Geographical Juxtaposition in Othello 12th Grade

Geographical juxtaposition is not uncommon in the genius works of William Shakespeare. In his renowned play, Othello, Shakespeare exploits the stark contrasts in the story’s two settings, the two cities of Venice and Cyprus. Shakespeare presents the environmental, moral, and behavioral dichotomies between Venice and Cyprus (and of the characters in said environments) as they relate to the central meaning of trusting one’s instincts.

The environments of Venice and Cyprus, respectively, cultivate the instincts and rationality of its citizens. Venice, north of Cyprus, is a place in which law and order dictates society; civilization thrives and, as suggested in the overwhelming number of wealthy senators (i.e. the senator Brabantio, the father of Desdemona) in Othello, many are prosperous. The orderly environment of Venice has pertinence to the idea that one should trust his instincts. One is able to think rationally in Venice because the city is not in the midst of pandemonium as its converse (the city of Cyprus) is. For example, the Duke of Venice -- when bombarded with Brabantio’s absurd dissertation that Othello uses witchcraft to court his daughter, Desdemona -- utilizes his sensibility (cultivated by his environment) to...

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