Orson Welles Doesn't See Color In Othello

Orson Welles Doesn't See Color In Othello

How have film perspectives on race changed over time?

Othello is a tragic story of love twisted into an all-consuming revenge. The titular character, Othello, is a decorated war hero from the Moors. Even though he is highly accomplished, he is still isolated from the rest of society, mainly due to his race and foreign background. Othello is led falsely to believe his newfound wife Desdemona is having an affair with Cassio by the less than honest Iago, a man under Othello’s command hell-bent on bringing him down. He spirals into a jealous rage, further ostracizing himself from the rest of society.

Throughout all of this, Othello’s ethnicity, the not so quiet elephant in the room, influences the course of action of the play and the way that the characters, including Othello in the end, view him. Orson Welles’s 1951 version of Othello almost completely erased the theme of race that is so prevalent in the play and as a result warps the original meaning.

Othello’s race precedes him. It is one of the first things that the audience learns about him before he physically enters the story. Iago awakens Brabantio, a Venetian nobleman, to tell him his young daughter Desdemona has eloped with Othello. Iago refers to Othello as an “old black ram…tupping [Brabantio’s] white ewe” . Even though he is well-decorated with accomplishments, Othello is reduced to an animal. He is portrayed as a ram, an aggressive horned male sheep, while Desdemona is a white ewe, the pure, more docile sheep counterpart.

He openly discusses their sexual relationship in a disgusting way, dehumanizing their love and marriage. Iago then further threatens Brabantio with Othello’s race, saying “the devil will make a grandsire of you” . In accordance with the previous horned accusation, Othello is directly portrayed as the devil, something that shows society’s fear of foreigners at the time. Iago insinuates that this black stain on Brabantio’s family will continue indefinitely through the children that Othello will sire. Iago is aware of the racist undertones of Venetian society and uses it to his advantage.

By the end of the play, Othello fully accepts the racist ideas of society, showing his internalized racism. When he first suspects Desdemona of cheating on him he refers to her name as now “begrimed and black as mine own face" when it was fresh before. Othello associates blackness and his own face as something stained and grimy, echoing the previous racist statements of Brabantio, Iago, and the Duke of Venice. By associating Desdemona’s white visage with freshness, Othello starts to show his obsession with white purity and his internalized self-loathing.

He again shows his fixation on whiteness when he prepares to murder Desdemona and refuses to “shed [Desdemona’s] blood, nor scar that whiter skin of hers than snow”. Othello further shows his negative association of blackness when he says “arise, black vengeance, from the hollow hell”. His internal self-loathing becomes external after he kills Desdemona and realizes that she was innocent of cheating all along. He describes himself as a “base Judean [who] threw a pearl away”. This account shows that he sees himself as a base savage ignorant of the true value of the pristine white woman in front of him. By the end of the play it is obvious that race plays a key role in Othello, something that Orson Welles completely ignores in his film.

The film is shot in black and white, which is the first decision that Orson Welles makes to eliminate color from Othello. Welles plays Othello himself, showing his blatant disregard to staying true to the racial nature of the play because simply: Welles is not black. Welles appears to be slightly bronzed, something that is not exactly blackface, but still is offensive.

The most that the film does to address Othello’s origin is to repeatedly call him “the Moor”. In fact, the racial remarks said in the play by Brabantio, Iago, and Othello are omitted or not focused on. Brabantio alludes to Othello using witchcraft to enchant his daughter, but this is never tied directly into ethnicity. Welles portrays Othello in an entirely self-confident way, ignoring the internal struggle Othello has over his blackness that appears in the text. In creating the film version of Othello Welles must have decided that the prevalent issue of race in Othello was something not important enough to focus on, which is derogatory and inaccurate.

Cover Image Credit: Flickr

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9 Eligible Princes You Need To Know About Now That Prince Harry Is Off The Market

You too could have a Meghan Markle fairytale

Prince Harry's royal wedding is officially over and there won't be another British royal wedding for quite some time now, as Prince George is way too young to start thinking about that. Fortunately, there are plenty of other countries with plenty of other princes that are still eligible bachelors at the moment. Lucky for you, I did my research and compiled a list of all the eligible princes you need to know about know that Prince Harry has tied the knot with Meghan Markle.

1. Prince Louis of Luxembourg (31)

Prince Louis is the third son of the Grand Duke Henri and Duchess Maria Theresa of Luxembourg. He has recently become a bachelor again after his separation with his wife of 10 years, Princess Tessy.

Fun Fact: He graduated from Richmond, The American International University of London with a BA in Communications. He can also speak Luxembourgish (the fact that's even a language is fun fact by itself), French, German, and English fluently.

2. Prince Sebastien of Luxembourg (26)

Prince Sebastien is the youngest child of the Grand Duke Henri and Duchess Maria Theresa of Luxembourg, so if you marry him, you'll probably never actually be queen because he's pretty far removed from the throne. However, he's relatively young and single, so best of luck.

Fun Fact: For some bizarre reason, this prince actually went to college in Ohio. He played rugby and graduated from Franciscan University of Steubenville in 2015. Now, he is back in his home country and is an officer in the Luxembourg Army.

3. Prince Phillipos of Greece and Denmark (34)

You read that correctly, Prince Phillipos is the prince of not one, but two countries. He is the youngest son of King Constantine and Queen Anne Marie of Greece and Denmark. Unfortunately, Greece abolished their monarchy, so he's a prince in name only there.

Fun Fact: Like Prince Sebastien, Prince Phillipos also went to college in the United States. He earned his B.A. in foreign relations from Georgetown University in 2008. Fortunately, for us American girls, he is actually still living in the US and he works in New York City as an analyst at Ortelius Capital.

4. Prince Albert of Thurn and Taxis (34)

Ever heard of Thurn and Taxis? No? Me neither. Anyways, Prince Albert is from the House of Thurn and Taxis, which is essentially a very old German aristocratic family. He is the son of Prince Johannes XI of Thurn and Taxis and Countess Gloria of Schonburg Glauchau. His family is well known for their breweries and castles, so unless you're gluten-free, you can't really complain.

Fun Fact: He's not just a prince. He's also a racecar driver and 10 years ago he was ranked 11th on Forbes Magazine's List of The 20 Hottest Young Royals.

5. Prince Mateen of Brunei (26)

Prince Mateen is basically like all the guys you already know, except he's royalty. He's the prince of Brunei, which is a small country on the island of Borneo, south of Vietnam. He is one of the five sons of Sultan Hassanal Bolkiah, and he also has seven sisters. Maybe that's a little different than the guys you know, but one thing he takes very seriously, just like most frat guys, is his Instagram.

Fun Fact: Mateen enjoys playing polo, flying in his private plane, cuddling cute wild animals, and keeping up his Insta game with 890k followers. You can follow him @tmski.

6. Sheikh Hamdan bin Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum of Dubai (35)

Sheikh Hamdan also has a killer Instagram with 6.3 million followers. Anyways, Sheikh Hamdan is the billionaire crown prince of Dubai and the second son of Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, who is the prime minister of the United Arab Emirates and essentially the king of Dubai (Emir). He's actually next in line for the throne because his older brother died in 2015.

Fun Fact: Hamdan's hobbies include skydiving, zip lining, and diving, just to name a few, so if you're an adrenaline junkie, Sheikh Hamdan is the prince for you.

7. Prince Hussein of Jordan (23)

Prince Hussain is the son of the extremely beautiful, Queen Rania and Abdullah II of Jordan and next in line for the Jordanian throne. At 23, he's already a second lieutenant in the Jordanian Armed Forces and he was the youngest person ever to chair a UN Security Council Meeting

Fun Fact: Like Prince Phillippos, Prince Hussain also graduated from Georgetown University in Washington D.C.. Also, like Prince Mateen and Prince Hamdan, he's Insta famous with 1.3 million followers and you can follow him @alhusseinjo.

8. Prince Constantine-Alexios of Greece and Denmark (19)

Like Prince Phillipos, Prince Constantine-Alexios also has two countries. Lucky for us though, he is also living in the US right now attending Georgetown University in Washington D.C. (like pretty much every other prince, amirite?) He is the oldest son of Crown Princess Marie-Chantal and Crown Prince Pavlos of Greece.

Fun Fact: He's Prince William's godson, so that's pretty neat. However, if that wasn't cool enough, you might like to know that this Greek/Danish prince was actually born in New York. Oh yeah, you can also follow him on Instagram @alexiosgreece where he has 88.7k followers.

9. Prince Joachim of Belgium (26)

Prince Joachim of Belgium, Archduke of Austria-Este is the third child of Lorenz, Archduke of Austria-Este and Princess Astrid of Belgium. Although he bears the title, "Prince of Belgium," he is also Archduke of Austria-Este, Prince Royal of Hungary and Bohemia, and Prince of Modena. Unfortunately, he'll probably never actually be king in any of these countries as he is ninth in line to the Belgian throne.

Fun Fact: Prince Joachim has degrees in economics, management, and finance, but he decided to join the Nautical School in Brugge after completing college and is currently an officer in the Belgian Navy.

Hope is not lost for all you girls dreaming of finding a Prince Charming that's literally a prince. After reviewing the data, my best advice is to transfer to Georgetown where princes are basically around every corner.

Cover Image Credit: @meghantheduchessofsussexstyle/Instagram

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Poetry On Odyssey: The Room

It is difficult to let go of childhood traumas, but if you don't, you will never be able to move on to a healthy life.


Can you hear it?

The Sound of Silence.

I can. There I am.

Back in the little, old cube.

It's bland;

Only a single light bulb decorates the Room.


It takes me back to When.

I close my eyes.

There it is again.

The Silence.

It echoes.

It aches.

I open my eyes to a small child.

He hunches his body in a corner.

With his little shuttering voice, he speaks,

They're coming.\n\nThey're coming.

Who's coming?

I ask.

The Monsters,The Monsters,"

He replies.

Over and over he repeats:

They're coming.

They're coming.

The Monsters are coming.

Each time, his whisper grows louder.

Each time, his voice grows firmer.

Then, he stops.

I slowly approach the corner where the child sits.

His figure is so small and meek.

He is probably no more than five.

I grab his shoulder.

I turn his face my way.

What I discover is…


His eye sockets are shallow.

They are deprived of a soul.


They cry blood.

His face is sickly pale.

His dry lips part.

Then he speaks:

They're here.

______________________________________________________________________________________________________Disclaimer: This is a work of fiction. Names, characters, businesses, places, events and incidents are either the products of the author's imagination or used in a fictitious manner.

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