Wiliam Shakespeare
Contributed by Karim Chandra
Act 1 Scene 2

Iago provides a warning to Othello that there are rumors of the existence of a legal attempt to break his marriage. However, Othello takes confidence in the fact that he is militarily important to the City of Venice. With this in mind, Othello approaches the Duke together with senators with a lot of confidence. Due to a situation that that has arisen in Cyprus, Cassio has been sent to fetch Othello for a meeting. At this moment, Iago meets Cassio and informs him about Othello's marriage. In a little while, Brabantio and his party arrive. The rage on Brabantio's face is unmistakable. Brabantio threatens Othello with violence while at the same time accusing him of using sorcery to seduce his daughter. According to Brabantio, there is no way Desdemona can voluntarily marry Othello.


It is not without a reason that Othello feels incredibly confident even in the face of the seriousness of the accusations that he is facing from Brabantio. In his thinking, and rightly so, Othello is an important factor in Venetian defense forces, and it is unimaginable that any action could be taken against since that would contribute to unprecedented chaos in the management of military affairs. Othello says that "Let him do his spite. / My services which I have done the Signiory / Shall out-tongue his complaints" (18-20). To demonstrate the extent of his love for Desdemona, Othello says that he was born a free man and he would not want to comprise that freedom by marrying a woman, except Desdemona.

When Brabantio arrives together with his party, he is incredibly furious. He threatens Othello with a sword. However, Othello is in the presence of individuals respect and value him. He takes his hand and politely deflects the sword from Brabantio. Ordinarily, threatening a military officer, especially one in the rank of Othello would bring problems. However, out of respect for the elderly Brabantio, Othello exercises restraint. Brabantio does not mince his words in his accusation against Othello. Brabantio charges that "Oh thou foul thief, where hast thou stowed my daughter?" (61-62).

In his first appearance in this scene, Othello exudes a tremendous level of confidence. He is in full control of himself as well as his environment. When Brabantio charges at him, he shows a tremendous level of calm. He deflects the sword without raising a big issue out of it. In this scene, Shakespeare is trying to develop two more dimensions to the play. In the scene. Othello's private life concerning his decision to marry Desdemona has become a big public issue. At the same time, Shakespeare is developing the aspect of the impending attack from the Turks. Othello expects that he should be sent to war in a commanding position. In both of these two developments, Othello is the center of attention. While the audience finds Othello to be an impressive character, there is evidence of a problem with his ethnic background. Othello is a black face that is surrounded by white faces, some of whom are openly and unapologetically hostile to him. Already, the audience is starting to question whether he is capable of surviving the onslaught against him.

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