Othello Questions and Answers
by William Shakespeare

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How is the character of Othello conveyed by other characters in the first scene of Othello and how is the character we see in scenes ii and iii different?

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The Othello which is presented to us in Act I scene i of William Shakespeare's Othello is not an exemplary character. In fact, he is painted as an ineffective leader and a disreputable scoundrel in the conversation between Iago and Roderigo, though of course he is never mentioned by name. 

First, Iago makes it clear that he thinks Othello is a terrible military leader, and it is equally clear that Iago hates the Moor. (Of course, this should clue the audience in to the fact that we should not necessarily believe everything Iago says about Othello, but of course we cannot be sure yet.) He tells his friend that three prominent Venetians asked Othello, on Iago's behalf, to make Iago his lieutenant, but Othello said:

...For “Certes,” says he,
“I have already chose my officer.”
Obviously this is another reason for Iago to berate Othello, claiming that the man Othello chose for a lieutenant, Cassio, is unworthy of the position because he has no practical experience. Iago claims that the man...

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