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Cyprus versus Venice

English Literature

A Level

AQA

9m 6s

How does the change of setting to Cyprus develop the plays’ characters and themes? Venice is a city-state and Cyprus is an island with strategic military significance. Symbolically, it is a garrison that protects the West from the East, exemplified by the Ottoman Empire, also called pejoratively, “the Turks”. The island of Cyprus establishes Othello as a foreign (Moorish) mercenary fighting an enemy of the West. The setting also establishes Othello as a sexually inexperienced, ageing military commander whose first possible symptom of mental disturbance is his lapsed judgment in bringing his wife on a military campaign.

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