What Was Shakespeare's Inspiration For Othello?


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Othello was given before King James 1 in the Banqueting House at Whitehall on 1 November 1604. The Turkish invasion of Cyprus, was found in Richard Knolles's "History of the Turks", The tale of a commander deceived by his standard bearer, is taken from Giraldi's "Gli Ecatommiti", Shakespeare compresses the time scene, and also introduces new characters to Giraldi's story, Roderigo, Brabanzio and Bianca. He also introduces the military action between Turkey and Venice, infidels and Christians, giving kudos to Othellos' posting to Cyprus,a protectorate of Venice, which the Turks attacked in 1570 and captured the following year. Shakespeare's decision to make a black man the hero, was bold and imaginative. Blackamoors, (Aaron, in Titus Andronicus for instance),  were usually depicted as sinful and murderous, Othello was the wrongly deceived innocent.

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