Far more important than his colour is Othello's cultural background, from a military Islamic society strongly influenced by an ancient and sophisticated Persian culture, and with trading contacts with India and China. It is unlikely he would have reached the rank of general in his own country, let alone Venice, without education in science and the arts. Arab culture saw no incompatibility between a soldier's profession and an appreciation of literature and poetry. They were essential, social accomplishments, hence those poetic and storytelling skills which captivated Desdemona. Yet this sophisticated gentleman is too often portrayed as an unpolished simpleton played upon by the cunning Venetian.
Cast a man of any colour as Othello but, please, let us see a more imaginative interpretation than theatrical tradition has afforded us.
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