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Shakespeare Influence on Western Culture

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William Shakespeare is a English poet, playwright, and actor. He was born on April 26,1564 in Stratford as we believed but no one really knew. Shakespeare first record of being alive is when he got baptised. He died on April 23,1616 in Stratford-upon-Avon, United Kingdom at the age of fifty two and was buried in Holy Trinity Church. Shakespeare was married to Anne Hathaway. He had three children. He was the best selling fiction author. He sold at least four billion copies. Willam wrote thirty eight plays and one hundred fifty four sonnets. Shakespeare is known for many thing such as sonnets, words, and plays.

He has had some of the most inspirational acts. One of the plays that stood out was Othello because there was a black male playing the lead role. The story of Othello is also from an Italian tale written in 1565 by Giovanni Battista Giraldi Cinthio. It might not seem like a lot but back then it was very usual. The play took place in Venice, London. You would see some african american but very few.

People do not know the exact race of othello but he was known to be black. In the play he used the word “moor” which could infer to a lot such as Islamic Arabic or North America but in that period of time it was used to be implied to africans from other regions. George Abbott made distinctions black moors and black negros. Othello skin color was mentioned many times in the play, but Shakespeare described Europeans as being black. The word “moro” was also used in Gli Hecatommithi by Giovanni Battista Giraldi Cinthio (the original version of Othello). The story was about a “moorish” thinking his wife was unfaithful.

In today’s society men of color really do not want to play the role of Othello. They think that the role was meant for another race. The history on Othello states that the people do not really know the race of Othello. People assume he was black because of the darker shade than white people’s skin. Although he was “black” in the play he was well respected. He could only be respected because he was in the venetian army.

In Othello’s background it says he was an african prince and he was born in a higher class. Back then if you were born in royalty you would remain in royalty. In this case he left his homeland to went with Europeans because they guaranteed a richer lifestyle and he was promised freedom. When in got married to Desdemona, he were not as free as if he would have been a single man. He was still free to make his own decisions that would affect his life. The color of his skin did not make a difference in how he was treated and how things affected him. He still had a higher rank in society. In the play people were jealous of Othello because he earned respect and admiration.

Brabantio accuses Othello of kidnapping his daughter for status. People say it was not because of his race because Brabantio said “lov’d me; oft invited me” it showed that he do not discriminate. However, Othello starts to think they was discriminating against him because of his race. He says the Desdemona was cheating on him because of his skin tone. He believed that she wanted somebody that was the same race as her. He thinks she regrets her marriage with him and starts cheating on him.

In the play most characters use racial slurs to manipulate Othello’s race. Iago in the play really insulted Othello. He ruined some things for him and messed up his head. Lago would tell Othello things to make him do bad stuff because he did not like that fact that Othello was black and he had status. He is the one that made Othello think Desdemona was cheating on him. Which lead Othello to do some bad things like setting people. Lago got what he wanted because when Othello did some bad things he was in trouble.

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Lago in Othello was the most jealous one in the play. He used all kinds of racist slurs. The most he used them is when he woke up Barbantio to tell him about Desdemona. He used things like “ old black ram”. He told her that she was sleeping with a black man. This was bad new to Barbantio because he did not want mixed races having sex or being married. That mean that Barbantio was racist towards Othello because he did not want Othello with Desdemona because he was black.

Although Barbantio was racist towards Othello because he did not want his daughter to date him. He liked Othello he would always invite him to his house. Since he did not want Desdemona marrying Othello he thought she would never do it Barbantio thought she was drugged or under a spell because she gave Othello time. He thinks that women can be stolen and he sees his daughter as property. Barbantio fears fears about his daughter being in a interracial marriage makes the play about sex and race. That is how Othello written by Shakespeare has racism.

William Shakespeare also inspired the language english. He created a lot of words and some of the phrases we still use today. He words are written in early modern day english, old english, and middle english. Old english was spoken in Britain from the 5th century to the middle of the 11th century. Old english is close to German. When old english went through all of the changes, it turned into middle english. Middle english was easier but it still look like a foreign language. Middle english was turned into early modern english which was the closest to the english we speak today.

Geoffery, Chaucer, and Plutarch was two of the people who inspired Shakespeare with english. Chaucer wrote in Middle english but he was still one of the most known poet in England. He was born into a wealthy family. That kind of took a lead in why he was known so much because he had status.After the death of Queen Philippa, he wrote his first major poem called the Book of the Duchess. Chaucer influenced Shakespeare to write The Two Noble Kinsmen. Plutarch was an important biographer and philosopher. He became a teacher of philosophy in Rome.

Shakespeare influenced the English language by making new ways to use words, creating a lot words and phrases. We still use Shakespeare words and phrases today and he inspired many titles used on social media. Shakespeare is one of the most influential English writers ever known, and he is estimated to have contributed over 1,700 words to the language. Language was becoming more used and known during Shakespeare’s time, and he was a major figure in its development. He made new words for example in Julius Caesar Shakespeare takes the noun antic,meaning a fool, and transforms it the verb ‘anticked,’ meaning to fool someone. This type of fluency in language continues to this day.

Shakespeare also spoke many different languages. He spoke five languages which were Latin, English, Greek, Italian, and Hebrew. He knew so many other languages which helped him throughout his career. It helped him with writing his plays, sonnets, and anything else that included language. He knew so many other words that he was able to create those new words and phrases. His creation of words and phrases made his works better and more interesting. Shakespeare has inspired many younger and older people, he still has that role in today’s society. His works has had major impacts on how the world is today and how people view it.

As you can see Shakespeare influenced racism in Othello. It had racial slurs and Lago did not like the fact Othello was black and had had clout. Lago tells Barbantio that Othello was having sex with his daughter Desdemona. Also, William Shakespeare influenced english and made his own words and phrases. He was influenced by two gentleman himself.

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Shakespeare Influence on Western Culture. (2022, July 08). Edubirdie. Retrieved February 1, 2023, from https://edubirdie.com/examples/shakespeare-influence-on-western-culture/
“Shakespeare Influence on Western Culture.” Edubirdie, 08 Jul. 2022, edubirdie.com/examples/shakespeare-influence-on-western-culture/
Shakespeare Influence on Western Culture. [online]. Available at: <https://edubirdie.com/examples/shakespeare-influence-on-western-culture/> [Accessed 1 Feb. 2023].
Shakespeare Influence on Western Culture [Internet]. Edubirdie. 2022 Jul 08 [cited 2023 Feb 1]. Available from: https://edubirdie.com/examples/shakespeare-influence-on-western-culture/
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