How has the way people view Othello changed over time?

The meaning of Shakespeare's plays sometimes changes as the cultures they are performed for grow. Whereas loyalty, jealousy, and duty (to one's superior and to one's spouse) were at one time the dominant themes in Othello, these themes are now joined (some would say surpassed) by themes such as marriage, racism, and women's roles.

In contemporary society, where we concern ourselves more with issues of equality and justice than in generations past, it does not seem unlikely that we would look for such themes. What is interesting, though, is that Shakespeare's work from another age can be seen as a vehicle for these modern themes.

For example, Othello himself is so rich as to be nearly unfathomable. Whereas in centuries past, the play could be seen as transmitting a message meant to support the issue of racial inequality, Othello can now be seen as a means for celebrating the valor and humanity of all people — white, black, men, women. For contemporary audiences, Othello points out the distinction of good and evil, more so than the distinction between black and white.