How is the theme of prejudice presented in the play?

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Ashley Kannan eNotes educator| Certified Educator

The theme of prejudice is presented in a couple of different ways in the play.  Racial prejudice is a large part of Othello's depiction.  It is used as a way for Iago to slight Othello both in public to others and as a way that he is able to create a sense of self- doubt in the Moor, himself.  The idea of prejudice as being a division constructed on race and racial identity is something that is of vital importance in terms of Iago being successful in creating a sense of doubt and insecurity within Othello.  In a larger sense, prejudice is present in different forms.  There is a the social prejudice that is present in Othello being a warrior, a soldier, trying to assimilate in a world of landed wealth and prestige in Venetian society.  There is prejudice here as an outsider seeks to establish some level of inclusion in a setting where there is exclusion present.  Prejudice is also present in the aspersions that Othello casts on Desdemona's fidelity.  In this case, prejudice is used to create division between Othello and his wife.  Much of this prejudice was advanced by Iago and enhanced by Othello, prejudicial judgments that enabled Othello to become more destabilized and further estranged from any sense of unity and cohesiveness with another.  In these examples, prejudice is shown to create alienation and division, resulting in a sense of being isolated from a larger and more collective element.