Witchcraft is prominently raised as a major theme in Shakespeare’s Othello in the first act, when Brabantio suspects that his daughter Desdemona may have been influenced by witchcraft to fall in love with Othello and marry him. When Brabantio first encounters Othello, he exclaims,
O thou foul thief, where hast thou stowed my daughter?
Damned as thou art, thou hast enchanted her! (1.2.61-62)
He then develops these accusations at length. Later, when both men appear before the ducal court at Venice, Brabantio again publicly charges Othello with having used “spells and medicines” to steal Desdemona (1.3.61). He says that she would never have consented to the marriage if “witchcraft” had not been used (1.3.64). He elaborates further on such charges when he accuses Othello of “practices of cunning hell” (102).
Othello, in defending his...
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