What news does Othello bring regarding the war?

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poetrymfa's profile pic

poetrymfa | College Teacher | (Level 2) Educator

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The human element of Shakespeare's Othello is framed by the threat of war in the background--or more specifically, the fear that Cyprus (which is strategically held by the Venetian army) will be invaded by the Turkish army on a fleet of ships. This explains why Othello, a general for the Venetians, and the other characters are positioned in Cyprus rather than in Venice: to prepare for the attack that certainly is coming.

However, in Act Two, Scene One, Othello arrives on the shores of Cyprus with an important announcement: the Turkish forces have all drowned at sea in the midst of an enormous storm. This is a critical (although historically incorrect) moment in the play, as it allows for the true battleground to become a mental rather than physical one, with the malicious Iago invading the minds of his peers and superiors. Thus, although it may not be in a literal battle, blood will certainly be shed.

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Jamie Wheeler | College Teacher | eNotes Employee

Posted on

Othello brings good news (in his opinion). He declares victory in 2.1.199 to Desdemona, Iago, Cassio and others:

"News, friends: are wars are done, the Turks are drowned."

Othello is thrilled. He sends Iago to his "coffers" to reward the captain for his victory:

"...O my sweet,
I prattle out of fasion, and I dote
In mine own comforts. I prithee, good Iago,
Go to the bay and disembark my coffers.
Bring thou the master to the citadel.
He is a good one, and his worthiness
Does chalenge much respect." (2.1.202-208)

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