Othello Summary

Essay by Mark33College, UndergraduateA-, January 2005

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Othello Act Summary

Act One Scene 1

The first thing we see are the streets of Venice and Iago and Roderigo are in a conversation. Iago is the protagonist and key character of the play.

Roderigo is a much weaker person, but Iago needs Roderigo as a source of money, and to help. Iago is Othello's personal servant and he wished to become Othello's lieutenant, but instead, Othello chose Cassio to hold this position. Cassio is a Florentine, not a Venetian, and has little experience of military affairs. Iago feels he is more qualified to hold the position and regards Othello's choice as pure favoritism.

Roderigo wishes to court Desdemona, the beautiful daughter of Senator Brabantio, and asked Iago to help him with his suit. This he did by using Roderigo's money to make bribes. It now transpires that Desdemona has eloped with Othello who is a Moorish General in the service of the Duke's Venetian army.

Iago exerts control over Roderigo in order to maintain a supply of money. He hopes to persuade Roderigo to be an ally in his plans to obtain revenge on Othello. Iago still wishes to appear loyal to Othello, and so he persuades Roderigo to advise Desdemona's father about the elopement. They wake Brabantio to proclaim the news about his daughter and at first he is unwilling to listen, as he regards Iago and Roderigo as drunkards.

Act One Scene 2

We are still in the streets of Venice and Iago meets with Othello, and he shows his loyalty to his master by warning him of Roderigo. Although Desdemona's father has great influence in the state, Othello is confident enough to face him. News has been received concerning Cyprus and the Duke wishes to see Othello immediately. Othello leaves to see Desdemona and...