Shakespeare portrays Venice as incredibly advanced for its time. This is seen especially though its democratic justice system, as we are shown that in Act One everybody has a voice regardless of their colour or sex. The fact that Othello has obtained the high position of “general” within the army suggests that his chances have by no means been restricted by the colour of his skin. Also the fact that he is treated with the utmost respect from the Duke, the highest authority in Venice, shows that the colour of ones skin is not seen as a disadvantage in Venetian society. We are aware of its reputation as a very sexual city through the booming sex trade and it is viewed as a very cosmopolitan city due to its importance as a trading port.
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These characters all speak about him with contempt and without respect, undermining Othello’s senior position as General. Not only do two noblemen of Venice; Roderigo and Brabantio disrespect him; but Iago, one of his senior officers, does also. Therefore we assume that Othello is not respected by anyone in Venice because he is a monster and therefore “different” to everyone else. They extinguish any possibilities of pure love between Desdemona and Othello through suggesting that he tricked her into marriage by use of witchcraft: “if she in chains of magic were not bound…” and the excessive use of sexual imagery exposes Othello as very sexual, rampant and violent: “an old black ram is tupping at your white ewe”.
However when we are finally introduced to Othello we see that these differences are completely unfounded as he is genteel, exceptionally articulate, powerful, calm and respected. When confronted by Brabantio’s anger Othello remains calm and dignified: “hold your hands”. Othello also reveals in one of his speeches that he has had very little experience with women as all he has ever known is fighting and war, which shows that Iago’s description of Othello as a rampant monster is completely false: “For since these arms of mine had seven years pith till now some nine moons wasted, they have used their dearest action in the tented field”. He also radiates modesty: “Rude am I in my speech” and addresses Brabantio