Othello, the Moor of Venice by William Shakespeare
Shakespeare’s Othello • The play’s first performance by the King's Men (Shakespeare’s acting company) was on November 1, 1604.
The World of Othello Venice North Africa
The Setting: Venice
The Setting: Cypress
The Moors in Shakespeare’s Time • Moors were seen as exotic and strange; they were almost considered something other than human. • It was a status symbol among the nobility and upper class to have a Moorish servant or page. • The origin of the word Moor comes from the word mauri. Mauri refers to the Berbers who lived in the Roman province of Mauritania, in North Africa.
The Main Characters: Othello • Othello is a Moor from North Africa. • He has been promoted to the rank of general in the Venetian army. • He has the respect and admiration of the Duke and council of Venice. • He loves Desdemona, the daughter of a senator.
The Main Characters: Iago • Iago is Othello’s second in command. • He’s angry because Othello gave the promotion of lieutenant to Cassio. • Iago tells us that his mission in life is to ruin Othello. • He is an enemy who pretends to be a friend to Othello.
The Main Characters: Desdemona • Desdemona is seriously in love with Othello, and he loves her. • Her father is a high ranking senator who, although he admires Othello, would never allow his daughter to marry a man of another race. • Desdemona defies her father by eloping with Othello although he is older than she.
The Main Characters: Roderigo • Roderigo, poor sap, is head over heels in love with Desdemona. • He finds out about her elopement and falls apart. • Iago, who is only using Roderigo for his money, talks him into telling Desdemona’s father about her marriage. Roderigo
The Main Characters: Cassio • Cassio is a “ladies’ man” who is Othello’s best friend and helped him win Desdemona’s love. • Cassio and Desdemona flirt in a friendly way, and Othello knows it. • Cassio got the promotion Iago thought should be his, so Iago turns into Cassio’s “frenemy” too. Cassio