The Characters of Othello and Jane Eyre as ‘Other’

Shows how William Shakespeare in “Othello” and Bronte in “Jane Eyre” reflect certain characters as disadvantaged others in their works.

Both Shakespeare’s Othello and Bronte’s “Jane Eyre” feature the theme of the treatment of the ‘other – ‘ a theme that situates the protagonist, in both of these texts, in a disadvantaged position vis-a-vis the dominant culture. In varying ways, the characters of Othello and Jane Eyre both experience the difficulties of being different, or apart from the status quo. Othello’s color sets him notably apart from those around him. For Jane Eyre, it is her low social status, at least at the novel’s beginning, although Jane is doubly disadvantaged being both impoverished and female. In both cases, the protagonists are treated with contempt, as if their status of ‘other’ renders such behavior on part of the dominant culture acceptable. But beneath this theme of marginalization and otherness that manifests itself in both of these texts is a journey into the self: a journey that ends in tragedy for Othello, as his is a path to self-deception, but one of self-discovery and maturation for Jane Eyre.