The play starts with Iago and Roderigo discussing Othello's marriage to Desdemona, whom Roderigo professes to love. Iago is angry as Othello gave the promotion he thought he deserved to Cassio. Iago suggests that Othello slept with Emilia, his wife, and he and Roderigo go to tell Desdemona's... read more (warning: may contain spoilers)
The play starts with Iago and Roderigo discussing Othello's marriage to Desdemona, whom Roderigo professes to love. Iago is angry as Othello gave the promotion he thought he deserved to Cassio. Iago suggests that Othello slept with Emilia, his wife, and he and Roderigo go to tell Desdemona's father Brabantio about her elopement. Brabantio is alarmed and suggests that, due to Othello's race (he is described as a Moor) he would rather that she had married Roderigo. Iago hides, so Brabantio doesn't know his identity; then goes to find Othello and tell him about the 'mob' that Brabantio is bringing to confront him. The two groups meet, and are summoned to the senate. Desdemona defends her relationship with Othello, news of war in Cyprus breaks and Iago, Othello, Desdemona, Cassio and Roderigo (in secret) depart for the island.
Upon their arrival they discover that the Turkish fleet has been destroyed en route to Cyprus, so celebrations ensue. Iago pressurises Cassio into drinking too much and uses Roderigo to lure him into fighting. The scuffle ends with Cassio injuring the governor of the isle. Othello is then forced to sack him, and Iago gains the job he is after.
Cassio is upset by his besmirched honour and is advised by Iago to get Desdemona to help him get his job back. Iago tells Othello that Desemona is having an affair with Cassio and 'proves' it by showing him them talking together (about him getting his job back) and Cassio using a handkerchief given to Desdemona by Othello. Cassio has this as Iago makes Emilia steal it, then places it in Cassio's room.
Iago goads Othello, who then has an epileptic fit. He then teases Cassio about his affair with the courtesan (prostitute) Bianca, making sure that Othello overhears and thinks that they are talking about Desdemona. Othello and Iago decide to kill Cassio and Desdemona as 'revenge' for their affair.
Desdemona is confused by Othello's anger, he slaps her in front of her family. She then sings the Willow song (about a woman whose lover is mad) and talks with Emilia. Emilia curses a man who might poison Othello's mind in such a manner, Iago scoffs at the suggestion. Roderigo fights Cassio (on Iago's order), Iago cuts Cassio's leg from behind. He escapes, and Iago kills Roderigo to cover his tracks.
Othello kills Desdemona, Emilia enters the room to tell Othello about Roderigo's murder and hears Desdemona dying, she attempts to save her husband by saying that she killed herself. Othello explains himself to Emilia, who calls for help. The governer, Desdemona's cousin and Iago arrive. Emilia has realised the truth and, as she unveils Iago's evil scheme he kills her. Realising his mistake Othello attacks Iago but does not kill him, preferring him to live a life of suffering. Othello and Iago are told they will be punished by Lodovico, a nobleman, but Othello kills himself before he is apprehended.
“O! beware, my lord, of jealousy; it is the green-eyed monster that doth mock the meat it feeds on. (III.iii. 195-197)”Iago
“Were I the Moor I would not be Iago. In following him I follow but myself; Heaven is my judge, not I for love and duty, But seeming so for my peculiar end. For when my outward action doth demonstrate The native act and figure of my heart In compliment extern, ’tis not long after But I will wear my heart upon my sleeve For daws to peck at. I am not what I am. (I.i.57–65)”In this early speech, Iago explains his tactics to Roderigo.
“My noble father, I do perceive here a divided duty. To you I am bound for life and education. My life and education both do learn me How to respect you. You are the lord of my duty, I am hitherto your daughter. But here’s my husband, And so much duty as my mother showed To you, preferring you before her father, So much I challenge that I may profess Due to the Moor my lord. (I.iii.179–188)”These words, which Desdemona speaks to her father before the Venetian senate, are her first of the play.
“Haply for I am black, And have not those soft parts of conversation That chamberers have; or for I am declined Into the vale of years—yet that’s not much—She’s gone. I am abused, and my relief Must be to loathe her. O curse of marriage, That we can call these delicate creatures ours And not their appetites! I had rather be a toad And live upon the vapor of a dungeon Than keep a corner in the thing I love For others’ uses. Yet ’tis the plague of great ones; Prerogatived are they less than the base. ’Tis destiny unshunnable, like death. (III.iii.267–279)”When, in Act I, scene iii, Othello says that he is “rude” in speech, he shows that he does not really believe his own claim by going on to deliver a lengthy and very convincing speech about how he won Desdemona over with his wonderful storytelling (I.iii.81).
“I am glad I have found this napkin. This was her first remembrance from the Moor, My wayward husband hath a hundred times Wooed me to steal it, but she so loves the token—For he conjured her she should ever keep it—That she reserves it evermore about her To kiss and talk to. I’ll ha’ the work ta’en out, And give’t Iago. What he will do with it, Heaven knows, not I. I nothing, but to please his fantasy. (III.iii.294–303)”This speech of Emilia’s announces the beginning of Othello’s “handkerchief plot,” a seemingly insignificant event—the dropping of a handkerchief—that becomes the means by which Othello, Desdemona, Cassio, Roderigo, Emilia, and even Iago himself are completely undone.
“Even now, now, very now, an old black ram Is tupping your white ewe. Arise, arise!(I.i. 97-98)”Iago
“I am one, sir, that comes to tell you your daughter and the Moor are (now) making the beast with two backs. (I.i. 129-131)”Iago
“Look to her, Moor, if thou hast eyes to see.She has deceived her father, and may thee. (I.iii, 333-334)”Brabantio
“O, I see that nose of yours, but no that dog/ I shall throw it to. (IV i 142-143)”Othello
“Fathers, from hence trust not your daughters' minds.”Barbantio (Act I, Scene I)
“Put out the light, and then put out the light.”Othello
“Trifles light as air Are to the jealous confirmations strong As proofs of holy writ”Iago
“Reputation, reputation, reputation! Oh, I have lost my reputation! I have lost the immortal part of myself, and what remains is bestial.”Cassio
“We cannot all be masters, nor all masters Cannot be truly follow'd”Iago
“Villain, be sure thou prove my love a whore! Be sure of it. Give me the ocular proof, Or, by the worth of mine eternal soul, Thou hadst been better have been born a dog Than answer my waked wrath.”Othello
“I am not what I am”Iago
“A fellow almost damned in a fair wife. (I.1.22)”Iago
“But I will wear my heart upon my sleeve. (I.1.70)”Iago
“Zounds, sir you are one of those that will not serve God if the devil bid you. (I.1.122-123)”Iago
“She swore, in faith, 'twas strange, 'twas passing strange (I.3.184-185)”Othello
“The Moor is of a free and open nature that thinks men honest that but seem to be so, and will as tenderly be led by th' nose as asses are. (I.3.444-445)”Iago
“O, gentle lady, do not put me to 't, For I am nothing if not critical. (II.1.133-134)”Iago
“To suckle fools and chronicle small beer. (II.1.175)”Iago
“When devils will the blackest sins put on, They do suggest at first with heavenly shows (II.3.371-372)”Iago
“Good name in man and woman, dear my lord, Is the immediate jewel of their souls. (III.3.182-183)”Iago
“Not poppy nor mandragora Nor all the drowsy syrups of the world Shall ever medicine thee to that sweet sleep Which thou owedst yesterday. (III.3.379-382)”Iago
“Heaven truly knows that thou art false as hell. (IV.2.48)”Othello
“It is the cause, it is the cause, my soul. (V.2.1)”Othello
“She was false as water. (V.2.164)”Othello
“As ignorant as dirt! (V.2.200)”Emilia
“Here is my journey's end, here is my butt And very sea-mark of my utmost sail. (V.2.318-319)”Othello
“Then must you speak Of one that loved not wisely, but too well (V.2.404)”Othello
“O, now, forever Farewell the tranquil mind! Farewell content! Farewell the plumèd troops and the big wars That makes ambition virtue! O, farewell! Farewell the neighing steed and the shrill trump, The spirit-stirring drum, th' ear-piercing fife, The royal banner, and all quality, Pride, pomp, and circumstance of glorious war! And O you mortal engines, whose rude throats Th' immortal Jove's dread clamors counterfeit, Farewell! Othello's occupation's gone!”
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