The play Othello is a story of a strong, daring man named Othello the moor, who is manipulated into madness by a man claiming to be his friend. The deception ultimately destroys his initial state of wedded bliss and his standing in the military, all due to the resentment liewing within Iago. The play begins in the city of Venice where we encounter three men in the street, Roderigo, Iago and Senator Brabantio. The men are discussing the recent elopement of the Senator’s daughter, Desdemona, with Othello the Moor.
The two men intentionally sabotage the relationship as Iago believes that Othello gave a promotion to a man named Cassio over him. Upon telling this story to the Senator, Iago quickly leaves requiring Roderigo, an old suitor of the Senators daughter, to be the alibi to this story. Upon leaving, Iago heads to meet up with Othello, and pretends to befriend him by providing him with a concerning story of Senator Brabantio’s reaction to the news of their marriage. This forces Othello, Desdemona and Brabantio to present the issue to the Duke of Venice. Here, Brabantio accuses Othello of winning his daughter over with witchcraft but Othello argues that really it she was won over with stories of his adventures. Desdemona then testifies that indeed she is marrying out of love and not witchcraft.
Shortly after this, Othello is appointed as the general of defence forces against the Turks and is required to leave for Cyprus immediately. Here you begin to see the amount of passion Othello has for both his new wife, but also his military position. With the Dukes permission, Desdemona follows him there on another ship with Iago and his wife Emilia which Othello has organized, falsely believing that Iago is his friend. Before leaving for Cyprus however, Iago convinces Roderigo that he should follow them to Cyprus as he believes that Desdemona will soon get bored of Othello and that he should pursue her again. Meanwhile, Iago is secretly planning to use Cassio, a man he resents for receiving the promotion he felt he deserved, to bring down Othello.
Iago begins his dastardly plot to frame Cassio as Desdemona’s secret lover and arranges a fight that ultimately leads to Cassio’s demotion. Desperate to reinstate his title, Cassio approaches Iago to organize a meeting with Desdemona as he is lead to believe that he will likely be reinstated if the wife of Othello is the one to bring the request. Desdemona, believing herself to be doing a nice deed, agrees to attempt to convince Othello to have him reinstated.
Unfortunately, Othello and Iago arrive shortly after Cassio’s meeting with Desdemona and upon seeing him leaving, Iago uses this opportunity to sow yet another lie, convincing Othello that Cassio seems to be avoiding him. True to her word, Desdemona begins begging Othello to reinstate Cassio, pestering him until finally he agrees. When Desdemona leaves, Iago strikes again with more lies, attempting to convince Othello that she is being unfaithful with Cassio.
Othello, frustrated and anxious, demands that Iago provides proof of her infidelity. Conveniently for Iago, Desdemona innocently dropped her handkerchief and Iago uses this to convince Othello that she was indeed unfaithful. After Iago stages a conversation with Cassio to “obtain” this handkerchief, Othello finally enraged strikes up an agreement with Iago that he, Othello, will kill Desdemona, and Iago should eliminate Cassio.
At this point, poor Roderigo has given up hope but Iago maliciously convinces him that there is still a chance and that he should kill Cassio as well. That same night, Iago and Rodergio attack Cassio in the street, but unfortunately, it is Cassio who strikes Roderigo. Iago quickly rushes out and stabs Cassio in the leg and upon hearing Cassio’s cries for help, Othello believes the plan is in motion, and rushes off to complete his end of the bargain.
Upon arriving, Desdemona is in bed and Othello bursts in, demanding that she “pray her last prayer” as he has no wish to kill her soul. Desdemona realizes that Othello plans to kill her and protests her innocence to him. She soon figures out that no matter what she says, Othello won’t believe her, so instead she begs him to let her live just a little longer. Instead, he smothers her with a pillow.
Iago’s wife, Emilia, finds out about the whole plan and brings the plot to the attention of Montano, the governor of Cyprus. During this time, Emilia explains Iago’s plot and when she refuses to stop telling the story, Iago stabs her and runs away. He is later captured, but for Othello, knowing that he is done for, asks to be remembered as “one that loved not wisely but too well” and then proceeds to stab himself and falls on the bed beside his wife, where he dies.
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