Harlem Duet-Modern Play Essay

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Pages: 6

Harlem Duet-Modern Play Essay
Despite of being declared free and living in a free society, many times characters remain restricted due to their own conflicting matters. This can be seen evidently in the play Harlem Duet through the main character, Billie. Despite all blacks being declared officially free from slavery by the Emancipation Proclamation in 1863, Billie still feels ‘enslaved’ many times due to pressures of external factors, such as racism that still exists in society, and internal factors such as her inability to remain in control of a situation. There are many instances where a character is not in control of the situation and yet it affects them on a regular and frequent basis. These external factors, such as a racist
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Billie’s incapability to take control makes her individuality of a black woman into a dependent and helpless character. Due to this internal conflict, she seeks refuge in the fire of revenge as it is she interprets it as the only way to gain control of the deteriorating situation which left her identity under rubbles. In Act 1 Scene 7, Othello says, “You don’t want the truth. You want me to tell you what you want to hear. No, no, you want to know the truth? I’ll tell you the truth. Yes, I prefer White women. They are easier-before and after sex. They wanted me and I wanted them. They weren’t filled with hostility about the unequal treatment they were getting at their jobs. We’d make love and I’d fall asleep not having to beware being mistaken for someone’s inattentive father. I’d explain that I wasn’t interested in a committed relationship right now, and not be confused with every lousy lover, or husband that had ever left them lying in a gutter of unresolved emotions,” this leaves Billie shocked and speechless, as if someone stole something precious from her without her consent. In this scenario, Othello directly attacks Billie, by attacking her identity as a black woman and backing it up by saying that he left her because of all that Billie believes and how difficult it is to deal with her “race