He opens the poem by setting the scene at Lepanto "betwixt the baptiz'd race, / And circumcised Turband Turkes" (202).
It has to be seen as a certain kind of contribution to the mythos of Lepanto, where heroic, epic models are caused to predominate, and where the events are refashioned, then, into a parable of epic heroism" (11) James has carefully chosen an historical event, the information about which he has gleaned from various sources, that pits Christian forces against "the one enemy that no one in his audience would have trouble reviling." (12) By force of his regal position and skill as a writer, James helps establish an understanding of the Battle of Lepanto in stark terms that demonize the Turkish forces: "baptiz'd" believers versus the "circumcised Turband Turkes."
(351-56) Othello seems to recall the opening of James's Lepanto in which the king contrasts the "baptiz'd race, / And circumcised Turband Turkes." In Aleppo Othello may have killed a Turk, but how is he any better now?
The textual spur for his inquiry is the hero's final speech in Othello in which a suicide is figured as the resolution of a conflict "in Aleppo once" between "a Malignant and a Turband
Turke" and "Venetian." This convergence of "malignancy" and geographical location is, however, not consistent, since, in the later play, Macbeth, Aleppo is represented as "a merchant city where one might hope to evade the malignancy whose normal place of residence is Scotland" (27).