Othello Questions and Answers
by William Shakespeare

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Why does Shakespeare move the setting of the play Othello to Cyprus?

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Lynn Ramsson eNotes educator | Certified Educator

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The island of Cyprus has important mythological significance as it has long been associated with Venus, the goddess of love. The action of The Tragedy of Othello moves to Cyprus when the Turks invade Venice, leading Othello and Desdemona to flee to the military encampment in Cyprus where they mistakenly believe their safety can be assured. Symbolically, this move to Cyprus is significant because the safety of Cyprus is a false one; Othello and Desdemona ironically lose their lives in a place where they were originally hoping to be safe. Another layer to the irony of this move relates to the fact that Iago's manipulation and his goals to ruin both Othello and Desdemona and to poison their love for each other are successful on an island that should be sacred to lovers thanks to its link to Venus.

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Thanh Munoz eNotes educator | Certified Educator

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A key point about the action moving to Cyprus, I believe, involves the issue of Othello's military prowess and his loyalty to the Venetians.

Venice, and Europe as a whole at the time Othello takes place,...

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parkerlee eNotes educator | Certified Educator

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Shakespere change the setting of the play from Venice to Cyprus so that all the characters are removed from the burning effects of the civil society and are released from Venice's influence and authority over them. It gives them independence from the "controlled" world they had.

It gives them liberty and gives them a portal to express their freedom and let their nature matarialized and evolve and take control over themselves