Othello contains several references to magic. Brabantio accuses Othello of using spells and medicines to corrupt Desdemona who, he says, could not love the Moor "sans magic." Othello reveals that it is the magic of his narratives that won the love of his new bride.

Further, much is made of the protagonist's "darkness." In Shakespeare's plays, the color black was often used to express meaning symbolically. Few characters represented in the plays of the time had dark skin. A notable exception is Aaron from Shakespeare's early tragedy Titus Andronicus. While Othello is a hero, Aaron is a pure villain whose only saving grace is his love for his son.