Act II, scenes i-ii
(This is a picture of Stanislavski as Othello in an 1896 version.)
Link HERE to read Othello, Act II, scenes i-ii.
Summary of Act II, scene i: Cassio, Desdemona, Iago, and Emilia arrive in Cyprus after crossing in a very stormy sea. Cassio is a gentleman to the women and Iago desires to use this in his scheme. Othello arrives and announces that the Turkish fleet has been destroyed by the storm. Iago persuades Roderigo that Desdemona is in love with his lieutenant, Cassio. The act ends with another soliloquy by Iago where he divulges his plans and motives.
Summary of Act II, scene ii: A Herald announces Othello's upcoming wedding and a celebration. He also announces the fate of the Turkish fleet.
As you read look for:
- examples of prominent themes in Othello: jealousy, race, gender, marriage, manipulation, and identity
- What is Iago's plan to ruin Othello?
- Why does Iago want Roderigo to make Cassio angry?
- Whether or not the weather is foreshadowing of events to come?
- examples of irony--dramatic, verbal and situational
- How is Iago manipulating Cassio?
- Why does Othello believe Iago?
Note that in Act I, scene i, Cassio greets Desdemona by kissing her hand (see lines 99-101). When a gentleman greeted a lady the Elizabethan era, he would bow, and then, if he was romantically inclined, he might try to kiss the lady's hand. First he would offer his hand with his palm facing down. If the lady welcomed the kiss, she would place her fingers lightly on top of his hand. Then the gentleman would lightly kiss the lady's middle finger between the first and second knuckle, making sure to maintain eye contact. This was a sign of upper class breeding and points out the class difference between Iago and Cassio.