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Introduction to Shakespeare

             Out of the four of Shakespeare’s great tragedies, Othello remains the most powerful and forceful not only on the stage but also for study as a critical text. This power is created by the speed and pace set, as compared to the other plays. Instead of a time frame of a few months, the tragedy of Othello is over in a matter of a few nights. This analysis of the text shows different readings. These readings may not have been prominent and recognised amongst society of the time but these aspects of the reading are seen. Throughout most of Shakespeare’s plays, analysis using many different views could be applied. It is the various analytical applicability of Shakespeare’s work that makes Shakespeare’s writing extraordinary. Two different critical angles of interpretation will be explored. A Marxist reading will be used to interpret this play, as well as a Race reading. These readings deal with the theory and ideas behind these readings, their applicability and evidence within the text.
             Marxism is a socialist concept thought out and laid out as a plan by Karl Marx. Marxist criticism can be approached two ways. The reaction to the oppression of the ruling class and their power over lower class people meaning this criticism challenges the dominant power. Not only can we see this physical oppression but also the psychological oppression and the methods of enforcing this, such as the text itself and its reflection of the dominant ideology and social system. The theories specifically analyse the functions of society through times of constant change and upheaval. The traditional Marxists such as Adomo and Jameson favoured realism and realist literature as this represented the people and their struggles with the real world against the Bourgeois world. According to Marx, “It is not the consciousness of men that determines their being, but, on the contrary, their social being that determines their consciousness”.