Marxist reading of Othello

Who holds power at the beginning of the play?

What is the basis of that power?

Who is privileged and who is subordinated?

In what ways does Othello’s position create disruption in the traditional power structures?

What is the relationship between language and power?

One thought on “Marxist reading of Othello

  1. Who holds power at the beginning of the play?
    Othello holds power at the beginning of the play while he still speaks in iambic pentameter. As well as Othello Iago still holds power over the lesser-willed people like Rodrigo.

    What is the basis of that power?
    Othello is powerful because of his past where he won battles for his country; he also uses language to soothe potentially explosive situations. Iago also uses his language but to manipulate Rodrigo

    Who is privileged and who is subordinated?
    Rank in the military has no bearing over who is privileged or subordinated in the play because by the end of the play Iago has power over Othello despite his lower rank. Iago’s use of words to manipulate subordinates every other character in the play until the very end

    In what ways does Othello’s position create disruption in the traditional power structures?
    Black people in Elizabethan England were lower class but in the play Othello is put at the very top of the military and marries an upper class white girl. This makes Othello very upper class and disrupts certain characters in the play

    What is the relationship between language and power?
    At the beginning of the play Othello uses very figurative language and has a lot of power but as the play goes on and Iago’s manipulation starts to get Othello his language becomes more and more plain while he loses his power more and more.

    To what extent does the resolution of the tragedy involve the restoration of power to the privileged class?
    Othello dies at the end of the play that means the succession goes to Cassio who is a white upper class male. While Iago does not die in the play he is no longer taken as “honest Iago” and also has no power over language and subsequently other characters. Both Othello’s and Iago’s wives die leaving no widow to continue for them.

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