Moor of Venice

Encyclopedia Article


A reference to the character of Othello in Shakespeare's tragedy of the same name. Othello, who was referred to as "the Moor of Venice" in the play, was a black general tormented by racial insecurities who eventually murdered his white wife, Desdemona, in a fit of jealous rage.

A historically anachronistic reference from the medieval period, the word Moor typically refers to North Africans who invaded the Iberian Peninsula in the eighth century as the vanguard of the Islamic Empire. The Moors were expelled by force from Spain by the Catholic queen Isabella in 1492.

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"The Russian actor and director Constantin Stanislavski as William Shakespeare's Othello, 1896" by is licensed under Public Domain.

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