Othello Character summary

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  • Othello
    • Protaganist
    • Black/dark skin
      • Controversy about which ethnicity Shakespeare was referring to
        • Olive-coloured North African
        • Shakespearian 'Barbarian' Black
        • The specific ethnicity is not important, the priority is expressing that he feels excluded.
    • Married to Desdemona
      • This is a key part of his character and is partially the cause of his demise (his interactions with her)
    • Respected as a military leader and sensible man
      • This is used to contrast from the height of social status, he begins the play with, to the lack of respect he has at the end
    • Age
      • Unknown
      • Older than Desdemona
        • Age is irrelevant to marriage as in that era age would be insignificant for males
          • Emphasises his demise (his aged so should be mature and clever enough to avoid Iago's manipulation)
      • Military rank suggests he must be mature but agility limits age
        • 1.3.82
    • Costume
      • Would wear dress just like other characters
      • Only indication of difference is hands and face
        • This is interesting as it provides an insight into his character, showing his keenness to "belong"
    • Impaired vision
      • Was that not Cassio...?
        • There are repetitive references to Othello and him asking for visual aids (suggesting a visual impairment)
          • However, this may just be a technique by Shakespeare to provide a audio cue for actors as frequently it marks the entrance and exits of characters.
            • Furthermore it draws the audience towards the character Othello is talking about.
      • Relies on Iago for confirmation of visual
        • Furthers reliance and manipulation oppurtunity
        • Blind to manipulation
      • But look, what lights come yond?
  • However, this may just be a technique by Shakespeare to provide a audio cue for actors as frequently it marks the entrance and exits of characters.
    • Furthermore it draws the audience towards the character Othello is talking about.

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