educator

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One implication of the play is in the idea that people of color will always be at a disadvantage in trying to acquire the role of power brokers.  It is subtle but interesting to note that Othello's glory as an officer was not able to be translated as a political ruler.  He is able to serve at the insider's request and behest, and is always going to be perceived as secondary, an outsider no matter what.  Part of his preoccupation with how others see him, the very root at what Iago places his attack on him, is fed by the notion that he is different and being "different" requires him to be more aware of the implications of race and social perception.

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