Act I, scenes ii-iii

Your assignment is to read Act I, scenes ii-iii of Shakespeare's Othello.

Here is a list of the characters in Shakespeare's

BRABANTIO, [A senator,] father to Desdemona
GRATIANO, brother to Brabantio
LODOVICO, kinsman to Brabantio
OTHELLO, the Moor [in the military service of Venice.]
CASSIO, an honorable lieutenant [to Othello].
IAGO, an ensign to Othello (and villain)
ODERIGO, a Venetian gentleman.
MONTANO, governor of Cyprus [before Othello]
Clown [servant to Othello].
DESDEMONA, wife to Othello.
EMILIA, wife to Iago.
BIANCA, a mistress to Cassio

The first act takes place in Venice. The rest of the play is set in a seaport in Cyprus.

Summary of Act I, scene ii-iii:

Iago has joined Othello. He told Othello about Roderigo's betrayal by telling Brabantio of his daughter's marriage. Iago warns Othello that his new father in law is quite upset and might try to keep Desdemona from him. Cassio arrives with Roderigo and Brabantio. Iago threatens Roderigo to show his false loyalty to Othello. Brabantio is angry with Othello and suggests that he must have bewitched his daughter. He tells him that he will take his grievance to the Duke. Othello insists that the Duke will side with him.

As this scene begins with a military conflict. Turkish ships are rumor to be heading toward the Venetian stronghold of Cyprus. This means they they will need to mount a defense. Brabantio and Othello enter to present their dispute before the Duke. As then enter, the leaders are discussing the military discord. Brabantio presents this grievance against Othello. Othello addresses the group, admitting that he did marry Desdemona. He explains that he wooed her and did not wrong. Desdemona comes forward and confirms Othello's testimony, and the suit is dropped. The couple is allowed to stay together, but Othello is called to Cyprus to help with the conflict. He asks that Desdemona be allowed to go with him as they are newly married. The Duke agrees and Desdemona stays with Iago until arrangements can be made for her to join Othello in Cyrpus.

Roderigo is upset that Desdemona and Othello's union was allowed to stand, since he claims to be in love with Desdemona. Iago leads him on by convincing him that the marriage with not last long. He assures him that Desdemona will come rushing to him at any moment. Iago plans to break up the couple using Roderigo as his pawn.

You have several options for reading this play.

1. Link HERE for a great version that has side by side translation and notes. You will be linking to Act I, Scene 1. You can download the entire play in a PDF file. However, the PDF file does not have annotations. You also have the option to print the text of the play.

2. Here is a Google Book.

Last modified: Thursday, 14 June 2012, 4:20 PM