. 11 Dec. 2015. “. The story revolves around its two central characters: Othello, a Moorish general in the Venetian army, and his treacherous ensign, Iago. 4. Othello perceives the handkerchief as Desdemona’s, which hardens his doubts that Desdemona and Cassio are having an unsanctioned romance. He vows to get revenge. 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). 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. O thello by William Shakespeare is a tragic play of jealousy and deceit set in Venice. 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. The villainous Iago plans and executes his elaborate revenge on Othello. 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. He adds that he really loves Desdemona, too. The average student has to read dozens of books per year. 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. Moby dick summary shmoop my Ántonia michael cassio in othello chart happy loman death of a salesman part 6 frankenstein 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. Desdemona sends for Cassio to tell him that she has spoken with Othello; she is also worried that she has lost her handkerchief. 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. 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. Since he's legendary in the Venetian military, he believes his service record will get him through just fine. 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). Othello who is of weak character and easily persuaded replies: “Think, my lord! After the peripety his language degrades to the usage of diabolical and physical imagery. Othello Summary. First performed around 1604, the play is also a pioneering exploration of racial prejudice. The dramatic shift from good to evil in Othello … The term is primarily used with reference to works of literature.The English form of peripeteia is peripety. Iago pretends he just stumbled in himself, declares Roderigo to be the assailant, and stabs Roderigo to death before the man can claim otherwise. Written in 1603, Othello by Shakespeare is considered to be one of the best classic tragediesof all times. They're now very much in love and married. At this, the Duke tells Brabantio to stop whining and sends Othello to fight the battle in Cyprus. 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. When Othello is confronted by Brabantio and his men, Othello remains extremely calm and in control. Othello Summary. Othello Quotes | Shmoop JavaScript seems to be disabled in your browser. Desdemona, finally arrives and confirms the whole story. It's clear that he'll try to split the pair up. When he finds out, he is outraged, and promptly disowns her. enotes. But Othello isn't worried. 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, angry at being woken up, sends a clownish servant to pay them to stop. Two Venetian gentlemen run in at the sound of Cassio's screaming. 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]. Iago plants the handkerchief of death in Cassio's room. Roderigo tries to stab Cassio, fails, gets stabbed himself, and looks to be in trouble until Iago sneaks up and stabs Cassio in the leg. Summary. Web. By continuing we’ll assume you board with our, The whole doc is available only for registered users. http:/www. Iago (entering with Othello) notes how suspicious it is that Cassio hurried off like that. The best quotes from Othello by William Shakespeare - organized by theme, including book location and character - with an explanation to help you understand! 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. 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. We start out in Venice, Italy, land of love and water. Fighting ensues.Shortly afterwards, we meet Bianca, a prostitute who's in love with Cassio. ". Othello, the protagonist of the tragedy, the moor of Venice is trapped in the conspiracies of his competitors and subordinates. Othello ultimately loses the battle to evil because of his blindness caused by deceit and jealousy. Othello is a general in the Venetian army, and he just chose another man, Cassio, to be his lieutenant. 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. Iago also knows that, for Othello, the handkerchief symbolizes Desdemona’s fidelity. This will contrast with his loss of control at the end of the play. Othello Summary. Othello demands to know why Iago ruined his entire life, but Iago refuses to give him (and us) a good reason. While on watch together, Iago gets Cassio drunk and orchestrates a fight between him and Roderigo.Othello intervenes and fires Cassio for being belligerently drunk instead of doing his job. So while Cassio is saying, "Yeah, I gave it to her good," Othello is thinking, "I'm going to kill that guy. We note that Cassio is a ladies' man, especially around Emilia. Othello begins on a street in Venice, in the midst of an argument between Roderigo, a rich man, and Iago. OTHELLO: SHORT PLOT SUMMARY The story of William Shakespeare's Othello is set in 16th-century Venice and Cyprus. 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. 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. Othello the protagonist of the play is the first and most important victim of the psychological manipulation by Iago, who slowly and carefully puts the infectious and poisonous doubt about Desdemona's moral character. By heaven, he echoes me, / As if there was some monster in his thought / Too hideous to be shown”. 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. Summary. “. Philip I of Spain expelled 300,000 “Moriscos” from the Iberian (Spanish) peninsula not long after Shakespeare finished Othello, in 1609. Iago then convinces Cassio that he should ask Desdemona to tell Othello to give him back his job. Iago, an ensign in the Venetian army, is bitter about being passed over for lieutenant in favor of Cassio. No one has time to read them all, but it’s important to go over them at least briefly. Peripety is a sudden reversal dependent on intellect and logic. The scene ends with Brabantio accusing Othello of enchanting his daughter calling him "devil" and further accuses him of kidnapping, black magic, and more. © 2020 Shmoop University Inc | All Rights Reserved | Privacy | Legal. So while Cassio is saying, "Yeah, I gave it to her good," Othello is thinking, "I'm going to kill that guy. But Roderigo has just learned that Desdemona has married Othello, a general whom Iago begrudgingly serves as ensign. "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. How about getting full access immediately? Is he not honest? She sings of it, too. 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. Iago, who's been taking money from Roderigo in some sort of "arrangement," is upset at "the Moor," a.k.a. When it shows up in Cassio’s possession, Othello is convinced of Desdemona’s infidelity. 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. 4. 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. .. ] Think, my lord? Othello is very eloquent and uses subtle imagery (“Keep up your bright swords, for the dew will rust them” [I, 2, 59]. Starts in the middle of an argument between Roderigo and Iago So, in Othello’s mind, Desdemona’s handkerchief represents her chastity and the moment she “loses it,” she looses her chastity. Iago promptly stabs his wife, but not so promptly that the truth can't come out first. As Othello is seen approaching, Cassio slinks off, not wanting to have an awkward moment with the guy that just fired him. Othello sees himself as an old man, an old cuckold, one who has treasured Desdemona blindly, beyond reason. The Tragedy of Othello, the Moor of Venice (1622) is Shakespeare's tragedy about the downfall of Othello. The first is based on mutual respect and love, in the second, Iago keeps Emilia completely in the dark and uses her for his own ends. Othello Summary and Study Guide. A literary device called Peripeteia is found in Othello. 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. 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. Othello, overwhelmed by grief, decides to end his life rather than live without Desdemona. Some time later, Iago sets up a conversation between himself and Cassio, in which he gets Cassio to speak provocatively about Bianca. Before everyone can peacefully exit, Brabantio shows up with Roderigo and various henchmen, ready to kill Othello or at least maim him severely for having the audacity to marry his daughter. Iago is furious about being overlooked for promotion and plots to take revenge against his General; Othello, the Moor of Venice. Our woman in question, i.e. Iago complains to Roderigo that he was not named Lieutenant by Othello, but rather Ensign. Roderigo has been paying Iago to help him in his suit to Desdemona. 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. Othello is composed of five acts, further divided into scenes. 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. According to Iago's plan, somehow Othello, hiding and listening in, will think Cassio's speaking of Desdemona. The peripety has happened and Othello degrades mentally and the transition can be observed in his usage of language. Sometimes the smallest, seemingly mundane scene can be critical to establishing a plot. There are two stanzas indicating this change. com/othello/symbolism-imagery. Lesson Summary. LITERARY PERSPECTIVE: There is no doubt that whatever Shakespeare wrote found its way to the top as a literary piece of genius. Othello charts the downfall of Othello and Desdemona in the hands of Iago’s schemes. Job Summary Shmoop. Here’s a brief Othello summary: In the opening scene, Iago complains to Roderigo that Othello, his Commander, has passed him over to promote the handsome young Cassio to be his Lieutenant. [1] In this way, the handkerchief resembles a white wedding sheet that’s also been stained with a virgin’s blood. The corruption continues until the peripety. 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