Reading What isn't There: Empiricism, Delusion, and the Construction of Race and Racism in Othello
Johnson, Amanda Louise
This paper recovers the subjectivity of the Moor, in order to better understand the presentation of racial difference in the play in terms of the play's understanding of visual evidence. Othello's aggressive hermeneutic demonstrates how empiricism can undo itself, and foster an epistemological breakdown. The result is madness, and the notion of Othello's racial inferiority functions as a cooperating delusion. This analysis of Othello's hermeneutic crisis reveals the limits of empirical thought and 'scientific' inquiry in the recovery of truth.