Othello
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Othello

Othello

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About Him

Living… in early modern Venice, in an Italy unfriendly to non-Europeans.

Visiting… Cyprus, where he was sent to protect the island from invading Turks.

Profession… general in the Venetian army. Othello has many stories to tell of the strange lands he’s traveled to and the battles he’s fought. In fact, that was how he won his wife, Desdemona—she was enthralled by the stories she overheard him telling her father, and they fell in love.

Interests… fighting battles and telling stories. Othello is a good storyteller, and he’s not unaware that other Venetians find him exotic, as he is not only a “Moor,” but also the first one to become a Venetian general. He likes to pass time with his friends Cassio and Iago and, of course, with his wife.

Relationship Status… married and still in love. His wife, Desdemona, is the daughter of a duke of Venice. They fell deeply in love, but now Iago is hinting that maybe Desdemona is no longer faithful. Othello find it hard to believe, and yet… Doubt plagues the general, as he cries, “O! now, for ever/Farewell the tranquil mind; farewell content!”

Challenge… distinguishing truth from lies. Is Desdemona cheating on him? Is Cassio betraying their friendship? Is Iago leading him astray? Othello can fight as well as any man, but it’s much harder to navigate this web of deceit. He doesn’t want to believe his friends are betraying him, but he also does not want to play the fool.

Personality… loving and brave, but easily manipulated. A strong leader in battle, Othello is a good man who falls too easily to others’ insinuations. Like he describes himself, Othello is "one that lov'd not wisely but too well [...] one not easily jealous, but, being wrought [...]Like the base Indian, threw a pearl away / Richer than all his tribe.”

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