Othello is respected for his military reputation but set apart because of his skin color

Othello is the main character of the play of the same name by William Shakespeare. He is a general in the Venetian army, and the Duke himself seems to trust him with important matters. For example, he sends Othello to become military governor of Cyprus when a fleet of Turkish ships approaches the island.

People generally seem to respect Othello for his positive qualities, such as his bravery or his usually calm temperament. Montano, when he finds out that Othello is coming to Cyprus remarks that Othello would be “a worthy governor” (2.1.32.) and that he “commands/ Like a full soldier” (2.1.39-40). The Duke calls Othello “valiant” (1.3.55). Cassio also seems to admire him greatly, which probably makes his rift with Othello even worse. Even Brabantio was on friendly terms with Othello before Desdemona’s elopement, as Othello visited their home frequently and spent enough time there for Desdemona to get to know him.

However, Othello is also set apart due to his skin color. Many of the characters often refer to him as “the Moor” instead of using his name. Even his best friend Cassio and his wife Desdemona refer to him as such several times. By doing this they seem to draw attention to the fact that Othello is different from them, marking him as “the other”.

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