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The Tragedy of Othello, the Moor of Venice
Transcript of The Tragedy of Othello, the Moor of Venice
Appearance and Reality
By William Shakespeare
October 09, 2015
T h e A u t h o r
9 Interesting Facts About Shakespeare's Othello
The Tragedy of Othello, the Moor of Venice
William Shakespeare was an English poet, playwright, and actor, widely regarded as the greatest writer in the English language and the world's pre-eminent dramatist. He is often called England's national poet, and the "Bard of Avon".
Othello is a tragedy by William Shakespeare, believed to have been written in the year 1603, and based on the short story Un Capitano Moro by Cinthio, a disciple of Boccaccio, first published in 1565.
P L O T
The play begins on a street in Venice. There is an argument between Iago and Roderigo...
The play’s protagonist and hero. A Christian Moor and general of the armies of Venice, Othello is an eloquent and physically powerful figure, respected by all those around him.
THe daughter of the Venetian senator
. Desdemona and Othello are secretly married before the play begins.
Othello’s ensign (a job also known as an ancient or standard-bearer), and the villain of the play.
Othello’s lieutenant. Cassio is a young and inexperienced soldier, whose high position is much resented by Iago.
Iago’s wife and Desdemona’s attendant. A cynical, worldly woman, she is deeply attached to her mistress and distrustful of her
A jealous suitor of Desdemona. Young, rich, and foolish, Roderigo is convinced that if he gives Iago all of his money, Iago will help him win Desdemona’s hand.
A courtesan, or prostitute, in Cyprus. Bianca’s favorite customer is Cassio, who teases her with promises of marriage.
Desdemona’s father, a somewhat blustering and self-important Venetian senator. As a friend of Othello, Brabanzio feels betrayed when the general marries his daughter in secret.
The official authority in Venice, the duke has great respect for Othello as a public and military servant.
Duke of Venice
The governor of Cyprus before Othello. We see him first in Act II, as he recounts the status of the war and awaits the Venetian ships.
One of Brabanzio’s kinsmen, Lodovico acts as a messenger from Venice to Cyprus.
Brabanzio’s kinsman who accompanies Lodovico to Cyprus. Amidst the chaos of the final scene, Graziano mentions that Desdemona’s father has died.
Roderigo is in love with Desdemona....
Venice is a prosperous Italian city and a symbol of law and civilization. It's also full of white people, which makes Othello, a black Moor, stand out among the Venetians.
an island sacred to Venus, the goddess of love. On the island of love, away from civilization and rationality, all hell breaks loose and Iago is able to convince Othello that Desdemona has been cheating on him.
He has been paying Iago to help him win Desdemona...
Roderigo learns that Desdemona has just married Othello...
Iago and Roderigo go tell Brabanzio, Desdemona's father about the marriage...
Brabanzio takes a group of men to confront Othello, believing Othello has used witchcraft to woo his daughter...
Othello has just been summoned by the Duke...
Othello and Desdemona confirmed their marriage to her father...
They leave for Cyprus to handle a Turkish invasion...
Cassio fights in Cyprus and stabs the governor...thus losing his position as lieutenant...
Iago is jealous of Cassio, Othello's lieutenant because he believes that Cassio was assigned the job he should have had...
Iago plants seeds of distrust and suspicion in reference to Desdemona and Cassio...
Desdemona tries to save Cassio at Cassio's bidding... Cassio has been setup to do so at Iago's suggestion...
Seeing the two of them talking, Othello's suspicion grows...
Desdemona pleads for Cassio's reinstatement and Othello's suspicion is even more confirmed...
Iago plants Desdemona's handkerchief on Cassio...he tells Othello that Cassio was seen wiping his beard with this handkerchief that was Othello's gift to Desdemona...
Emilia found the handkerchief and gave it to Iago...Emilia is Iago's wife and Desdemona's servant girl...
Othello believes the worst and smothers Desdemona...
Emilia confesses that the handkerchief ordeal was a set-up by Iago...
Othello is regretful when he hears this...
Then as he learns that he has been replaced by Cassio, Othello stabs himself...
Iago is arrested...
love is a force that overcomes large obstacles and is tripped up by small ones. It is eternal, yet derail-able.
It provides Othello with intensity but not direction and gives Desdemona access to his heart but not his mind. Types of love and what that means are different between different characters.
seeing is believing, and proof of the truth is visual.
To "prove" something is to investigate it to the point where its true nature is revealed. Othello demands of Iago "Villain, be sure thou prove my love a whore, be sure of it, give me the ocular proof" (Act 3, Scene 3).
is jealous of
tries to save
Jealousy is what appears to destroy Othello. It is the emotion suggested to him by Iago. Iago thinks he knows jealousy, having rehearsed it in his relationship with Emilia to the extent that Emilia believes jealousy is part of the personality of men, but Iago's jealously is a poor, weak thought compared to the storm of jealousy he stirs up in Othello.
Iago's scheme would not have worked without the underlying atmosphere of racial prejudice in Venetian society, a prejudice of which both Desdemona and Othello are very aware. Shakespeare's Desdemona copes with prejudice by denying it access to her own life. Her relationship with Othello is one of love, and she is deliberately loyal only to her marriage.
In Shakespeare's source material, the only character with a name is Desdemona
The character of Roderigo doesn't exist in Cinthio's Un Capitano Moro
Iago is by far the most verbose character of the play
The name 'Othello' means wealth
he subject of interracial marriage wasn't tackled again in mainstream entertainment until 1967's Guess Who's Coming to Dinner
' or variants thereof are used 52 times over the course of the play
The play was first performed in 1604 at Whitehall Palace
Unlike many of Shakespeare's plays, Othello wasn't adapted during the Restoration period
The first film version of Othello was made in 1909 and shot in Venice
"I will wear my heart upon my sleeve for daws to peck at; I am not what I am." (Act I, Scene I, lines 64-65)
here nor there."
"I kissed thee ere I killed thee, no way but this, Killing myself, to die upon a kiss."