ADVANTAGES

lends itself to this analysis, as its central character is of an exotic race and the setting of the play is for the most part in Cyprus, a military stronghold of Venice. Othello ultimately goes mad and murders his wife. Othello's loss of control is attributed to his unfounded belief that his wife is unfaithful. The supposed act of betrayal functions as a form of humiliation for Othello who, as a General and a man of power, is habituated to using violence to secure his power. Othello is a Moor, an outsider, an exotic man who is very different from the race of the general audience of this time. The fact that Othello is a converted Christian and of a different race than the others is, at times, used against him, as others feel he is practiced in the arts of magic and witchcraft. The antagonist of the play, Iago, is a Venetian, and Cassio ñ the man believed to be having the affair with Othello's wife ñ is a Florentine. Iago feels Othello has cheated him out of his position as lieutenant, and his vow of revenge provides the major conflict of the play. Race plays an important role in his vengeful scheme, as he calls attention to the possibility that Othello's barbarism might at any moment resurface. Othello falls victim to this villainous plot, and his return to barbarism in the act of murdering Desdemona is foreshadowed when he says, "when I love thee not,/ Chaos is come again." (3.3.91-92) A portrait analysis of Othello should contain references to his moral shifts in the play: from a man who displays strong discipline and self-control to being helplessly out of control. In reference to external perspective, or how other characters in the play see him, the portrait of Othello would contain symbols of the occult, magic, or witchcraft. However, not all of the characters see him as evil. In fact, the references to Othello being black, evil, or barbaric are few.

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