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Question five - Comparing the opposites
Shakespeare sets the play in Venice when it was one of the most powerful and civilised states of Christian Europe. It was one of the most sophisticated trading places in the world. Shakespeare paints a picture of Venice as a racist place and so the colour of someone's skin was definitely looked upon as important.
Venice held power in the Eastern Mediterranean and the Turks were threatening to attack areas in the Eastern Mediterranean such as Cyprus.
Othello, a Moor (North African) black and a professed Christian was Venice's most trusted and respected general. As Othello was the General of the Army he made Cassio, who was a Florentine his lieutenant. This angered Iago as he was hoping for promotion and to hold that title. Iago announces his hatred for Othello to a Venetian gentlemen named Roderigo, but Othello knows little of this, as Iago hides this well and shows nothing but love for him. In act 3 scene 3 this is shown when Othello makes Iago his lieutenant, after Cassio angers Othello.
"Now art thou my lieutenant."
"I am your own for ever."
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