English Othello Essay
A lack of identity and connections to family and society creates barriers that restrict an individual’s true sense of belonging. Barriers can consist of an inability to be accepted for who and what you are or where a society can deny you an ability to develop a sense of self. Both the play "Othello" by William Shakespeare (1603) and the film "The Giver" directed by Phillip Noyce (2014), explore the concept of belonging through the connections individuals create with society and its importance in establishing meaningful relationships.
Establishing strong and meaningful connections within a societal group assists in an individual deepening their understanding of themselves and solidifying their sense of belonging. Othello is introduced to the audience as one who does not belong in Venetician society. Lago uses a variety of derogatory terms, calling him “the Moor”, “thick lips” and the “Barbary horse”, demonstrating the oppression of Othello in society and the hatred and resentment Lago feels towards Othello. However, this is quickly contrasted by the Duke of Venice where he portrays Othello as being a “very compliant general” whose “services...shall out- tongue his complaints.” This shows that Othello, despite his original beliefs, is respected highly in society where his social status outweighs any negative attitudes he might possess. However, Othello’s underlying weakness was placing his trust in “his ancient” Iago. Othello’s insecurities also lead to the downfall of his nature, from being a noble respected figure, to one who is unable to trust others originating from fears of being accepted in society. The degradation of Othello’s securities can be seen at the beginning of the play, “Let him do his spite. My services which I have done the signiory shall out-tongue his complaints.” This demonstrates the sense of security he feels towards his contributions to society. It does not bother him when others slander him. However, the sense of security is completely contrasted with the Othello in the concluding stages of the play, “Soft you. A word or two before you go. I have done the state some service, and they know 't…….. Beat a Venetian and traduced the state, I took by the throat the circumcisèd dog, And smote him, thus.” The soliloquy demonstrates the attitude and self-belief of which Othello saw himself in society as being the “opposition” and “hated outsider.” Othello’s ethnicity and societal views towards him obstructed his ability to establish strong connections, severely affecting his sense of belonging within society.
Similarly, this idea of establishing strong and significant connections within society is seen in Noyce’s film ‘The Giver.’ The voice-over of Jonas, establishes the numerous rules of ‘The...