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Hussah's Blog 501

Reading Journal

EN 501 Week One Reading Response

Reading the first few acts of the tragedy “Othello” by the playwright William Shakespeare was quite enjoyable due to how dramatic the jealousy and dilemmas between the characters were. Realizing this is fiction, of course as I was reading through the acts, I could not help but wonder more about the culture of the setting during that time period. To better explain my point, during the time when the play was written, England was already divided into social classes. Those that were high up in social class did not mingle with those that were down in social class. I bring up this point because the entire time I kept thinking to myself, even though Othello the character may have helped with the battles, I am sure that any person of color, or as he was referred to “Moore”, would not have gained the recognition to be a general or even choose who his commanding officers would be. So I can imagine people or color helping with battles but they would not get the credit or the recognition for their efforts. In fact if they were really desired to help with the battles, they would be helping with the battles as prisoners, but in this play I saw that Othello despite him experiencing racism from the other characters, he still held some freedom and had a voice, which was rare to find back in that time period. Moreover, to better explain the divided social classes, since Othello was a Moore, how did he have access to allow Desdemona to marry him. I understand that he could have been attracted to her, but since Desdemona comes from a family with power, ideally and realistically back in that time period, Desdemona would not have given Othello a chance or even glimpsed at him due to her being of higher status than him.

The first few acts of “Othello” were interesting to read but because of all the questions that come up about whether these situations would have actually occurred, it is better for one to read with the idea that they are aware that Shakespeare writes satirically or to send a message, so not all is realistic, most of just exaggerated, especially since we are reading a tragedy so there definitely has to be some drama and exaggeration present. What I would like to advise any person approaching a Shakespeare play and wondering how to properly understand it, I do not suggest to only read the play by itself. For me it always works to watch any video summary of the play online, just to get an idea of the play and what themes are present just to know what I should look out for and actually follow along and understand everything. Since I am a visual learner, I find it best to watch a video summary then watch the actual play whilst reading along from the play, just so I can understand the language.

The section I enjoyed most in the other readings was from Chapter 1 the section “What is an Author”. I enjoyed that section because it is the section that really explains how writing occurs. No one actually notices this but every author writes from their own culture, experiences, or others authors or books that have inspired them. What makes me believe that idea is when viewing myself whenever I delve into creative writing. My writings are based on my own experiences and my culture. My culture not just by where I am from and how the society I am from is living, but also about main topics currently affecting this society and how they are present in my writings. With Shakespeare, his society cared a lot about the court and government matters which is why his writings always hold those themes. Authorship is not just about writing a piece with your name on it and publishing it, it is about making yourself present within this piece, which is why I really enjoyed reading this section the most. (673)