It excites our sympathy in an extraordinary degree. The picturesque contrasts of character in this play are almost as remarkable as the depth of the passion. The words "honest" and "honesty" appear repeatedly in the play, used primarily by Iago, or in reference to him; ironically, Iago is the only person in the play whom Othello trusts to judge who is and is not honest, and the only one whose integrity is not questioned until it is too late.
The Moorish general sacks Cassio on the spot: "Cassio I love thee, but never more be officer of mine. If 'twere no other! He is an amateur of tragedy in real life; and instead of employing his invention on imaginary characters, or long-forgotten incidents, he takes the bolder and more desperate course of getting up his plot at home, casts the principal parts among his nearest friends and connections, and rehearses it in down-right earnest, with steady nerves and unabated resolution.
During the time period when Othello was written, there were in fact free blacks in England, however, racism was even more pronounced in Shakespeare's England than it is in the play.
The nature of the Moor is noble, confiding, tender, and generous; but his blood is of the most inflammable kind; and being once roused by a sense of his wrongs, he is stopped by no considerations of remorse or pity till he has given a loose to all the dictates of his rage and his despair.
Her romantic turn is only a consequence of the domestic and practical part of her disposition; and instead of following Othello to the wars, she would gladly have "remained at home a moth of peace," if her husband could have staid with her. In love with Desdemona and prepared to do anything to get her, Roderigo is easily manipulated by the evil Iago.
But for a satisfaction of my thought, No further harm. Some persons, more nice than wise, have thought this whole character unnatural, because his villainy is without a sufficient motive.