DESDEMONA, only daughter of the Venetian Senator, Brabantio, chose from among her many suitors, Othello, the black Moor, because of his nobility of soul and his eloquence in describing his adventures. Now Othello was foremost general of the State of Venice and at this time sorely needed to repulse the Turkish forces who were even then sailing against the Island of Cyprus. Nevertheless, the Venetian Senate listened fairly to the charges of Brabantio that Othello had successfully wooed his daughter only through the use of sorcery. Othello's defense was so straightforward and so eloquent that they rightfully absolved him of any guilt, whereupon he and his bride set sail for Cyprus.
Meanwhile storms dispersed the Turkish fleet so that the troops on the island had no occupation except that of enjoying themselves. During his courtship Othello had used Cassio, a good-looking young Italian whom he loved and trusted, to further his suit with Desdemona. Now, when a lieutenant was left vacant, he promoted Cassio to the post instead of the older Iago who had expected the preferment.