Titus Andronicus and Othellos

Humans have always felt the need to differentiate themselves from one another.We see examples of this in history, geography, language, and even mathematics.Even less complex is the notion of race.Race is an ideology that has always existed, but only recently, that is within the last 100-200 years, been defined.It is simple to differentiate between peoples based on the color of one's skin.Race (and hence, racism) has been expressed in literature since the time of Shakespeare. Shakespeare's plays and sonnets have been studied and loved since they were written.He wrote about politics, treatment of women, and also the notion of race.Two of Shakespeare's characters particularly stand out in regards to race; they are Aaron, the Moor from Titus Andronicus and Othello, also a Moor from Othello.I wish to show in this essay, a comparison of attitudes toward race in Titus and Othello with particular attention paid to Aaron and Othello.I will also give examples from John Leo Africanus' A Geographical Historie of Africa, translated to English in 1600, to give further insight into Shakespeare's depictions of the Renaissance Moor. Titus Andronicus wasfirst performed around the year 1593.Aaron plays what Emily Bartel writes in her article: "Making More of the Moor," a "consummate villain" in this play, an incredibly cunning and conniving character.I speculate that Shakespeare's audience would assume Aaron to be recently from Africa, given the date of thefirst performance of the play.Furthermore, the audience may assume that Aaron's journey from Africa would be in an attempt to assimilate (the term was "normalize" during the Renaissance) him, as was being done at the time in Europe.In this extremely violent and gruesome play, Aaron has a hand in every single violent act, which he admits in Act V sc. I: "Tut, I have done a thousand dreadful things,&…

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