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Shakespeare's 'Othello' > Plot summary > Flashcards

Flashcards in Plot summary Deck (19)
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Act 1: What is the setting? (2)

* Venice - a powerful + civilised state of Christian Europe
* The turks, infidels, are threatening to attack areas of the Eastern Mediterranean where Venice holds power


Act 1: What has Othello done? (2)

* He has caused great bitterness in his adjutant Iago by promoting Cassio as his lieutenant
* He has also shocked a Venetian Senator, Brabantio, by secretly marrying his daughter Desdemona


Act 1: What does Iago do? (3)

* Declares his hatred for Othello and plans to get even with him
* Uses Roderigo to inform Brabantio of his daughter's treachery to discredit Othello
* Keeps the rich presents Roderigo has been asking him to deliver to Desdemona


Act 1: What happens when news reaches Venice that the Turks are about to attack Cyprus? (4)

* The Duke sends for Othello
* Brabantio accuses Othello of seducing his daughter by witchcraft
* Othello tells his version of their love affair and Desdemona backs him up
* Othello prepares to depart for Cyprus leaving Iago to escort Desdemona


Act 2: What is the setting?

A storm destroys the Turkish threat, but the Venetians arrive safely.


Act 2: What does Iago do? (6)

* Observes Cassio's elaborate comforting of Desdemona while Othello is still at sea in the storm
* Forms plans to deceive Othello that there is an affair between Desdemona + Cassio
* Uses the night of celebration to get Cassio drunk + disgrace himself
* Persuades Roderigo to discredit Cassio by getting him involved in a street brawl
* Persuades Cassio to beg Desdemona to plead with Othello for his reinstatement
* Puts it in Othello's mind to watch Desdemona with Cassio


Act 2: What does Othello do?

Proclaims a night of celebration


Act 3: What does Othello do? (3)

* Prompted by Iago, descends rapidly into suspicion + mad jealousy
* Commits himself to revenge, wanting Iago to arrange Cassio's death while he plans to kill Desdemona
* Despite his infatuation with Desdemona, cannot be turned from his course


Act 3: What does Desdemona do? (2)

* Drops a handkerchief of great sentimental value given to her by Othello
* Protests her innocence


Act 3: What does Emilia do? (2)

* Picks up Desdemona's handkerchief
* Swears Desdemona's innocence


Act 4: What does Othello do? (2)

* Manipulated by Iago, is led to believe that he sees the handkerchief in the hands of Bianca, a whore of Cassio's, and that he hears Cassio talking of Desdemona as if she were a whore who loves him
* Orders Desdemona to bed


Act 4: What does Lodovico do? (2)

* Arrives from Venice with orders for Othello to return and for Cassio to take command at Cyprus
* Is shocked to see Othello strike Desdemona


Act 4: What does Desdemona do? (3)

* Tells Lodovico of the rift between Othello and Cassio
* Asks Emilia to put her wedding sheets on the bed
* In discussions with Emilia about men and marriage, shows her loyalty to Othello is unfailing


Act 4: What does Iago do?

Offers no clear explanation for Othello's behaviour, but hints that he has lost control


Act 5: What does Iago do?

Sets Roderigo to kill Cassio in a night attack


Act 5: What does Othello do? (3)

* Witnesses the night attack and believes Cassio to be dead when in fact, he is only wounded by Iago
* Still intoxicated by Desdemona's beauty, smothers he because he believes this is justice
* Tormented by guilt and remorse, kills himself, claiming that he had "loved not wisely but too well"


Act 5: What happens to Roderigo?

Is fatally wounded by Iago


Act 5: What does Emilia do? (3)

* Hears Desdemona say there is no one to blame for her death
* Discovers that Othello has killed his wife and convinces him that he was wrong in his suspicions
* Is horrified to learn that Iago is behind it all


Act 5: What does Iago do?

When all his plots are discovered, he fatally wounds Emilia