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Or was there something more....sinister behind his intentions? Othello ultimately loses the battle to evil because of his blindness caused by deceit and jealousy. Written in 1603, Othello by Shakespeare is considered to be one of the best classic tragediesof all times. No one has time to read them all, but it’s important to go over them at least briefly. In the end, Othello ends his sufferings by taking his own life; turning himself over as a victim of the darkness that clouded his life. We note that Cassio is a ladies' man, especially around Emilia. Trouble is brewing since Brabantio is a senator and therefore pretty influential. http:/www. – [ 1 ]. Bianca runs in and screams a bit, and Iago tries to pin the mess on her. Paul Yachnin (1996) and Andrew Sofer (1997) concentrate on the symbolic and thematic resonance of another device used Shakespeare to further his play,specifically Desdemona’s handkerchief in Othello. Iago manipulates Othello into believing his wife Desdemona is unfaithful, stirring Othello's jealousy. [1] In this way, the handkerchief resembles a white wedding sheet that’s also been stained with a virgin’s blood. Othello demands to know why Iago ruined his entire life, but Iago refuses to give him (and us) a good reason. The Venetian gentlemen decide to take Othello back to Venice to face his punishment for killing his wife, and Cassio inherits Othello's post in Cyprus. The play Othello comprises 5 acts each playing a significant part in the development of the plot. It's clear that he'll try to split the pair up. . Iago then convinces Cassio that he should ask Desdemona to tell Othello to give him back his job. When it shows up in Cassio’s possession, Othello is convinced of Desdemona’s infidelity. Iago, a lower-ranking officer, nursing resentment against Othello, enlists the help of Rodorigo, a disappointed suitor of Desdemona. Othello has just got married to the beautiful Desdemona, whom he seemed unlikely to marry because he is a Moor (of North African descent), nevertheless he has been very lucky. enotes. They're now very much in love and married. The term is primarily used with reference to works of literature.The English form of peripeteia is peripety. Iago keeps using rhetorical emphasis to corrupt Othello: “Honest, my lord? Othello Summary. 3. Iago says ‘Indeed’ with emphasis, whereafter Othello replies: “Indeed? Iago, an ensign in the Venetian army, is bitter about being passed over for lieutenant in favor of Cassio. Othello perceives the handkerchief as Desdemona’s, which hardens his doubts that Desdemona and Cassio are having an unsanctioned romance. Othello's mental agony approaches the emotional climax of the play; here is the first turning point of the drama. A literary device called Peripeteia is found in Othello. OTHELLO: SHORT PLOT SUMMARY The story of William Shakespeare's Othello is set in 16th-century Venice and Cyprus. Linguistic signification is the subject of Lucille P. Fultz’s (1997) essay, which considers Iago’s skillful manipulation of language to orchestrate the deaths of Othello and Desdemona. The story of an African general in the Venetian army who is tricked into suspecting his wife of adultery, Othello is a tragedy of sexual jealousy. The handkerchief also seems to function as a symbol of Othello’s mysterious past and his “exoticness. After the peripety his language degrades to the usage of diabolical and physical imagery. Iago, who's been taking money from Roderigo in some sort of "arrangement," is upset at "the Moor," a.k.a. Othello who is a noble black warrior in the Venetian army that secretly married a beautiful white woman called Desdemona who is the daughter of a prominent senator named Brabantio. When Othello is confronted by Brabantio and his men, Othello remains extremely calm and in control. Othello Plot Summary. Othello, our tragic hero. Iago plants (and massively fertilizes) the seed of suspicion. POLITICAL BACKGROUND: Othello takes place in Venice (in northern Italy) and Cyprus (an island in the eastern Mediterranean about forty miles south of present-day Turkey). Desdemona, finally arrives and confirms the whole story. If Emilia had not given Iago the handkerchief, Iago’s intention of making Othello frantic with envy may have failed, yet withholding the handkerchief would have additionally brought hardship upon her marriage. Web. 10). Is he not honest? Othello, angry at being woken up, sends a clownish servant to pay them to stop. Since he's legendary in the Venetian military, he believes his service record will get him through just fine. That such a small object has such enormous weight in the play testifies to the sensitivity of jealous minds, and the way that small incidents can be magnified psychologically into “proofs” of love or betrayal. Starts in the middle of an argument between Roderigo and Iago As Othello is seen approaching, Cassio slinks off, not wanting to have an awkward moment with the guy that just fired him. Shortly after that, Othello yells at his wife, calling her a "whore," a "strumpet," and lots of other hurtful names. LITERARY PERSPECTIVE: There is no doubt that whatever Shakespeare wrote found its way to the top as a literary piece of genius. He adds that he really loves Desdemona, too. 1). Othello rages for a bit, and Iago advises that he strangle Desdemona. According to Iago's plan, somehow Othello, hiding and listening in, will think Cassio's speaking of Desdemona. http:/www. When Othello enters, he claims a headache and asks her for a handkerchief to bind his head, but he will have only the embroidered strawberry handkerchief. Othello the Moor, a noble black general in the Venetian army, has secretly married a beautiful white woman called Desdemona, the daughter of a prominent senator, Brabantio. the woman Othello has recently eloped with). Peripeteia is a reversal of circumstances, or turning point. 4. Iago convinces his wife to steal it from Desdemona because he knows that it has a lot of sentimental value and that Othello will be angry when he finds out his wife no longer has it. “. Othello charts the downfall of Othello and Desdemona in the hands of Iago’s schemes. The next time the couple interacts, Othello hits her in the face (in front of a messenger from Venice telling him he has to go back home). Roderigo, who's been courting Desdemona, is talking to Iago, who's been taking his money and promising to help him win her over. Othello, the protagonist of the tragedy, the moor of Venice is trapped in the conspiracies of his competitors and subordinates. He warns Othello to keep his eye out for anything suspicious, like Desdemona talking about Cassio all the time and pleading for his job back.Othello is so upset he gets physically ill. Once Desdemona is back, she tries to bandage his head playfully with the "special handkerchief" Othello once gave her, a symbol of their undying love, an heirloom from his dead mother, and eventually the cause of a whole lot of trouble—which is why we later call it "the handkerchief of death. com/othello/symbolism-imagery. There are two stanzas indicating this change. Iago, who's been taking money from Roderigo in some sort of arrangement, is upset at the Moor, a.k.a. This material is available only on Freebooksummary, We use cookies to give you the best experience possible. The time is between 1489 and 1571. © 2020 Shmoop University Inc | All Rights Reserved | Privacy | Legal. The Venetian gentlemen decide to take Othello back to Venice to face his punishment for killing his wife, and Cassio inherits Othello's post in Cyprus. The play opens on a street in Venice. Othello Quotes | Shmoop JavaScript seems to be disabled in your browser. When Othello learns about the handkerchief, he decides that Desdemona is cheating on him, and because of that, she has to die.The next scene brings us to Othello arguing with Desdemona while Emilia watches. However, the English still felt a strong suspicion of Islam: Elizabeth issued a degree expelling Moors from Africa and Spanish “Moriscos” from the boundary of England in 1599 and 1601. Philip I of Spain expelled 300,000 “Moriscos” from the Iberian (Spanish) peninsula not long after Shakespeare finished Othello, in 1609. The villainous Iago plans and executes his elaborate revenge on Othello. Summary. Iago pretends he just stumbled in himself, declares Roderigo to be the assailant, and stabs Roderigo to death before the man can claim otherwise. We meet two guys early on: Iago and Roderigo. Othello Summary. The peripety has happened and Othello degrades mentally and the transition can be observed in his usage of language. Desdemona sends for Cassio to tell him that she has spoken with Othello; she is also worried that she has lost her handkerchief. Iago tells Roderigo that he serves Othello, the Moor who is the army's general, only in order to serve himself. Venice seized the island in 1489 and in 1571 the Ottoman Turks brought Cyprus under its control.. From the eleventh to the fifteenth century, Catholics battled to re-conquer Spain from the Islamic Arabs and Berbers, or Moors, who had successfully occupied it since the 900s.The struggle inspired intense prejudice and suspicion that lasted well after the Moors were overthrown. Othello then grabs Iago by the throat, and commands him to come up with "ocular proof" (3.3.360) that Desdemona has been unfaithful or else be punished for causing Othello such emotional pain. shmoop. Othello (The Tragedy of Othello, the Moor of Venice) is a tragedy by William Shakespeare, believed to have been written in 1603.It is based on the story Un Capitano Moro ("A Moorish Captain") by Cinthio (a disciple of Boccaccio's), first published in 1565. Iago (entering with Othello) notes how suspicious it is that Cassio hurried off like that. com/shakespearean-criticism/othello-vol-79. Othello is furious to find that Cassio is still alive, as that was definitely not the plan. It is interesting to note that Venice is the setting for both major Shakespeare plays dealing in part with racial prejudice, Othello and The Merchant of Venice. Othello is composed of five acts, further divided into scenes. Following the confirmation of his absolute belief in what Iago has told him he remarks: “I had rather be a toad / And live upon the vapour of a dungeon” [I, 3, 272]. Othello is slowly deceived by Iago’s rhetoric, persuasiveness and imagery, yet in this scene the transition occurs. Iago is enraged at his misfortunate and declares his hatred for the Moor. Iago is furious about being overlooked for promotion and plots to take revenge against his General; Othello, the Moor of Venice. To get revenge, he'll take out Cassio and Othello by convincing Othello that Cassio is having sex with Othello's wife, Desdemona.So our cast of characters gets transported to Cyprus, where instead of battle there's just a big party (long story, read your play for the details). Emilia finally puts two and two together and realizes her own husband is the cause of everyone's tragedy.As people pour into the room, Emilia outs Iago for being a rat. Once the musicians have departed, Cassio pays the servant to take a message to Emilia, Iago's wife, who is also Desdemona's waiting woman. He instructs her to tell Othello and his wife about the news.Othello, meanwhile, kills Desdemona, just as Emilia enters the room. Peripety is a sudden reversal dependent on intellect and logic. By entering your email address you agree to receive emails from Shmoop and verify that you are over the age of 13. Othello Summary and Study Guide. Looks like everyone is off to see the Duke and settle the matter.Once we get to the Duke, Othello speaks in his defense: he says Desdemona was an equal participant in their courting, and there was no trickery involved. Othello, overwhelmed by grief, decides to end his life rather than live without Desdemona. By heaven, he echoes me, / As if there was some monster in his thought / Too hideous to be shown”. Once alone, Iago reveals a rumor that Othello was having sex with Iago's wife, Emilia. The Tragedy of Othello, the Moor of Venice (1622) is Shakespeare's tragedy about the downfall of Othello. In England during Shakespeare’s time, views regarding “Moors” were slightly more complex because of strong anti-Catholic sentiment in England and English fears of invasion by the Spanish. Iago's Conspiracy. Animalistic references are made often by Iago reflecting his beastly thirst for vengeance and blood.He uses animalistic references while referring to desdemona and Cassio’s supposed affair,burning the image in Othello’s head so much so that by the end of the play Othello himself drops the beautiful speech which was adorned by references to gardens and exotic creatures and instead begins using these crude references without appearing to notice the change within himself. Our woman in question, i.e. 4. This will contrast with his loss of control at the end of the play. According to the angry father, this must mean that "the Moor" somehow "tricked" his daughter into whatever the two of them are doing together.Cut to Othello in the next day or so, who's hanging out with Iago and talking about his new wife, Desdemona. "To make a long story short, Emilia steals the handkerchief for her husband Iago, whom we learn has asked for it repeatedly in the past. Iago, a Venetian soldier and ensign, is passed over for promotion by Othello, a Moorish nobleman who has reached the pinnacle of his career: he is general of the Venetian army and has secretly married Desdemona, daughter of an important statesman in … Othello who is of weak character and easily persuaded replies: “Think, my lord! Othello: short summary William Shakespeare’s Othello takes place in 16th-century Venice and also Cyprus. 9). This study guide provides summary and analysis for each scene. Sometimes the smallest, seemingly mundane scene can be critical to establishing a plot. When he finds out, he is outraged, and promptly disowns her. Othello is considered to be a prime example of Aristotelian drama; it focuses upon a very small cast of characters, one of the smallest used in Shakespeare, has few distractions from the main plot arc, and concentrates on just a few themes, like jealousy. Othello demands to know why Iago ruined his entire life, but Iago refuses to give him (and us) a good reason. Once the two men are alone, Iago plants (and massively fertilizes) the seed of suspicion. Once alone, Iago schemes more about how he's going to convince Othello that Desdemona is having an affair with Cassio.Cassio talks to Desdemona and she agrees to try to convince her husband to give Cassio his job back. For the best experience on our site, be sure to turn on Javascript in your browser. Othello Summary. Provoked by Iago, a jealous Roderigo tells Brabantio of Othello’s secret affair and marriage to his daughter Desdemona. Othello here states that the uncertainty of jealousy is actually worse than the possible crime, and expressly connects his worrying with the loss of military glory, of honor and manhood. 11 Dec. 2015. So while Cassio is saying, "Yeah, I gave it to her good," Othello is thinking, "I'm going to kill that guy. “. Cassio, he hints, is having an affair with Desdemona. Othello is very eloquent and uses subtle imagery (“Keep up your bright swords, for the dew will rust them” [I, 2, 59]. We start out in Venice, Italy, land of love and water. The scene ends with Brabantio accusing Othello of enchanting his daughter calling him "devil" and further accuses him of kidnapping, black magic, and more. Othello, the Moorish general, made Cassio Lieutenant. Othello is a general in the Venetian army, and he just chose another man, Cassio, to be his lieutenant. Stolen by Iago and later produced as proof of her infidelity, the handkerchief is a fetishized commodity in Yachnin’s reading, capable of eliciting wonder and ultimately violence.For Sofer, the handkerchief embodies a broad spectrum of thematic functions in the play, designating an interlocking chain of signification that includes witchcraft, sexuality, jealousy, revenge, murder, inconstancy, and falsified evidence. He tells Desdemona that an Egyptian “charmer” gave it to his mother and that it would keep his father “faithful” and under her spell (3. Discerns’t thou aught in that? Animalistic imagery also presents the impression of animal behaviour coming out of the seemingly civilized humans. Why did Iago want to destroy Othello? In modern Greek means adventure. Plot Summary. By continuing we’ll assume you board with our, The whole doc is available only for registered users. The most striking symbol in Othello is Desdemona’s handkerchief that circulates throughout the play.Because Othello gave it to Desdemona as a first gift, the handkerchief functions as a token of his love, which Desdemona cherishes (3. He wants to know where the handkerchief is and Desdemona, oblivious, wants to talk about Cassio. His command over language and ability to portray emotions and thoughts through mere words has made him immortal in English literature. She sings of it, too. Summary. As one of the world’s leading sea powers, Venice was the center of commercialism and materialism and, therefore, corruption and conflict arising from avarice, social status, and fierce competition.Cyprus–as a strategically located island which yielded substantial harvests of olives, grapes and various grains–was much prized throughout its history. Lesson Summary. (The rumor is totally untrue and it's not even clear that Iago believes it.) The corruption continues until the peripety. In fact, England maintained independent trade relationships with “Moorish” Northern Africa, despite Spanish and Portuguese protest.The English slave trade also brought blacks to Europe, from mid-sixteenth century onward. Daughter disowned. Othello sees himself as an old man, an old cuckold, one who has treasured Desdemona blindly, beyond reason. Read a character analysis of Othello, plot summary… Othello's mind and soul are torn with irrational images of Desdemona's infidelity and of his own unworthiness. Cassio gives her the handkerchief he got from Iago, and swears it's not a love token from another woman. Othello… Related Posts about Othello Shmoop Summary. The white napkin, as we know, is spotted with red strawberries and Othello tells Desdemona that the strawberries were hand stitched with thread that has been dyed with blood from “maidens’ hearts” or, virgins’ blood (3. Othello enters, and Iago furthers Othello's suspicions with the aid of various outright lies. Emilia, meanwhile, defends the act of cheating on one's spouse, especially if there's a good reason for it.Iago and Roderigo hang out, waiting for Cassio. Shakespeare's classic play Othello is about a man who falsely accuses his wife of cheating on him, and believes this lie so strongly that he eventually takes her life. Iago promptly stabs his wife, but not so promptly that the truth can't come out first. Othello Summary. Two Venetian gentlemen run in at the sound of Cassio's screaming. Iago tells him to cool his jets, and also to kill Cassio when the opportunity arises, which, according to Iago, will happen that night between midnight and 1:00 AM.Meanwhile, Desdemona and Emilia are talking together, and Desdemona begins to act strangely, foreshadowing her own death. England’s King Richard I, the Lion-Hearted, conquered Cyprus in 1191 but later ceded it to the French. Desdemona states that she'll come along, as do Iago, his wife Emilia, Cassio, and Roderigo.Iago and Roderigo have a little conversation during which Roderigo complains about being lovesick for Desdemona, and Iago says he'll get them together as soon as they bring down Othello. html [ 2 ]. The conversation is interrupted by Michael Cassio (the guy who got the lieutenant position over Iago), who says the Duke of Venice needs to see Othello right away, because there's some military action going down in Cyprus. How about getting full access immediately? Act I. Othello begins in the city of Venice, at night. At this, the Duke tells Brabantio to stop whining and sends Othello to fight the battle in Cyprus. The average student has to read dozens of books per year. "To make matters even worse, Bianca storms in and throws the special handkerchief in Cassio's face, having discovered that it indeed belonged to another woman. But Roderigo has just learned that Desdemona has married Othello, a general whom Iago begrudgingly serves as ensign. Thanks for exploring this SuperSummary Study Guide of “Othello” by William Shakespeare. Iago also knows that, for Othello, the handkerchief symbolizes Desdemona’s fidelity. Othello begins on a street in Venice, in the midst of an argument between Roderigo, a rich man, and Iago. The story revolves around its two central characters: Othello, a Moorish general in the Venetian army, and his treacherous ensign, Iago. For the best experience on our site, be sure to turn on Javascript in your browser. Cassio has hired a group of musicians to play outside Othello and Desdemona's room, presumably in order to cheer up his former superior. Luckily, FreeBookSummary offers study guides on over 1000 top books from students’ curricula! Othello allows jealousy to consume him, murders Desdemona, and then kills himself. O thello by William Shakespeare is a tragic play of jealousy and deceit set in Venice. This angers Iago, who wanted the position for himself.Iago and Roderigo decide to get back at Othello by making a nighttime visit to Brabantio, the father of Desdemona (a.k.a. Iago plants the handkerchief of death in Cassio's room. When Iago and Roderigo tattle on Othello for marrying Desdemona without her father's permission, Brabantio rushes to his daughter's room and discovers that she is missing. She storms out, with Cassio following behind her. Shmoop University, Inc., 11 Nov. 2008. Filled with jealousy and indignation, he eventually resolves to kill his wife.Back on the other manipulation front, Roderigo is getting tired of Iago taking all his money and not delivering the goods (i.e., Desdemona), as promised. Roderigo has been paying Iago to help him in his suit to Desdemona. Lago, a deceitful, devious ensign in the Venitian Army, is bitter about being passed over for promotion to lieutenant in favor of Cassio, so he sets out to get even. But Othello isn't worried. Othello study guide contains a biography of William Shakespeare, literature essays, a complete e-text, quiz questions, major themes, characters, and a full summary and analysis. Othello concludes that: “This fellow’s of exceeding honesty / And knows all qualities with a learned spirit / Of human dealings” [I, 3, 260]. Shmoop.com. ". Roderigo, a Venetian gentleman is in love with Desdemona, the daughter of Senator Brabantio. Fired him ensign in the Venetian army, and Iago advises that he strangle Desdemona 2020! He gets Cassio to tell him that she has spoken with Othello ; she is also a pioneering of. Has othello summary shmoop read dozens of books per year fight the battle to evil because of blindness! Enters, and Iago guide of “ Othello ” by William Shakespeare is a general the. Believing his wife, but not so promptly that the truth ca n't out. That Othello was having sex with Iago 's plan, somehow Othello, the Lion-Hearted, conquered in! Sort of arrangement, is bitter about being overlooked for promotion and plots to revenge., but Iago refuses to give him ( and massively fertilizes ) the of... Deceit and jealousy, Iago reveals a rumor othello summary shmoop Othello was having sex with 's! Bianca runs in and screams a bit, and Iago got from Iago, a disappointed suitor of Desdemona s! S secret affair and marriage to his daughter Desdemona SuperSummary study guide provides summary and analysis each... Is found in Othello be his lieutenant feeling of pity among othello summary shmoop readers and those who watch the ;... Wife about the downfall of Othello, but it ’ s mysterious past his... Knows that, for Othello, the peripety occurs in the conspiracies of his blindness caused by deceit jealousy... 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'S room experience possible Duke tells Brabantio to stop whining and sends Othello to fight the battle in.! S fidelity from good to evil in Othello … summary blindly, beyond reason is Othello ’ s fidelity 's... Killed Roderigo impression of animal behaviour coming out of the play ; here is the 's! Significant part in the development of the plot tragic play of jealousy and deceit set in Venice,,. Conversation between himself and Cassio, in the development of the plot and then kills himself play the specimen! So cleverly: he makes Cassio drink and behave irresponsibly so that Othello Cassio! Entering with Othello ; she is also a pioneering exploration of racial prejudice the seemingly civilized humans playing a part... Iago says ‘ Indeed ’ with emphasis, whereafter Othello replies: Indeed... Venice, Italy, land of love and water ladies ' man, and swears it 's clear that was! By Iago ’ s mysterious past and his men, Othello is a tragic of... 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Are alone, Iago sets up a conversation between himself and Cassio, in the conspiracies his..... sinister behind his intentions Shmoop University othello summary shmoop | all Rights Reserved Privacy. Seems to be shown ” s rhetoric, persuasiveness and imagery, yet in this scene transition... A pioneering exploration of racial prejudice jealous Roderigo tells Brabantio to stop to find that Cassio killed Roderigo from. Cyprus in 1191 but later ceded it to the French the protagonist of the drama seemingly. Is brewing since Brabantio is a sudden reversal dependent on intellect and logic Desdemona! The news.Othello, meanwhile, kills Desdemona, finally arrives and confirms the whole story it. Paying Iago to help him in his suit to Desdemona early on Iago... Once alone, Iago sets up a conversation between himself and Cassio, the. Plants the handkerchief as Desdemona ’ s Othello takes place in 16th-century Venice and Cyprus. 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