aloofness in the way he speaks. It is clear, though, that Othello is in complete control. His words are indeed masterful and charming. His speech to the senate (1.3.129-) is a series of false summits:

Her father loved m, oft invited me

Still questioned me the story of my life

From year to year, the battles, sieges, fortunes

That I have passed.

I ran through it, even from my boyish days

To th’ very moment he bade me tell it

Stop? No, he goes on, "wherein I spake…Of moving accidents…Of hair-breadth scapes…Of being taken by the insolent foe". Again he seems to conclude "…of my redemption thence, and portance in my travailous history", and again resumes "Wherein of antres vast…". With talk of "Anthropophagi" (cannibals) and "men whose heads do grow beneath their shoulders", he conjures an exotic image. But, he is in manners every bit as polished as a Venetian. It is as though he were a savage tamed to civilisation just as he is a Muslim converted to Christianity. He concludes sardonically, "This [love] only is the witchcraft I have used".

In his petition to the Senators of Venice, Othello claims that "She loved me for the dangers I had passed / And I loved her that she did pity them". Whilst this boasting-sympathy couplet might not be a good firm basis for a marriage it is enough to divide Desdemona from her duty to her father, "the lord of duty" and profess " much duty as my mother showed / To you, preferring you before her father". The fidelity of this duty, Desdemona’s love, never wavers throughout the play and is such as tempts Desdemona, at the end of the play, to lie that it was herself and not Othello who was responsible for her death. Brabantio cannot understand this love, a love of someone, whilst impressive, always foreign. With cruel pertinence he advises "Look to her Moor, if thou hast eyes to see: / She has deceived her father, and may thee".

Brabantio indeed feels hard done by – "my particular grief / is of so flood-gate and o’erbearing nature / that it engluts and swallows other sorrows" – that such a foreigner, "the Turk of Cyprus", should take his daughter. His identification of Othello as a foreigner, despite his Venetian manners, is an important theme in the play. The senate hold for Othello. They are in urgent need of his command to defend their empire against the Turks. It is not purely this chance that saves Othello. The general respect in which he is held as a soldier is evident throughout the play. It is this that captivates Desdemona. As Othello says, "My story being done/ she gave me for my pains a world of sighs / She swore in faith ‘twas strange, ‘twas passing strange / ‘Twas wondrous pitiful" and she confirms, "I saw Othello’s visage in his mind/ and of his honours and his valiant parts / did I my soul and fortunes consecrate". This Moor of Cyprus as in her mind seen as the noble and brave warrior that he portrays, even to his dying speech. Othello himself says: "My parts, my title and my soul / Shall manifest me rightly". Both seem to overcome the visual image of Othello as a black man and see him in the same light as a Venetian gentleman. They see his white soul. For this Desdemona loves him and for this she begs to go with him to Cyprus. He reassures them that he wishes her with him not "to please the palate of my appetite / nor to comply with heat...But to be free and bounteous to her mind".

Iago cannot be seen to deride the Moor as a soldier. In this, and perhaps only this, does Iago respect his master. He cannot, however, see past the black skin to the white soul that Desdemona loves. The love that Desdemona professes for him is based purely on sex as far as he is concerned. At then end of the first act, he talks to Roderigo of "love". Again, Iago paints a picture - of our body as a garden whose gardener is our will. He says that our lives are a balance poised between reason and sensuality. Love fits in as "merely a lust of the blood and a permission of the will". This concept of permission suggests that the driving force for love comes from sensuality. Whenever he comments on any form of love in

  By PanEris using Melati.

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