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Background Information on Othello
Transcript of Background Information on Othello
Othello was written during Shakespeare's great tragic period, along with Hamlet, Antony and Cleopatra, King Lear and Macbeth.
The backdrop for the play is Venice, in the midst of a raging war between Venice and Turkey in the later part of the 16th Century.
It is possible that Othello is of the Islamic faith, and during this time period, there was much strain between Christians and Muslims.
What is a moor?
Othello- Othello is the tragic hero, an outsider in Venetian society. However, he has attained a position of power, he is now the general of the army. He is eloquent, able to capture people, including Desdemona, with his words.
Desdemona- Beautiful and accomplished, she is a strong character who marries Othello after being charmed by his tales of adventures.
Iago- Is a soldier with Othello who wants to be second in command but is passed over. He wants to destroy everything that Othello values.
The term moor is used to describe Islamic, Arabic inhabitants of North Africa who invaded Spain in the 8th Century.
However, the term was used broadly and with much ambiguity within the play, that it cannot be sure if it is a means of description or a derogatory term.
Othello is from North Africa, and his "darkness" is referred to many times throughout the play, not only in reference to his skin color, but to his inner self.