Research Paper: Othello by William Shakespeare With the Cask

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¶ … Othello" by William Shakespeare with "The Cask of Amontillado" by Edgar Allan Poe

Compare and contrast William Shakespeare's 'Othelo' and Edger Allan Poe's 'The Cask of Amontillado'

Racism, sexism and revenge, exist in most societies today. Racism refers to a situation where a person gets discriminated on the basis of skin color and his or her place of birth. To some extent, some people discriminate others for they do not belong to the same culture as them or because they cannot speak the same language as them. Racism is known to be a major cause of wars between people of different culture and countries. It influences slavery and the formation of legal codes in some countries (Rawls 33).

Sexism is a form of discrimination where a person gets discriminated on the basis of gender. In some communities, women cannot be given certain responsibilities in the society on the basis their gender. Some religions do not delegate certain activities to people of a certain gender. Some communities have certain attitudes whose objective is to underrate certain people based on gender. Such behavior aids in fostering stereotype in that particular society. Revenge can result out of a long-term or a short-term unsolved conflict. The party intending to revenge lacks the virtues of love and forgiveness and often feels that revenge is the only means to accomplish unresolved problems (Rawls 35). The purpose of this study is to compare, and contrast the injustice portrayed in the Othello story from William Shakespeare and The Cask of Amontillado story from Edgar Allan Poe. The study will look into the themes of racism, sexism and revenge from the two stories.


Othello was Moorish a soldier in the Venetian army. Moors were medieval Muslims who initially occupied parts of Morocco, Liberia and Western Nigeria. The terms moors were initially used to refer to any person of African or Arab decent. Othello secretly eloped with the Desdemona, one of the daughters of Brabantio. The idea of Othello being a Moorish in the Venetian army was one of the factors that brought about racism. The secrete marriage between Othello and Desdemona was another that prompted jealous and conflict between Othello and his colleagues. Roderigo was upset that Othello's marriage would succeed for he had earlier spoken to Desdemona's father on his wish to marry his daughter, and the father had agreed (Rawls 34). The situation prompted the formation of an assembly comprising of Brabantio's kinsmen for Othello to explain his actions. Though Othello managed to convince the assembly that Desdemona was attracted to him because of the stories he shared with her, it was the beginning of a long-term feud with Iago. Othello claimed that he occasionally told Desdemona stories on dangerous adventures in the army.

In The Cask of Amontillado, racism can be traced in several instances. For example, Fortunato on several occasions used masons gestures and symbols against his counterpart Montresor. On one occasion, Montresor gave Fortunato de Grave wine to help him reduce the effects of Niche fumes while they were on the way. After Fortunato finished taking the wine, he tossed the bottle on the air. To him the act was a mason's gesture and he knew very well that Montresor could not understand it for he did not belong to the masons order. On the other hand, Montresor interpreted the gesture as an insult to him and his family. In another occasion, Fortunato had shown Montresor a trowel, which he had carried along. A trowel is an instrument used in masons and is a tool used in Fortunato's death (Rawls 34).


In the Othello's story, revenge is clearly illustrated by Iagos actions all through in the story. His earlier grudge with Othello because of the marriage issue continued to make him look for means of spoiling Othello's relationship. It was unfortunate that Othello was not aware of the rooming hatred between him and Iago. In many occasions, the prey of the revenge mission is normally an innocent person who might not be knowledgeable of the impending revenge attacks. Iago planned a scheme to ruin Othello career and marriage by persuading Ruderigo to confront Cassio in a fight. He managed to have Cassio get drunk and participate in some form of disturbance. When Othello learned of the disturbance, he demoted Cassio (Sandel 3). Iago still went ahead to accuse Desdemona with infidelity which he implicated Cassio as her lover. Iago was determined to have Othello marriage fail for even after implicating Desdemona with infidelity to her husband, he still managed to persuade her speak to her husband regarding Cassio's demotion. This action was to convince Othello that for sure, Cassio and Desdemona were actually lovers.

Iago used a handkerchief that Desdemona had innocently dropped and was later found on Cassio's clothes as evidence that Desdemona was surely unfaithful. Any person who wishes to revenge uses all available avenues to perpetrate his motives. Innocent people may be used to aid in the success of the motives. According to Sandel 5, individuals have rights and common good in conflict resolutions.

When Othello was convinced the fact that his wife was unfaithful, and had actually betrayed him as alleged he decided to take some form of action. Othello's actions are also means of revenge from his wife's betrayal. Othello organized a revenge mission with Iago where Othello decided to kill his wife and Iago had the responsibility to kill Cassio. Iago convinced Roderigo to kill Cassio, and they planned a night attack. From the attack, Cassio hurt Roderigo and at that time, Iago managed to attack Cassio on his leg (Sandel 7). The screams from Cassio made Othello believe that the intended mission on Cassio was half done. The same moment he went to attack his wife who was at the bedroom at that time. His wife persuaded him not to kill her. Desdemona managed to convince his husband that she was innocent and the commotion attracted her servant and Iago's wife. It was at that point the truth was revealed. Iago stabbed his wife to death and himself too. The revenge attacks planned earlier on did not succeed as planned. Iago who was the mastermind of the entire plan ended up losing his life together with his wife.

In the story, The Cask of Amontillado, Montresor secretly planned for a revenge mission against Fortunato. The hatred towards Fortunato was because of remarks and comments that Fortunato frequently made towards Montresor. Montresor considered those remarks as insults directed towards him and his family. Montresor managed to conceal his hatred towards Fortunato for a long time as he waited for the right time to accomplish his revenge mission (Rawls 52). He planned to execute his mission during the carnival time for he had learned his friend's weakness. He knew that Fortunato was very fond of wine so he developed a plot whereby he knew Fortunato would not resist the occasion of wine. He came up with an ideal of In the Cask of Amontillado wine and asked Fortunato's opinion on it. Little did Fortunato know that the process of getting the In The Cask of Amontillado was a mission for Montresor to revenge on him. On the way to get the In the Cask of Amontillado wine, Montresor seemed kind to him.

The fumes from the niche caused Fortunato to cough severely and Montresor offered him wine to stop the cough. Montresor had chosen the carnival time for he knew his friend would not resist the wine during that time. Fortunato prepared for the occasion for he had worn a hat with jingle bell that rang all the way, as they went to discover In the Cask of Amontillado wine. Montresor was so clever that he arranged his revenge mission in such a manner that… [END OF PREVIEW]

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