Othello: Summary Essay, Research Paper
*Othello is a tense, closely-knit play, with an ever-increasing emotional
scene. The character Iago, Othello’s ancient, is the cause of all the tragedy
which comes to pass as the play progresses. He is a manipulator, opposing
Othello not directly, but through other characters whom he tricks. From his
actions throughout the play one sees that Iago was gifted at using other people,
to further his own schemes. *Act One, Scene One is the most important because it
foreshadows the whole drama. Iago gives the reader warning that he is not all
that he seems when he says, “I am not what I am” (I,i). He appears to help
Roderigo, a suitor to Desdemona, who has run off with Othello, the Moorish
general of the Venetian army. Iago hates Othello for another reason. instead
of choosing him to be his lieutenant, Othello chose Cassio. In the end of scene,
Iago and Roderigo have informed Brabantio about his daughter’s elopement. Then
they went to confront Othello with this situation.
*At the beginning of Scene Two of Act One, Iago gives advice to Othello and lets
him know what is about to happen. Shortly after their talk Brabantio confronts
Othello about stealing his daughter. Then they all went and saw the Duke.
Othello defends himself and asks if Desdemona can testify on the behalf of him.
Othello tells how that the only “witchcraft” he used were his stories, and how
Brabantio used to invite him up to tell them. Finally, Brabantio disowns
Desdemona and she goes to be with Othello.
*Near the end of the first scene of the second act, Iago convinces Roderigo, who
was observing Cassio’s enthusiastic greeting of Desdemona, that Cassio and
Desdemona have something going on between them. Thus manipulating Roderigo
through his passion for Desdemona, Iago convinces him to provoke Cassio to anger,
so that the lieutenant will be discredited in Othello’s eyes and Iago can take
*In Act II, Scene III, I ago tricks into a drink, knowing that he has a low
tolerance for alcohol, making it easier for Roderigo to provoke him to fight.
Cassio departs the scene, and Iago starts to insinuate to the other soldiers is
a bit of a lush. Cassio soon, returns, chasing Roderigo, and when his comrades
attempt to restrain him, he strikes at them as well. When Othello arrives on
the scene, Iago makes it seem that he doesn’t want to discredit Cassio, but his
insinuations make Othello discharge his lieutenant. However, as soon as Othello
is gone, he goes to Cassio as a helpful friend. When Cassio leaves and Roderigo
returns, he shits role again, becoming Roderigo’s friend, and convinces him to
stay in Cyprus.
*In the third scene of Act III, Othello and Iago observe a meeting between
Cassio and Desdemona, which ends with Cassio departing when he sees Othello
coming. Desdemona offers Cassio her handkerchief, the special and meaningful
handkerchief that Othello gave to her, and he accidentally drops it. Emilia
picks up the handkerchief and Iago snatches it from her. In the following
conversation with Othello, Iago leads him by insinuation to the conclusion that
Cassio and Desdemona are having an affair. He appears to be unwilling to say
such a thing on account of his “friendship” with Cassio. However, once he has
set Othello thinks upon this, all of his false protests are unheard by the
general. Due to Iago’s manipulation, Othello becomes angry enough to make Iago
his lieutenant and orders him to kill Cassio. Iago had attained one goal in
becoming Othello’s lieutenant. He continues to manipulate Cassio, Rodergio, and
Othello because he intends to destroy Othello as well. Othello confronts
Desdemona about the missing handkerchief and reminds her of its importance.
*Iago has Othello hide while he talks with Cassio about Bianca, Cassio’s high-
class whore, after telling Othello that he was going to discuss Desdemona with
him. When Cassio begins laughing and boasting about his affair with Bianca,
Othello believing that he is speaking of Desdemona, becomes filled with rage.
Bianca enters and gives back the handkerchief to Cassio. Othello witnessed this
and saw that Cassia did have the handkerchief. Other now believes Ago about
Desdemona giving Cassia the handkerchief. Finally, Other decides he must kill
Desdemona for her unfaithful acts. Othello wants to poison, but Iago suggests
that he should strangle her in the bed that she has contaminated. Later that
evening as Emilia is getting Desdemona ready for bed, Desdemona starts singing
this “death song.”
*In Scene II of Act IV, Iago once more plays the part of Roderigo’s accomplice,
and proceeds to convince him to kill Cassio. At the beginning of Act V,
Roderigo ambushes Cassio, who wound him, while I ago stabs Cassio in the leg and
runs off. He returns as a dutiful guard to save Cassio and in the process
finishes off Roderigo, to ensure his silence.
*In the last scene, after Othello has killed Desdemona, all of Iago’s schemes
are revealed by his wife, who was his unknowing accomplice in them. Othello
searches for his sword and then stabs himself and dies. Iago flees, but only to
be caught and brought to justice. After reading Othello, the word jealousy runs
wild in my mind. This word is displayed two different ways. Frequently, the
word means suspicious or sexual jealousy. Throughout the drama, jealousy is
used in the sense of a possessive love which will not even tolerate the idea of
a competitor, which crates unfounded suspicion. In Othello’s case, suspicion is
not unfounded but it is created.