Nobility and Social Class Essay

Submitted By any1wantpie
Words: 1712
Pages: 7

April 13, 2015
Is Social Class The Only Thing That Matters? What truly matters in life? Is it the amount of money, land, women, friends, cars, or houses a man owns? Could it be possibly be the amount of knowledge an individual has? The answer to this question would vary depending on the group of people you ask. The first social classes were originally created back when your family's name would depend on what your ancestors did for a living. If you dreamed of being something else or moving up the social ladder, you were considered mad or a fool. It would be thought as a miracle or some sort of witchcraft if someone from a lower class was able elevate themselves to a higher social life. Social class from back during the Elizabethan Age definitely played an enormous role in William Shakespeare's, The Tragedy of Othello, the Moor of Venice. As the main antagonist, Iago, becomes envious of the protagonist, Othello, for being a higher rank, he hatches up a devious, cunning plan to raise up the social rank. As Webster's dictionary explains a social class is , “people having the same social or economic status” ( (1). During the Elizabethan Era, there were 6 board official social classes, the Monarchy, Nobility, Gentry, Merchant, Yeomanry, and Laborers. For the normal everyday people, the highest rank they could possibly accomplish is Nobility. “This class is the lords and ladies of the land. A person becomes a member of nobility by birth, or by a grant from the queen or king. Noble titles were hereditary, passing from father to oldest son. It took a crime such as treason for a nobleman to lose his title,” ( People belonging to the Nobility class would be the richest people under the Queen. Since they own land, they could sell it or rent it out to people that grew crops, herded livestock, or provided services, giving them the title “holders”. Then in return, the holders would charge taxes for living on their land and/or require portions of their goods. The title of being a Noble is passed down to the oldest son, meaning families can remain as Nobility for years unless they commit any crime against the thorn. “In descending order of rank, the titles were duke, marquis, earl, viscount, and baron or lord; their wives were called duchess, marchioness, countess, viscountess, and baroness or lady,” (Forgeng 11). Forgeng gives very specific part of the social structure with 60 peers in the portion of the structure. With this background information we can understand the meaning behind The Tragedy of Othello. In the scene where Iago talks about Desdemona's father, Brabantio, to Othello, “That the magnifico is much beloved, And hath in his effect a voice potential As double as the Duke’s,” (I.ii.11-13), he is praising the nobleman by implying his true value is greater than the Duke's, which is the highest class any normal person can obtain. In Act 1 Scene 3, Brabantio addressed the Duke, “So did I yours. Good your grace, pardon me.”(I.iii.52). This is very important because as a Duke not only are you the highest rank, you are also compared closely to the religious figure of an Archbishop. Religion was very important before, which is portrayed by characters from the play address the Duke as your grace, which gives it such an awed title. After we enter the council-chamber where the Duke is consulting with his Senators about the war in Cyprus, Brabantio, Othello, Iago, and Roderigo, a foolish lover of Desdemona, enter and disrupt the meeting to discuss Othello marrying Desdemona. Why would a father feel dishonored and become infuriated if a General has married his daughter? The reasons behind these emotions are Othello is a Moor and not part of the same social class and for the fact they got married without his consent. The word “moor” means “any individual of the swarthy races of Africa or Asia which have adopted the Mohammedan religion,” ( (2) Othello may be a…