Analysis Of Othello
Get the Summary of Othello Themes of the play “Othello Summary of Act1 to Act5 in Othello Roles of Major and minor character in Othello
Summary of Othello
The play opens in the powerful city state of Venice, famous as a center of trade and banking and for its military might. It is in the early hours of the morning, and two men — Roderigo, a young gentleman and former suitor of Senator Brabantio’s daughter Desdemona, and Iago, an ensign who claims to have been passed over for promotion by Othello — are outside Senator Brabantio’s house to tell him the news of his daughter’s elopement with Othello, the Moor. After sharing the news of the secret marriage in words calculated to alarm him, the treacherous and vindictive Iago quickly departs, leaving Roderigo to confirm the story. Feigning friendship and concern, Iago then meets with Othello and tells him of Brabantio’s reaction. Brabantio, Othello, and Desdemona appear before the Duke of Venice. Although Brabantio accuses Othello of seducing his daughter by witchcraft, Othello explains that he won Desdemona by telling her his adventures, and Desdemona, called to testify, convinces the senators that she has freely gone with Othello and married him for love. The Duke appoints Othello as general of the defense forces against the Turks, and he must leave for Cyprus immediately. Desdemona requests permission to accompany Othello to Cyprus. With the Duke’s permission, Othello arranges for Desdemona to follow him later in another ship with Iago, whom he mistakenly believes is a trusted friend, and Iago’s wife, Emilia. Iago convinces Roderigo that Desdemona will soon tire of Othello and that he should follow her to Cyprus. To himself, Iago decides to make use of Cassio, the man he deeply resents and who received the promotion he himself wanted, as the instrument to destroy Othello. In Cyprus, Iago plots against Othello, planting the seed of doubt about Desdemona’s fidelity and implicating Cassio as her lover. Using Roderigo, Iago arranges a fight that ultimately results in Cassio’s demotion. Believing that his chances of reinstatement are better if he has Desdemona plead his case to her husband, Cassio, with Iago’s help, arranges for a private meeting with Desdemona, who promises to speak on his behalf to Othello until his reconciliation with Othello is achieved. As Cassio leaves, Iago and Othello appear. Othello notices Cassio’s speedy departure, and Iago quickly seizes the opportunity to point out that Cassio seems to be trying to avoid the Moor. Desdemona immediately and enthusiastically begins to beg Othello to pardon Cassio, as she promised, and will not stop her pleading until Othello, preoccupied with other thoughts, agrees. The moment Desdemona and Emilia leave, however, Iago begins to plant seeds of doubt and suspicion in Othello’s mind. Othello, beset by uncertainty and anxiety, later demands of Iago some proof that Desdemona is unfaithful. Using a handkerchief that Desdemona later innocently drops, Iago convinces Othello that she has been unfaithful, and he stages a conversation with the innocent Cassio that further hardens the Moor’s heart against his wife and her supposed lover. Convinced of his wife’s betrayal and enraged and grieving, Othello rushes into action, making an agreement with Iago that he, Othello, will kill Desdemona, and Iago will dispose of Cassio. Desdemona, true to her word to Cassio, continues to plead on his behalf, unknowingly confirming to Othello her unfaithfulness. He accuses her of falseness, and Desdemona, not knowing what she has done to offend, can only assure him that she loves him. Meanwhile, the gullible Roderigo has abandoned all hope of Desdemona, but Iago urges him to kill Cassio and rekindle his hopes. Late that night, they attack Cassio in the street, but it is Cassio who wounds Roderigo. Iago rushes out and stabs Cassio in the leg. Othello, hearing Cassio’s cries for help, believes that half of the revenge is completed and hastens to fulfil his undertaking. Desdemona is in bed when Othello enters. He tells her to pray a last prayer as he has no wish to kill her soul. Realizing that he plans to murder her, Desdemona protests her innocence of any wrongdoing. Knowing that he doesn’t believe her, she begs him to let her live just a little longer, but he smothers her with a pillow. Emilia, Desdemona’s servant and Iago’s wife, upon discovering the ruse, raises the alarm and declares Iago a liar before Montano and Gratiano. She explains how Desdemona’s handkerchief came into Cassio’s possession, and when she refuses to be quiet, Iago stabs her. Cassio, wounded, confirms Emilia’s story. A soldier to the last, Othello stands on his honor. Knowing that this is the end, he asks to be remembered as “one that loved not wisely but too well.” Then he stabs himself and falls on the bed beside his wife, where he dies.
Major scene of Othello
•Act I, scene iii, the scene in front of the senators in which Othello tells how he wooed Desdemona and she declares she loves him freely. •Act II, scene iii, the scene in which Cassio is drawn by Iago first into drinking then brawling. Othello relieves Cassio of his duties after hearing Iago’s “reluctant” testimony. •Act III, scene iii, the second part of the scene in which Iago begins to poison Othello’s view of Desdemona. •Act IV, scene i, the scene in which Othello is hidden listening to Cassio talk to Iago about Bianca, but Othello thinks he is talking about Desdemona. •Act IV, scene iii, the part of the scene between Emilia and Desdemona, in which the two women discuss their different responses to the temptations to betray their marriage vows. •Act V, scene ii, the scene in which Othello murders Desdemona.
Themes of the play “Othello”
The theme of Sex
Shakespeare’s play explores some common sixteenth century anxieties about miscegenation (interracial sex and marriage) by examining the relationship between a black man who marries a white woman, accuses her of being unfaithful, and then strangles her on her wedding sheets. In Othello, most male characters assume that women are inherently promiscuous, which explains why all three women characters in the play are accused of sexual infidelity. It also explains, in part, why it’s possible for Iago to so easily manipulate Othello into believing his wife is having an affair. Othello is also notable for its portrayal of homoerotic desire, which seems to be a factor in Iago’s plot to destroy Othello and Desdemona.
The theme of Marriage
Shakespeare’s portrayal of marriage is pretty bleak in Othello. The play begins with a conflict between Desdemona’s husband and her father, who sees his daughter’s elopement as a kind of theft of his personal property. The play’s two wives (Desdemona and Emilia) are both unfairly accused of infidelity, and both wives are murdered by their abusive husbands. More famously, perhaps, is the way Shakespeare examines sixteenth-century anxieties about interracial couplings – in Othello, the marriage of a black man and a white woman allows Shakespeare to explore attitudes about race and gender.
The theme of Gender
Gender relations are pretty antagonistic in Othello. Unmarried women are regarded as their fathers’ property and the play’s two marriages are marked by male jealousy and cruelty (both wives are murdered by their own husbands). Most male characters in Othello assume that all Venetian women are inherently promiscuous, which explains why female sexuality is a huge threat to men in the play. Othello is easily convinced his wife is cheating on him and feels emasculated and humiliated as a result. We should also note that it’s impossible to discuss gender and sexuality without considering race – several characters in the play, including Othello, believe that black men sexually contaminate white women, which may partially explain why Othello sees his wife as soiled. See also our discussions of “Race” and “Sex” for more on this topic.
The theme of Manipulation
Othello’s villain, Iago, may be literature’s most impressive master of deception. Iago plots with consummate sophistication, carefully manipulating Othello (without any real proof) into believing that Desdemona has been unfaithful. His understanding of the human psyche is phenomenal, as is his ability to orchestrate a complicated interweaving of pre-planned scenarios. Iago’s deception is potent because of his patience, his cleverness, and what seems to be his intrinsic love of elegant manipulation.
The theme of Identity
In Othello, Shakespeare explores factors that play an important role in the formations of one’s identity – race, gender, social status, family relationships, military service, etc. Othello is also concerned with how an individual’s sense of identity (which can break down and be manipulated by others) shapes his or her actions.
The theme of Race
Othello is one of the first black heroes in English literature. A military general, he has risen to a position of power and influence. At the same time, however, his status as a black-skinned foreigner in Venice marks him as an outside and exposes him to some pretty overt racism, especially by his wife’s father, who believes his daughter’s interracial marriage can only be the result of Othello’s trickery. Because the play portrays fears of miscegenation (the intermixing of races via marriage and/or sex), it’s nearly impossible to talk about race in Othello without also discussing gender and sexuality.
The Theme of Jealousy
Othello is the most famous literary work that focuses on the dangers of jealousy. The play is a study of how jealousy can be fueled by mere circumstantial evidence and can destroy lives. (In Othello, the hero succumbs to jealousy when Iago convinces him that Desdemona has been an unfaithful wife – in the end, Othello murders his wife and then kills himself.) It is interesting that Iago uses jealousy against Othello, yet jealousy is likely the source of Iago’s hatred in the first place. In Othello, jealousy takes many forms, from sexual suspicion to professional competition, but it is, in all cases, destructive.
Summary of Act1 to Act5 in Othello
Summary of Act I, Scene 1 In the streets of Venice, Iago tells Roderigio of his hatred for Othello, who has given Cassio the lieutenancy that Iago wanted and has made Iago a mere ensign. At Iago’s suggestion, he and Roderigo, a former suitor to Desdemona, awake Desdemona’s father to tell him that Desdemona has eloped with Othello. This news enrages Brabantio, who organizes an armed band to search out Othello. Summary of Act I, Scene 2 Iago warns Othello about Brabantio’s anger, but Othello is confident in his own strength and in his love for Desdemona. Cassio arrives with orders from Othello: Othello is to meet with the duke and senators of Venice about about a Turkish invasion of the Venetian colony of Cyprus. Brabantio and his armed band come to seize Othello, who persuades Brabantio to accompany him to the duke, where Othello has been summoned and where Brabantio can present his case against Othello for his “theft” of Desdemona.
Summary of Act I, Scene 3 The duke and the senators discuss the movements of the Turkish fleet and conclude that its target is, indeed, Cyprus. When Brabantio and Othello arrive, the duke insists on evidence to support the old man’s charge that Othello has bewitched Desdemona. At Othello’s suggestion, the duke sends for Desdemona. Othello describes his courtship of Desdemona, who, when she enters, tells her father and the senators that she has married Othello because she loves him. She thereby vindicates Othello before the senate. The duke orders Othello immediately to Cyprus and grants Desdemona her wish to join him there. Othello gives Iago the duty of conveying Desdemona to Cyprus. Alone with Iago, Roderigo, now in despair of winning Desdemona’s love, threatens suicide, but Iago persuades him instead to sell his lands for ready cash and pursue Desdemona to Cyprus. Iago beings to plot to himself how he may use Othello’s marriage to get back at Othello and to get Cassio’s place as lieutenant. Summary of Act II, Scene 1 A terrible storm has struck Cyprus, just as the Turks were about to approach. This might mean that the Turkish attack will not happen; but it also bodes badly for Othello’s ship. A messenger enters, and confirms that the Turkish fleet was broken apart by the storm, and that Cassio has arrived, though Othello is still at sea. They spot a ship coming forth; but Iago, Desdemona, and Emilia are on it, not Othello. Cassio greets them all, especially praising Desdemona; somehow, Iago and Desdemona enter into an argument about what women are, and Iago shows how little praise he believes women deserve. Othello arrives at last, and is very glad to see his wife arrived, much earlier than expected; he and Desdemona make public signs of their love, and then depart. Iago speaks to Roderigo, convincing him that Desdemona will stray from Othello, as she has already done with Cassio. He convinces Roderigo to attack Cassio that night, as he plans to visit mischief on both Othello and Cassio. Summary of Act II, Scene 2 Othello’s herald enters, to proclaim that the Turks are not going to attack, all should be joyful, and Othello is celebrating the happiness of his recent marriage.
Summary of Act II, Scene 3 Iago and Cassio are on the watch together; Iago gets Cassio to drink a bit, knowing that he cannot hold his liquor at all. Iago also tries to get Cassio’s feelings about Desdemona, and make her seem tempting to him; but his intentions are innocent and friendly, so this approach fails. Cassio leaves for a bit, and Iago says that he intends to get Cassio drunk, that will hopefully cause a quarrel between Cassio and Roderigo, who has been stirred up against Cassio. Iago wants to see Cassio discredited through this, so that he might take Cassio’s place. Montano and others come, and Iago entertains them with small talk and song; soon, Cassio is drunk, and Roderigo has approached. Cassio fights offstage with Roderigo, and comes forth, chasing him; Montano tries to hinder Cassio, but Cassio just ends up injuring him. All the noise wakes Othello, who comes down to figure out what has happened. Montano tells what he knows of it all, and Iago fills in the rest, making sure to fictionalize his part in it all too. Cassio is stripped of his rank, and all leave Cassio and Iago alone. Cassio laments that he has lost his reputation, which is very dear to him. Iago tries to convince him that a reputation means little; and, if he talks to Desdemona, maybe he can get her to vouch for him with Othello. This will help Iago get the impression across that Desdemona and Cassio are together, which will make Othello very angry if it works. Iago then gives a soliloquy about knowing that Desdemona will speak for Cassio, and that he will be able to turn that against them both. . Just then, Iago enters and is shocked to see Cassio has not yet gone to bed. (Cassio is eager to make his case to Desdemona.) Cassio says he’s already sent for Emilia, and Iago promises to send her to Cassio post-haste, so she can hear his plea and make it to Desdemona. In the meantime, Iago promises to lure Othello away from Desdemona, so Cassio can speak with her freely. Iago exits to do more evil master-planning. After Cassio praises Iago for his kindness and honesty, Emilia enters and reports that Desdemona is already pleading to Othello on Cassio’s behalf. Othello worries that Montano, Cassio’s victim, is kind of a big deal in Cyprus, though Othello has decided that his liking for Cassio should be enough to overcome the fact that Cassio has wronged the wrong guy. (There are guys you hit, and there are guys you don’t hit. Montano is a guy you don’t hit, and Othello is the guy who tells you that.) Cassio asks Emilia if perhaps he might speak to Desdemona alone. Emilia goes to see if she can arrange such a meeting. Act 3, Scene 2 Cut to Othello and Iago in the citadel. Othello bids Iago to give his regards to the Senate, and instructs him to meet later at the fortifications that are being built. Meanwhile, he’s off to inspect said fortifications, which conveniently gets him out of the way for Cassio to have private, incriminating time with Desdemona.
Act 3, Scene 3 Cassio has explained the whole situation to Desdemona, and she promises to not rest until she’s convinced Othello to grant Cassio’s acceptance back into the military as well as Othello’s personal friendship. Cassio declares he’s forever indebted to her, and Desdemona again emphasizes that she’ll do everything she can. She even says, “Thy solicitor shall rather die/ Than give thy cause away” (3.3.27-28). Definition: foreshadowing. Seeing Othello coming, Cassio decides it’s time to leave. Desdemona tells him to stay, but Cassio feels too weird and hurries out. Thus, Iago begins his make-Othello-jealous campaign by commenting on how weird it is that Cassio hurried off so quickly, like a thief stealing away in the night. Desdemona jumps right into sweet-talking Othello and campaigning for Cassio. She claims that Cassio is really sorry, and suggests Othello call Cassio back to plead his case. Othello says “not now,” and Desdemona says something like, “well, maybe tomorrow, or Tuesday morning, or Tuesday night, or Wednesday morning, or how about Wednesday night?” When Othello keeps putting her off, Desdemona claims she would never deny him anything, so why won’t he listen to her? Besides, she has his best interests in mind. Othello responds that he will deny her nothing, but in the meantime could she please leave him alone. Iago asks fake-casual questions about Cassio, whom Othello says was often a go-between when he courted Desdemona. Iago keeps dropping uncomfortable hints, and finally, Othello demands to know what’s bothering him. Iago says he’d rather not say, and then Othello presses him, and then Iago says he’d rather not say, and Othello presses. Eventually, after Iago has cast doubt on Cassio’s honesty, suggested he is disloyal, and hinted that Desdemona is unfaithful, Iago tells Othello, “O beware, my lord, of jealousy; It is the green-eyed monster which doth mock / the meet it feeds on” (3.3.166-168). That’s great, except that by “beware” he really means “I hope you become jealous and kill your wife, because that would be ironic.” Othello says that he’s not the type to get jealous – he builds his conclusions upon having suspicions, but only after he investigates them. If something seems wrong, he’ll find out what’s happening right away and resolve the situation. Othello knows Desdemona is desirable, and that he himself isn’t, but that doesn’t bother him. “She had eyes and chose me,” Othello tells himself (3.3.190). Further, Othello promises he has to see something to raise his suspicion before he’d have doubts about his wife’s loyalty, and if he were to see and have doubts, he’d prove whether they were justified right away. This strategy helps him avoid being too influenced in his reason by love or jealousy. It’s a good plan, except if it does exist, he doesn’t use it. Iago essentially says, “OK, if you promise you won’t be jealous, you should watch Desdemona with Cassio, but objectively, and not out of jealousy.” Iago says he knows
Act III, scene iv: Before the castle. Summary Desdemona asks the clown where Cassio is, and the clown goes off to fetch him. Desdemona is looking everywhere for the handkerchief, as she knows that her losing it will upset Othello greatly. Othello enters, and asks for Desdemona’s handkerchief; she admits that she does not have it, and then Othello tells her of its significance and alleged magical powers. Desdemona does not like Othello’s tone; he seems obsessed with this object, and Desdemona is so frightened by him that she wishes she had nothing to do with it. She interrupts Othello’s inquiry by bringing up Cassio’s attempt to get back into Othello’s favor; Othello becomes angry, and storms out. Desdemona and Emilia both note that Othello is much changed; he is unkind and seems jealous, and they are suspicious of the change in him. Cassio then enters, with Iago; he laments that his suit is not successful, and that Othello does not seem likely to take him back. Desdemona is sorry for this, since she knows that Cassio is a man of worth; she tells Cassio and Iago that Othello has been acting strangely, and is upset, and Iago goes to look for him, feigning concern. Emilia thinks that Othello’s change has something to do with Desdemona, or Othello’s jealous nature; they still cannot fathom what has happened, and exit, leaving Cassio. Bianca comes in, and Cassio asks her to copy the handkerchief that he found in his room; it is Desdemona’s handkerchief, though Cassio has no idea. He claims he does not love her, and gets angry with her for allegedly suspecting that the handkerchief is a gift of another woman. But, Bianca is not disturbed, and leaves with the handkerchief.
Act IV, scene i: Cyprus. Before the castle. Summary Othello is trying, even after swearing that Desdemona was unfaithful, not to condemn her too harshly. He is talking with Iago about the handkerchief still, and its significance in being found; but, soon, Iago whips Othello into an even greater fury through mere insinuation, and Othello takes the bait. Othello falls into a trance of rage, and Iago decides to hammer home his false ideas about his wife. Iago calls Cassio in, while Othello hides; Iago speaks to Cassio of Bianca , but Othello, in his disturbed state, believes that Cassio is talking of Desdemona, which is the last “proof” he needs before declaring his wife guilty. Bianca comes in, and gives the handkerchief back to Cassio, since she swears she will have nothing to do with it. Othello is incensed by Cassio, still believing that he was speaking of Desdemona, rather than Bianca. Now, Othello is resolved to kill Desdemona himself, and charges Iago with murdering Cassio. Lodovico, a noble Venetian whom Desdemona knows, has recently landed; Desdemona and Othello welcome him there. But, when Desdemona mentions Cassio, Othello becomes very angry and slaps her in front of everyone; she rushes off, very upset. Lodovico especially is shocked at this change in Othello, and has no idea how such a noble man could act so cruelly.
Act IV, scene ii: A room in the castle. Summary Othello questions Emilia about Desdemona’s guilt, or the chance she has had an affair with Cassio. Emilia admits to having seen nothing, though Othello does not believe her. Emilia swears that she has seen and heard all that has gone on between Cassio and Desdemona, and that Desdemona is pure and true. Othello believes that Emilia is in on the deception; he accuses Desdemona, and her insistence that she is innocent only infuriates him further. Othello leaves, and Desdemona and Emilia try to figure out what has happened to Othello, and what they can do; Desdemona feels especially helpless, and Emilia is very angry. Emilia thinks that someone has manipulated Othello into accusing Desdemona, and has poisoned his mind; however, Iago is there to dispel this opinion, so that Emilia does not inquire further into her theory. Upon leaving the women, Iago comes across Roderigo ; he is not pleased with how Iago has handled things, and knows that although Iago is promising him Desdemona’s favor, he has done nothing to indicate that he has worked to achieve this. Iago quiets him by making him believe that if he kills Cassio, then he will win Desdemona; Roderigo decides to go along with it, but Iago is coming dangerously close to being revealed.
Act IV, scene iii: Another room In the castle. Summary Othello tells Desdemona to go to bed, and dismiss Emilia; Emilia regrets Desdemona’s marriage, although Desdemona cannot say that she does not love Othello. Desdemona knows that she will die soon; she sings a song of sadness and resignation, and decides to give herself to her fate. Desdemona asks Emilia whether she would commit adultery to win her husband the world. Emilia, the more practical one, thinks that it is not too big a price for a small act; Desdemona is too good, and too devout, to say that she would do so.
Act V, scene i: Cyprus. A street. Summary Iago has Roderigo poised and ready to pounce on Cassio , and kill him; if either of them is killed, it is to Iago’s benefit, although he would like to have both of them disposed of, so that his devices might not be discovered. Roderigo and Cassio fight, and both are injured; Othello hears the scuffle, is pleased, and then leaves to finish off Desdemona. Iago enters, pretending that he knows nothing of the scuffle; Gratiano and Lodovico also stumble upon the scene, having no idea what has happened. Roderigo is still alive, so Iago feigns a quarrel, and finishes him off. Bianca comes by, and sees Cassio wounded; Iago makes some remark to implicate her; Cassio is carried away, and Roderigo is already dead. Emilia also comes in, and pins more blame on Bianca; she has done nothing, but Iago has some quick work to do if he is to exonerate himself in this mess.
Act V, scene ii: A bedchamber in the castle: DESDEMONA in bed asleep; a light burning. Summary Othello enters Desdemona’s room while she is asleep; and though she is beautiful, and appears innocent, he is determined to kill her. He justifies this with images, metaphors, and ideas of her rebirth after death, and though his rage is softened, he is still much mistaken about her. Desdemona awakens, and he tells her to repent of any sins before she dies; she believes there is nothing she can do to stop him from killing her, but continues to assert her innocence. Othello tells her that he found her handkerchief with Cassio, though Desdemona insists it must not be true; she pleads with Othello not to kill her, but he begins to smother her. Emilia knocks, curious about what is going on; Othello lets her in, but tries to conceal Desdemona, who he thinks is already dead. Emilia brings the news of Roderigo’s death, and Cassio’s wounding. Emilia soon finds out that Desdemona is nearly dead, by Othello’s hand;Desdemona speaks her last words, and then Emilia pounces on Othello for committing this horrible crime. Othello is not convinced of his folly until Iago confesses his part, and Cassio speaks of the use of the handkerchief; then, Othello is overcome with grief. Iago stabs Emilia for telling all about his plots, and then Emilia dies; theVenetian nobles reveal that Brabantio, Desdemona’s father, is dead, and so cannot be grieved by this tragedy now. Othello stabs Iago when he isbrought back in; Othello then tells all present toremember him how he is,and kills himself. Cassio becomes the temporary leader of the troops at Cyprus, and Lodovico and Gratiano are to carry the news of the tragedy back to Venice. Iago is taken into custody, and his crimes will be judgedback in Venice.
Roles of Major and minor character in Othello
Othello A Moor (an African), a general in thedefense forces of the city state of Venice. His successful profession brings him high status in Venice, but his foreign origins and color separate him from those with whom he lives and works. He is a military man, with a reputation for courage in battle and good judgment in military matters. Othello falls in love and marries Desdemona, but during the campaign against the Turks, Othello is tricked by Iago intobelieving that his wife has been unfaithful with his lieutenant, Cassio. Iago works on Othello’s personal and social insecurity until Othello believes the combination of Iago’s lies and flimsy circumstantial evidence. Inflamed with jealousy, he smothers Desdemona in her bed, only to find out too late that he has been misled and has killed the woman who loved him faithfully. In despair, he kills himself.
: Desdemona is loyal, faithful, and passionately loves Othello.She is shrewd and wise, but is very subtle about it.She dies because she keeps blindingly faithful to Othello, and cannot understand why he believes her to be an adulterous.She asks Cassio to help her cheer up Othello, but Iago manipulates facts to make Othello even more jealous.She is blameless, and she dies tragically, so selfless as to deny that Othello has killed her in her dying breath.
Iago Othello’s ancient (captain) in the Venetian defense forces. He had hoped for promotion, but Othello passed over him in favor of Cassio, andIago works revenge on them both. He exploites Roderigo as a source of money and an unwitting accomplice in his plot to bring down Othello. When finally cornered and charged with his wickedness, Iago refuses to speak or to repent or explain his actions, and he goes to his punishment still surrounded by mystery.
Roderigo A Venetian nobleman in love with Desdemona. He has more money than sense and pays Iago to court Desdemona on his behalf. Iago, playing on Roderigo’s hopes and gullibility, continues to help himself to Roderigo’s money, and Roderigo never gets his heart’s desire. Iago involves Roderigo in an attack on Cassio, for which Roderigo pays with his life, as Iago kills him to ensure his silence.
Cassio is Othello’s choice for his new Lieutenant.Cassio travels from a different city, and his reputation is known in far lands.He is an up and coming soldier, and a good friend to Othello.Cassio and Desdemona try to help Othello’s jealousy together infriendship, but due to Iago’s clouding of Othello’s perception, this leads him to think that they are having an affair.
Brabantio A Venetian Senator, Desdemona’s father. He is angry at his daughter’s choice of husband but can do nothing once the marriage has taken place, and the Venetian Senate has accepted it. He warns Othello that Desdemona is a clever deceiver.
The Duke of Venice
The leader of the governing body of the city state of Venice. The Duke appoints Othello to lead the forces defending Venice against the Turkish attack on Cyprus; he also urges Brabantio to accept his daughter’s marriage.
Emilia is Desdemona’s female servant.She is Iago’s husband, and has a practical and shrewd sense about her that is more apparent than Desdemona’s.Emilia urges Desdemona to confront Othello, and when she learns of Iago’s treachery, she reveals him, even though it costs her life.She is a good friend and companion to Desdemona, but unfortunately she puts into motion the events that lead Othello to believe that he has seen proof of Desdemona’s unfaithfulness.
Gratiano Brabantio’s brother
. He and Lodovico find Cassio wounded after Roderigo stabs him in the drunken brawl.
Lodovico Desdemona’s cousin. After the death of Desdemona, Lodovico questions Othello and Cassio together, thus revealing the truth.
Montano Othello’s predecessor as the governor of Cyprus. He is Othello’s friend and loyal supporter.
Setting of Othello
Venice and Cyprus The play starts in Venice and moves to Cyprus when the Turks invade. Venice is a prosperous Italian city and a symbol of law and civilization. It’s also full of white people, which makes Othello, a black Moor, stand out among the Venetians. (Check out our discussion of the theme of ” Race ” if you want to know about the implications of this.) Venice also happens to be renowned for its courtesans (prostitutes). When the English thought about Venice, they often imagined it to be a city chock full of promiscuous women. Now that’s quite a coincidence, given that Othello’s plot hinges on Othello’s suspicions about his wife’s fidelity, don’t you think? Check out what Thomas Coryat has to say in his account of his travels to Venice: the name of a Courtesan of Venice is vamoosed over all Christendom The woman that professeth this trade is called in the Italian tongue Cotezana, which word is derived from the Italian word cortesia that signifieth courtesie. Because these kinds of women are said to receive courtesies of theirfavorites As for the number of these Venetian courtesans it is very great. For it is thought there are of them in the whole city and other adjacent places, as Murano, Malamocco, etc. at the least twenty thousand, whereof many are esteemed so loose that they are said to open their quivers to every arrow, a most ungodly thing without doubt that there should be tolleration of such licentious wantons in so glorious, so potent, so renowned a city.” (Coryat’sCrudities, 1611) Cyprus Eventually, action moves to a military encampment in Cyprus, an island sacred to Venus, the goddess of love. On the island of love, away from civilization and rationality, all hell breaks loose and Iago is able to convince Othello that Desdemona has been cheating on him. At this military camp, Desdemona has lost any kind of support system she may have had in her hometown of Venice, so she’s vulnerable to the kind of violence associated with the world of men and military.
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