In Shakespeare's Othello, how does racism affect the relationship that Othello has with Desdemona, Roderigo, and Iago?
Racism very much affects the way Othello interacts with all the characters in the play. The language used by the other characters makes this very clear—the racial epithets Iago applies to Othello ("the thick lips," for example) all form part of Iago's hatred toward him. Iago doesn't hate Othello just because of his race—he says he hates Othello because he believes Othello has slept with his wife; he also hates him for passing Iago over for promotion. However, race clearly plays a part; there is a suggestion that Iago dislikes having a black man superior to him. Note how he describes Othello to Brabantio, Desdemona's father: "an old black ram is tupping your white ewe." He knows this will outrage Brabantio far more than if Othello had been a white man, and is an example of animalistic language being applied to Othello.
Desdemona herself does not seem to judge Othello for his skin color at all—on the contrary, she is attracted to him because he is so different...
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