The Barbarous Moor in Peele’s Alcazar (1594)

Fahd Mohammed Taleb Al-Olaqi


The article investigates the sixteenth century Elizabethan view of race and its influence on person’s innate characterwithin the context of The Battle of Alcazar. The interest of Elizabethan audience in Moorish matter is remarkable indrama. The Elizabethans consider the Africa as the domain of war, conquest, fratricide, lust and treachery. TheMoors are often portrayed as violent villains that violate human morality. George Peele has overturned the raciststereotypes of his days in presenting Muly Mahamet, as Machiavellian politician, in the play. Peele’scharacterization of this Moorish Other embodies negative traits shared by the society at large, such as violenceevilness, and treachery. Certainly, Muly Mahamet’s depiction is the patchwork of Peele uniting his audience’s viewsand his own literary license to generate the complex villain of Barbary. He represents the first black Moor of anydramatic significance. Peele shows the villain Muly Mahamet as cruel and treacherous, and his evil is accompanyingdirectly with the blackness of his skin. The representation of the immorality of the Moor puts into the European superiority.

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World Journal of English Language
ISSN 1925-0703(Print)  ISSN 1925-0711(Online)

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