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Foil Characters in Othello

Foil Characters in Othello
In literature, a foil is a character who serves to highlight at least one trait in another character
by directly contrasting it. Generally foils contrast the protagonist of the story, but in this text
they help to emphasize particular qualities of a number of important characters.
Consider the four characters below. In what ways do particular traits of one man contrast those
in another? How does each one individually impact Othello? Now consider the timeline of the
story and when each of these characters plays his role in the text. What do you notice? How do
their roles coincide with Othello’s experience and subsequent development?
What other characters could work as foils of one another? Remember, they only need to have
one contrasting trait, but it needs to be a distinctive one.