(Turn on the speaker on your PC and you'll find yourself listening to The Willow Song.
The melody is only a 30-second midi version, but you may right click on the PLAY icon
and go to Option to make the song play repeatedly while you surf this page. Enjoy!)
|Text of the Play|
a Moorish general of Venice, has promoted Cassio as his lieutenant; Iago,
who was hoping for the promotion himself, makes plots against both Cassio
and Othello to exact revenge. Othello has secretly married Desdemona, the
beautiful daughter of Venetian senator Brabantio, and Iago determines to
use Desdemona as the means of his revenge. When Othello is posted to Cyprus
by the Duke of Venice, Iago escorts Desdemona there to meet him, taking
along his own wife, Emilia. When they've arrived in Cyprus, Iago sets his
machinations to motion. He tricks Cassio into getting drunk, then has Roderigo¡Xa
former suitor of Desdemona whom Iago has convinced to aid him with the hope
of winning Desdemona back¡Xpick a fight with Cassio that ends in Cassio's
arrest. Because of this, Cassio is demoted. Then Iago has Cassio visit Desdemona,
saying that an appeal to her might do well to convince Othello to reinstate
This accomplished, Iago goes straightaway to Othello so that he can lead him to where Desdemona and Cassio are talking. As Iago and Othello view the scene, Iago plants seeds of doubt and jealousy in Othello's mind concerning Desdemona's fidelity. The scenario Iago suggests is that Cassio and Desdemona are having an affair. Later, fortune literally drops Desdemona's handkerchief into Iago's hand; he gets the handkerchief from Emilia, who discovered it, plants the handkerchief in Cassio's room, and then tells Othello that he saw Cassio with it. When Othello asks Desdemona about the handkerchief, she tells him that it was lost (which is the truth as she knows it). Cassio, meanwhile, has given the handkerchief to a courtesan with whom he is intimate. Iago manipulates a conversation with Cassio about his courtesan to make it appear to Othello¡Xwho is eavesdropping at the behest of Iago¡Xthat Cassio is talking about Desdemona.
His smoldering rage now beginning to bubble over, Othello tells Iago to kill Cassio and then angrily confronts Desdemona. In spite of Desdemona's protests of innocence (backed up by Iago's wife, Emilia), Othello is now convinced of her infidelity with Cassio. Iago, meanwhile, has Roderigo attempt to murder Cassio; when Roderigo fails to do more than wound the soldier, Iago slays him so that Roderigo can't implicate him in the affair. Othello strangles Desdemona in her bed. When Emilia discovers the crime, she decries the Moor as a villain and at first refuses to believe that Iago has so evilly manipulated Othello. However, Iago's appearance and subsequent answers lead Emilia to confront the fact that her husband is responsible for this tragedy. When Iago cannot keep Emilia from telling the truth about the handkerchief, he stabs her and attempts to escape; not only is he captured, but letters found on Roderigo's body thoroughly implicate Iago as the treacherous villain that he is. Faced with the shame of having murdered an innocent Desdemona, Othello stabs himself in front of Cassio and dies on Desdemona's bed, beside her.
|Studying Othello (A very good site, leading you to study Othello step-by-step)|
Bradley Answers Your Teacher's Questions About Othello:
A Guide to Shakespearean Tragedy (There are twelve questions, and there are tentative answers provided.)
Questions for Shakespeare's Othello by JM Massi
1. Why is the "romance" of Othello's elopement with Desdemona bracketed by the Iago-Roderigo plotting?
2. Notice the following themes and their uses within the play: witchcraft, knowledge of self and others, rhetorical power, loquaciousness. How do they relate to Othello, Iago, Desdemona, and Emilia?
3. At its heart, this is a play about the relationships between 2 couples. How would you characterize each pair's bond with each other and with the members of the other pair?
4. When Desdemona offers to go along to Cyprus, Othello swears he will not become uxorious. Does he? Is his relationship with Iago in any way comparable to uxoriousness?
5. How clever is Iago? How motivated? Why is he after Othello? Why attack him through Desdemona?
6. Chattiness is generally thought of in this era as a flaw in a woman. How does Emilia's volubility measure up to this standard? Why does she give her husband the misplaced handkerchief? What does that hanky represent--red spots and all?
7. How innocent is Othello? Cassio?
8. Why does Bianca appear in this play? Where does she appear?
Quoted from HeySmarty: Study Questions
1. How does
the animal imagery used by Iago reveal his own attitudes toward blackness,
women, and sex?
1. What role does race play in Shakespeare's portrayal of Othello?
2. Paying close attention to the shift from Venice to Cyprus, what is the importance of setting in Othello?
3. What kinds of oppositions does Shakespeare set up between characters in Othello?
4. To what extent is Iago the embodiment of evil, and to what extent do ordinary human motivations affect him?
5. How does sexual insecurity influence Othello and Iago?
6. How is the public persona that Iago presents different from the character revealed in his soliloquies?
7. How does Emilia's character change during the course of Othello?
8. How heroic is Othello?
9. What is the significance of Iago's silence at the end of Othello?
|Character Analysis of Shakespeare's Hamlet and Othello|
|Othello On-line (text notes, plot, themes)|
|Othello Navigator (all about Othello)|
|Iago the Puppeteer (A Critical Analysis of Iago, Othello's Ancient from Shakespeare's play, "Othello".)|
Paper on Shakespeare's OTHELLO ("That Which Heaven Hath Forbid the Ottomites":The Turks in Shakespeare's Othello)
|Othello--Analysis of Iago|
|The Wymyn of Shakespeares Othello (Gender roles and how they affect wymyn in Shakespeares Othello.)|
|The Noble General Othello By Rose Alston (a resourceful website dedicated to Shakespeare's play, Othello, including synopsis, analysis, film history, and helpful links.)|
|Motley Collection of Theatre and Costume Design|
|Othello Image Page|
|[Sources of the Images: 1 / 2/ 3/ 4 / 5/ 6]|
Update: May 12, 2002 by G. Lee