Othello Questions and Answers
by William Shakespeare

Othello book cover
Start Your Free Trial

In Act II, why does Shakespeare move the action of his play Othello from Venice to Cyprus?

Expert Answers info

malibrarian eNotes educator | Certified Educator

calendarEducator since 2007

write722 answers

starTop subjects are Literature and History

One could speculate about Shakespeare's reasoning for plot development.  For Iago to have complete control over the future of Othello and Desdemona, Shakespeare had to have them somewhat isolated from the hustle and bustle of Venice (including Desdemona's father).  So it's possible that Shakespeare determined this as a way to work out his plot.

However, if you check the link below, there is historical information as to where Shakespeare got the idea for this play in the first place, as well as what information he must have had about Venice having temporary control over the island of Cyprus during the wars between Venice and Turkey.

As with any play, there were probably multiple reasons for this geographical relocation of the characters.  The more you read and study the play, as well as background information related to "Othello," the more you'll be able to develop your own theories about this issue.  Good luck!

Further Reading:

check Approved by eNotes Editorial