A Study of Shakespeare's Dealing With Ethnicity In the Merchant of Venice and Othello |
This paper examines Shakespeare's dealing ofthe issue of Ethnicity in The Merchant of Venice and Othello. Race and ethnicity have been at the epicentreof many conflicts throughout history andare still a headache even in 21st century societies that boast of unprecedented technological advancement and sophisticated lifestyles. Shakespeare has been used as a touchstonein many literary communities --playwrights and poets have been measured againsthis writings and the academic diets of pupils and students alike in manycountries have always included a dish from the 'Chief Chef', Shakespeare. Thereis no doubt t hat his works entertained as well as educated many, hiscontemporaries as well as later generations across cultures but did thecurriculum content of his education always inculcate virtue? Wasn't theentertainment at the expense of certain individuals because of theirbackground? Through close reference to the plays The Merchant of Venice andOthello, this paper argues that the revered artist was racially intolerant and his writings may have influencedor helped to perpetuate racism and religious bigotry which wasevident in The Slave Trade, Colonialismand the persecution of Jews in Germany. Some of his works therefore not onlyentertain(ed) and instruct(ed) but also misentertain(ed) and misinstruct(ed).