Othello is a universal play because it is very adaptable to new historical and cultural circumstances. It provides the responder with a diversity of interpretations and understanding but because of this much of its intended meaning was lost. It seems to me that othering, marginalization and racism have become a popular focal point of Othello. But this idea is flawed once we take into account the context of the era.   Although there were many signs of racism, sexism and marginalization in Othello, we have to bear in mind the zeitgeist of Elizabethan era where sexism and racism were the prevailing attitudes adopted by a patriarchal and mono-cultural society. Shakespeare’s intention was not to address issues of racism and othering but target something more universal. That is, humanities flaws and mankind’s hubris.
The most conspicuous aspect of Othello was not the difference in race or gender it was in fact the differences in the characters themselves. All the characters represent different social positions in a opportunistic society, they all have opposing personalities and serve as foils to each other.
Othello and Iago are two almost completely different characters. Othello is a northern African general who is of “Free and open nature that thinks men honest”. He is a well respected and trusts everyone. And then we have Iago who has duplicity about him which he has managed to conceal for years “I’ am not what I am”. So much so that he is referred to by everyone as “honest Iago”. But in fact, never has evil been portrayed with such mastery than Iago. Iago despises humanity and seeks to find the worst in everyone. His constant use of animal imagery when describing people “as prime as goats as hot as monkeys as salt as wolves in pride” betrays his contempt for them. But Iago is not the villain that he is bluntly portrayed in theatre, he is the face of mankind. He represents the evil that exist within everyone.
Iago is devoid of feelings, so weakly affected...