Traditionally, interracial relationships attracted the attention of many writers, whose works revealed the controversy of interracial relationships. In this respect, it is possible to refer to L. Hansberry’s A Raisin in the Sun and W. Shakespeare’s Othello, which focus on the theme of interracial relationships and reveal the complexity of relationships between the whites and the blacks. In actuality, the theme of interracial relationships is revealed by Shakespeare and Hansberry to certain extent similar, although the interpretations of these relationships by the authors differ in a way, probably under the impact of their environment and cultural environment.
In actuality, Shakespeare and Hansberry reveal the theme of interracial relationships through the depiction of inferiority of blacks compared to whites. To put it more precisely, Othello turns out to be a bit simplistic and naïve compared to Iago, for instance. In such a way, Shakespeare depicts Othello as inferior to whites. In this regard, Othello is similar to Youngers from A Raisin in the Sun because they feel being inferior to the whites. For instance, when Youngers move to the white neighborhood, the local community attempts to persuade them to refuse from moving to their neighborhood to the extent that they are ready to offer money to Youngers. In such a way, both authors agree that the blacks they depict in their works are inferior to the whites and the whites can manipulate with the blacks and set their rules, which the blacks have to obey.
On the other hand, the two literary works are quite different in the authors’ interpretation of interracial relationships. Othello is more tolerant in relation to racial background of individuals, whereas A Raisin in the Sun depicts severe conflict between races. What is meant here is the fact that Othello holds a high social position and his position is unchallengeable, whereas the whites obey to Othello as a true leader. In contrast, Youngers hold absolutely inferior social position because they are viewed as the inferior race, unworthy of living with in one and the same neighborhood. This is why new white neighbors of Youngers want to bribe them to send them off the white community. In fact, for the whites from A Raisin in the Sun, the very thought of living next to the blacks is unbearable, whereas Othello being black is still treated as a member and the leader of the community, whom the whites have to disobey and his inferiority manifests only through his naivety and simplicity.
At the same time, Beneatha attempts to return to her African American roots. This means that Hansberry wants to show that the blacks respond to the white chauvinism and supremacy rejecting the whiteness and returning to their roots. This trend is the result of the existing socioeconomic and cultural norms for the whites held the dominant position in the society depicted by the author. As for Othello, he is a representative of a powerful nation, whom Europeans had to respect and his inferiority manifests only at the cultural level.
Thus, taking into account all above mentioned, it is important to place emphasis on the fact Othello and A Raisin in the Sun focus on the problem of interracial relationships. The authors agree upon the inferiority of the blacks compared to the whites but Shakespeare shows that interracial relationships were more tolerant than in time of Hansberry.
Williams, G. Anthology of the World Literature. New York: Random House, 2008.