"Setting and place in Othello plays major part in bringing about the downfall of all of the characters" Discuss

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"Setting and place in Othello plays major part in bringing about the downfall of all of the characters" Discuss

The setting of the play inarguably brings about the downfall of most characters in Othello. The handkerchief, as a symbol of setting and place results in his Othello’s downfall as he himself was 'exotic' and didn't fit into the Venetian society. The handkerchief symbolises Othello’s values which is a very important aspect of the play, as he explains that it came from a 200 year-old "sibyl" who sewed it using "worms..hollowed that did breed the silk, and it was dyed in ...conserved maiden's hearts" from Egypt. This leads us to assume that Othello could originate from those regions and tells us more about his background. The strange ritual of creating the handkerchief  also seems very odd for someone from the Venetian society such as Desdemona who responds with "would to Heaven that I had never seen 't!" which puts Othello on the outside of the Venetian elite. We can compare Othello and his presumed more 'exotic' background with Caliban from The Tempest as both characters do not fit in their society. This is further supported when Brabantio accuses Othello of casting a spell on Desdemona as "that though hast practised on her with foul charms" which in turn shows a close comparison to the Egyptian sibyl, it could suggest that the Venetian elite believed that the only way people like Othello could find love was merely by having to cast spells.  Othello attempts to defy this perceptions of him by claiming that "I am not what I am" but by the end of the play he still compares himself to a "base Indian" which once again links back to his exoticism. By referring to places like Egypt and India we clearly learn that he never fitted, highlighting the different values he had in comparison to the Venetian society and that lead to his downfall.

The setting of the play inarguably brings about the downfall of all the characters in Othello. Venice, being a white cultured and metropolitan society, causes Othello in particular to become aware of his speech and the ways in which his culture is viewed by society, ultimately leading to his downfall. Othello is very aware of his place in the Venetian society when speaking to Brabantio, he realises that "rude I am in my speech" (Act1 Scene 3) and knows that he needs to change to "soft phrase of peace" when speaking to someone like Brabantio. Venice

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