Shakespeare Othello – Summary, Study notes and Quiz
( Shakespeare Othello ) ‘Othello’ is a Shakespearean tragedy which has been developed on the themes like jealousy, love, racism, betrayal and repentance. The protagonist of the story is Othello, a Moorish general in the Venetian army, who was a very efficient general. The play depicts his love with Desdemona, the daughter of a senator Brabantio; their marriage against the senator’s wish; the scheme used by Iago, an ensign, which convinced Othello that Desdemona had been disloyal to him; her murder at Othello’s hands; and, Othello’s suicide at the realization that he had been wrong in distrusting her.
Quiz on Othello
Quiz on Othello
Desdemona’s father did not approve of her marriage with Othello which suggests the theme of racism in the play. When he realized that Desdemona had eloped with Othello, he blamed the latter before the Duke of having used witchcraft to seduce his daughter. However, Desdemona confirmed that she loved Othello and wanted to accompany him wherever he went. Thus, they got married.
Iago was angry with Othello since the latter had preferred Michael Cassio over him. Iago also suggests in the play that he believed Othello to be having illicit relationships with his wife. As far as Cassio is concerned, Iago considers him to be a scholarly diplomat who was far inferior than himself regarding battle experience. In fact, he was the one who had sent a message to Desdemona’s father about her elopement with Othello. He had sent the message through Roderigo who had intended to marry Desdemona. Hehelped Iago to avenge upon Othello for having stolen his love.
Othello leaves for Cyprus to fight the invading Turk forces. All the major characters, namely Desdemona, Cassio, Iago and his wife Emilia, accompany him. A storm had already destroyed the Turk forces and Othello calls for a celebration. Iago, deliberately, persuades Cassio to get drunk since the latter had stated that he could not hold his wine. Following that, Iago makes Roderigo to get Cassio engaged in fight. Due to the resulting brawl, Othello strips Cassio of his position.
Iago asks Cassio to request Desdemona to intermediate between himself and Othello.on the other hand, Iago suggests to Othello that Desdemona was having an affair with Cassio. Othello had gifted a handkerchief to Desdemona which was lost and was found by Emilia. To present an evidence for Desdemona’s treachery, Iago takes the handkerchief from Emilia and plants it in Cassio’s room. He also arranges for Othello to overhear his interaction with Cassio and then talks to the latter about Bianca, a courtesan Cassio had been engaged with, in such a manner that the name does not get highlighted. Thus, Otello gets convinced that Cassio was talking about his affair with Desdemona and that she had given her handkerchief to Cassio as a gift. Othello resolves to kill Desdemona and asks Iago to kill Cassio.
Iago asks Roderigo to kill Cassio and himself kills Roderigo after he had attacked Cassio. Othello kills Desdemona and to justify his action before Emilia mentions the handkerchief. Emilia had already called the governor who had come with Iago and Cassio. Emilia realizes that Iago had done all and exposes him. He kills her in retaliation. Iago is arrested. Othello commits suicide.
The tragedy rides on the destructive capabilities of the urge for revenge. The tragic effects depends on the realization how Iago’s determination to avenge upon Othello and Cassio destroyed such a satisfactory relationship between Othello and Desdemona. The death of a number of characters including the protagonist is typical for a Shakespearean tragedy.