The Shakespeare Conference: SHK 11.0201 Monday, 31 January 2000.
Date: Monday, 31 Jan 2000 01:17:28 -0800 (PST)
Subject: Shakespeare's Thought
I am sorry to have lost the details of the posting, but somebody on the
List wondered a few days ago "Why Othello would have married Desdemona.
It seems that he would have married someone who fit into his closed
system", which has been making me feel rather uncomfortable. Is it right
to wonder why Othello should marry or fall in love with someone outside
his "system"? Isn't that really tantamount to asking why didn't he
choose somebody "of his own kind", i.e. non-white and non-western? Isn't
it (unconsciously perhaps) succumbing to common racial prejudice? Would
one ask why didn't Romeo choose one of his own (Montague) kind and
Cleopatra one of her Egyptian compatriots? Isn't Shakespeare, in fact,
in those three great love tragedies deliberately addressing and
provoking those common prejudices that appear in the form of feudal,
cultural or racial narrow-mindedness? It seems to me wondering why such
"mixed" matches take place may be more of an indication of a closed
system than the one that Othello is presumed to belong to. Surely it is
missing the whole point of Shakespeare and surely here we have an
example of how a closed mind will not be able to follow Shakespeare's
truly open, humanist mind.