Background
to Othello
• Based on a
true story
• Set in
Venice,
Italy
• At that time,
Venice was a
city-state, ruled
by a Duke
• Laws were also made by a
body of senators
• The military
was run by a
General
[Othello]
• The General’s
second in
command was
a lieutenant
[Michael
Cassio]
• The General’s
personal
servant and
third in
command was
called an
Ancient
(pronounced
“en-sin”) [Iago]
• Othello is a Moor [a
native of North Africa,
usually a Muslim]
• Othello, once a slave,
has been accepted
into Venetian society
and has converted to
Christianity
• As the play
begins, Othello
has just
eloped with
Desdemona,
the daughter
of a senator
named
Brabantio
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Background to Othello