William Shakespeare's Othello is the tale of the green-eyed monster.
William Shakespeare's plays, sonnets and poems at AbsoluteShakespeare.com
Home Plays Sonnets Poems Quotes Summaries Essays Glossary Links Help

HOME > Plays > Othello, the Moor of Venice

Othello, the Moor of Venice

Study Guides
Hamlet
Julius Caesar
King Henry IV
King Lear
Macbeth
Merchant of Venice
Othello
Romeo and Juliet
The Tempest
Twelfth Night

Trivia
Authorship
Bard Facts
Bibliography
Biography
FAQ
Films
Globe Theatre
Pictures
Quiz
Timeline

Othello Play

Othello begins with Iago, a soldier arguing with Roderigo, a wealthy Venetian who has paid Iago to spy on Othello, since he wishes to take this man's girlfriend, Desdemona himself. He suspects Iago has not been keeping his end of the bargain. Iago reveals his hatred of Othello for choosing Cassio as his officer, not him. To regain Roderigo's trust, Iago and Roderigo inform Brabantio, Desdemona's father of her relationship with Othello, infuriating Brabantio. Othello explains how he and Desdemona fell in love, the two marrying. Othello is ordered to Cypress to fight the Turks. Roderigo gives up on Desdemona but Iago tells him not to since he wants to keep taking his money. Iago explains his plan to avenge Othello by suggesting Cassio is sleeping with Desdemona. Iago tells Roderigo he still has a chance with Desdemona but Cassio stands in his way.

Iago informs Othello that Cassio is having an affair with Desdemona. Iago then tells Roderigo to attack Cassio, Cassio wounding Roderigo. Cassio is demoted. Iago suggests Cassio speak with Desdemona. Some time later, Cassio speaks with Desdemona who resolves to keep putting in a good word for Cassio until he is an officer again. Othello complains of a headache to Desdemona, resulting in her dropping a handkerchief, his first gift to her. Iago makes sure Cassio finds this. Othello demands proof of Desdemona's infidelity from Iago. Reluctantly Iago tells him he saw Cassio wipe his brow with Desdemona's handkerchief. Convinced, Iago is promoted to lieutenant and ordered to kill Cassio. Meanwhile, Desdemona worries about her missing handkerchief, knowing it could make her husband doubt her fidelity. Sure enough she is asked for the handkerchief by her suspicious husband but cannot find it... Iago now suggests Desdemona shared her bed with Cassio. Iago then talks to Cassio about Cassio's mistress Bianca, each smile and gesture infuriating a hidden Othello who thinks Cassio is talking about sleeping with Desdemona. Bianca then arrives, angrily giving back Desdemona's handkerchief that Cassio gave her. Furious, Othello decides to kill Desdemona in her bed, Iago's idea. We learn Iago has been pocketing Roderigo's gifts for Desdemona. Fearing Roderigo will learn this, Iago tells him that Cassio must die...

Desdemona is ordered by her husband to wait for him in bed... Desdemona, depressed, recalls a song of a maid who was similarly abused by her husband. Iago tells Roderigo how to kill Cassio. Roderigo attacks Cassio but Cassio wounds Roderigo. Iago from behind, stabs Cassio, wounding him in the leg. Seizing Roderigo, Iago stabs and wounds him "in revenge" for wounding his "friend" Cassio. Bianca arrives, Iago blaming Cassio's injuries on her... Desdemona's jealous husband arrives, trying to convince himself that he is killing her for her own good. Desdemona awakens, asking what wrong she has committed, her husband telling her that she gave Cassio his handkerchief, meaning he thinks she had an affair. Desdemona pleads her innocence, saying Cassio can prove her innocence. Her husband replies Cassio confessed and is dead, then kills Desdemona. Emilia reveals Iago has killed Roderigo, Desdemona not revealing who killed her before dying. Othello tells Emilia he killed Desdemona, Emilia despite Iago's frantic attempts to stop her, revealing that she found the hankerchief and gave it to Iago. Iago stabs Emilia, escaping, Emilia dying. Iago is captured, Othello stabbing but not killing him before having his sword removed. Lodovico learns of the plot against Cassio. Iago proudly confirming that Cassio found the handkerchief because Iago wanted him to. Othello, realising what he has done, kills himself, lying on top of his wife. Cassio is placed in charge of Iago, Lodovico leaving to discuss this sad matter...

Contents

Dramatis Personæ

Act I
Scene I, Scene II, Scene III

Act II
Scene I,
Scene II, Scene III

Act III
Scene I, Scene II, Scene III, Scene IV

Act IV
Scene I, Scene II, Scene III

Act V
Scene I, Scene II

< PREVIOUS
Copyright 2000-2005 AbsoluteShakespeare.com. All rights reserved.  Contact Us  Privacy  Awards