Wednesday, February 14th, 2018...1:43 pmAnnalee

Othello vs Get Out

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If I was the new director of Othello, I would redirect Act I Scene III when Othello is trying to prove that Desdemona is in love with him to her father, Brabantio.

(Pages 60-62)


Most potent, grave, and reverend signiors,

My very noble and approved good masters,

That I have ta’en away this old man’s daughter,

It is most true; true, I have married her:

The very head and front of my offending

Hath this extent, no more. Rude am I in my speech,

And little bless’d with the soft phrase of peace:

For since these arms of mine had seven years’ pith,

Till now some nine moons wasted, they have used

Their dearest action in the tented field,

And little of this great world can I speak,

More than pertains to feats of broil and battle,

And therefore little shall I grace my cause

In speaking for myself. Yet, by your gracious patience,

I will a round unvarnish’d tale deliver

Of my whole course of love; what drugs, what charms,

What conjuration and what mighty magic,

For such proceeding I am charged withal,

I won his daughter.


A maiden never bold;

Of spirit so still and quiet, that her motion

Blush’d at herself; and she, in spite of nature,

Of years, of country, credit, every thing,

To fall in love with what she fear’d to look on!

It is a judgment maim’d and most imperfect

That will confess perfection so could err

Against all rules of nature, and must be driven

To find out practises of cunning hell,

Why this should be. I therefore vouch again

That with some mixtures powerful o’er the blood,

Or with some dram conjured to this effect,

He wrought upon her.


To vouch this, is no proof,

Without more wider and more overt test

Than these thin habits and poor likelihoods

Of modern seeming do prefer against him.

First Senator

But, Othello, speak:

Did you by indirect and forced courses

Subdue and poison this young maid’s affections?

Or came it by request and such fair question

As soul to soul affordeth?


I do beseech you,

Send for the lady to the Sagittary,

And let her speak of me before her father:

If you do find me foul in her report,

The trust, the office I do hold of you,

Not only take away, but let your sentence

Even fall upon my life.


Fetch Desdemona hither.


Ancient, conduct them: you best know the place.

Exeunt IAGO and Attendants.

And, till she come, as truly as to heaven

I do confess the vices of my blood,

So justly to your grave ears I’ll present

How I did thrive in this fair lady’s love,

And she in mine.


This scene reminded me of the movie Get Out, directed by Jordan Peele. In Get Out, Chris, an African-American man, goes to meet his white girlfriend’s parents for a weekend. Initially welcomed with open arms, Chris begins to notice weird activities going on around the house that leads him to discover how Rose’s parents feel about their interracial relationship. In the movie, Chris is evidently in love with Rose, but he begins to feel as though Rose’s family and their white friends do not see eye to eye with Chris. While there are many plot differences between Get Out and Othello, they both discuss racism and the belief of white supremacy. In Othello, Brabantio can’t seem to comprehend how Desdemona could be in love and married to a Moor and he is convinced that the only reason this could even be possible is through witchcraft: “I therefore vouch again/ That with some mixtures powerful o’er the blood,/Or with some dram conjured to this effect,/He wrought upon her”(105-109). In Get Out, Rose is the one who is accused of using trickery to trick Chris into believing that she is in love with him just so she can fulfill her parents’ twisted plan. If I were to cast a new production of Othello, I would cast Daniel Kaluuya, who portrays Chris from Get Out, as Othello, however, I would not cast Allison Williams, who portrays Rose, as Desdemona because she is too clever and twisted. At least so far, Desdemona seems devoted to loving Othello regardless of her father’s opinion and there are no tricks involved. Despite Rose’s father being in support of his daughter’s relationship so that he can use Chris, Bradley Whitford can still portray Brabantio because it is evident that he exercises racism and sets himself distinctly apart from Chris and African-Americans. The parallels between the themes and characters of more recent Get Out and an older text such as Othello present the greater idea that racism and segregation are still relevant topics in society and there is still room for improvement.


  • I think that comparing ‘Get Out’ and ‘Othello’ is very creative. I have seen ‘Get Out’ as well, and there are certainly parallels between the ‘Get Out’ and ‘Othello’, as you said. They both address racism and even more specifically, they are both stories about an outsider trying to connect with a world that he is unfamiliar with or purposely excluded from. Both Chris and Othello are romantically involved with white women, and in doing so, try to live in harmony with them and their culture. In both cases they are met with obstacles and adversity, in Chris’ case from everyone around him, including Rose, whereas in Othello’s case Desdemona accepts him while her family and the general company she keeps around her do not.

  • I think that this is a really cool comparison that I would not have thought about myself. I think that the idea that treatment of the races in Othello is just like the treatment of the races in Get Out is a strong argument. In both situations, Chris or Othello do not belong because of their skin color. I think that your connection to today’s society brings the whole argument together because these problems are still prominent in today’s society. I think that when choosing characters that it is important to pick characters that feel strongly about the roles. I believe that Bradley Whitford has already played a similar role and would be passionate about it because it is familiar. In addition, I think that Chris could play Othello because it would be similar treatment of the races in Othello to Get Out. I think that this is a very strong connection that not a lot of people would think about.

  • This is a really interesting comparison—I dig it! I think you are absolutely right about the theme of racism still being quite prevalent in today’s society. Although I have never seen Get Out I think it is interesting that the interracial marriage in that movie and in Othello both involve tensions, and conflicts between the people involved. I think that the issue between the interracial marriages in both forms is that there is a lack of trust. When parents give their child up to another man or woman there are already so many strong and conflicting emotions, then to add a person who is different into the mix creates problems. Also, I think it is important to point out that since there are so many interracial marriages, that there are people out there who are capable and accepting to love a person of another color. It is usually the other people who witness this love that do not understand, and therefore do not trust because it is foreign to them. I think this post is a really important point to bring to the table because there is definitely a lot to say about it.

  •   Professor Seiler
    February 20th, 2018 at 8:49 pm

    Annalee: I’m with Victoria, Elizabeth, and Marissa in digging this post. As I mentioned in class, “GO” makes a great heuristic through which to read Othello. One very literal question: how might the age difference between O and D matter in the “Get Out”/”Othello” scenario?

  • Your post has made a relevant and fascinating comparison between Shakespeare’s “Othello” and Jordan Peele’s “Get Out”. Although I have watched “Get Out”, I have never thought of these two works’ similarities and how such resemblance illustrates the ongoing issues of racism that is still prevalent in our society.

    This comparison also makes me ponder upon “Get Out”’s genre, which is psychological horror. I wonder if Shakespeare and Jorden Peele share the same perspective on racism and interracial marriages: discrimination is mankind’s worst horror and it can bring tragedy to any valuable relationship. It is also worth noting that racism is the underlying factor in “Othello” and “Get Out”, which not only mentally and physically wrecked the characters, but also caused many deaths. Moreover, both “Othello” and “Get Out” portray systematic racism as well as its consequences, reminding the reader and the viewer sometimes it is unintentional discrimination that does the most harm. This reminds me of Samuel R. Delaney quote about racism: “Racism is a system…Racism is as much about accustoming people to becoming used to certain racial configurations so that they are specifically not used to others, as it is about anything else. Indeed, we have to remember that what we are combatting is called prejudice: prejudice is pre-judgment—in this case, the prejudgment that the way things just happen to fall out is “all right,” when there well may be reasons for setting them up otherwise.”

    Jorden Peele once revealed an alternative ending to the movie “Get Out”, in which Chris is arrested by the police for the murder of the Armitage family to demonstrate the realities of racism. However, the director chose to give “Get Out” a happy ending. I believe that this directorial decision reflects our society’s progress in abolishing racism, which bestows a black man of our time the justice that Othello did not receive hundreds of years earlier.

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