Explicitly written from the perspective of a second-generation British Cypriot, this article examines the relevance of Shakespeare’s Othello to the modern troubles of Cyprus. Drawing on the recurrent imperialist and nationalist struggles to control Cyprus, in Shakespeare’s day and our own, the article explains how the author’s upcoming book, Othello’s Secret: The Cyprus Problem, radically reinterprets the domestic and military tensions of Othello as precursors to the island’s more recent wars and divisions. Insight into the way an English writer in the early modern period understood Cyprus can contribute to the way scholars in the British academy understand the bard both in his context and in ours. Consequently, the article challenges the conventional Anglophone scholarly focus on Venice, highlighting a surprising academic blindspot given Britain’s historical and ongoing colonial presence on Cyprus. In so doing, it reframes Othello as a play about Cyprus, offering a more personal account of how research on Shakespeare can purposefully contribute to geopolitical debates.
How to CiteChristofides R. M. (2015) “What is Othello’s Secret?”, Identity Papers. 1(2). doi: https://doi.org/10.5920/idp.2015.1213