Othello Summary

Othello Summary

This Othello summary consists of the events in sequence according to 5 acts of the play. As one of Shakespeare brilliant psychological tragedies, Othello the man can well be said to be a victim not only of connivance, scheming and treachery but of his own pride and low self esteem that prevents him from trusting his own relationship with his wife Desdemona. It is him and his egoistic justification of his wife’s disloyalty that provides him the feeble but enraging excuse of murder. He is just as accountable for her death. Shakespeare digs deep into the psyche of a complex character professing both a burning love and a morbid jealousy for the same person

Othello Summary Act 1

Othello opens out in Venice with an argument between Iago a soldier in the service of general Othello and Roderigo a wealthy nobleman who has already paid the evil Iago money to spy on Othello as he wants his wife Desdemona for himself. Roderigo accuses Iago of insufficient information who convinces Roderigo of his hatred for Othello for promoting Cassio to an officer above him.

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In a bid to regain Roderigo’s trust Iago takes along Roderigo to inform Brabantio Desdemona’s father that the two have married. Brabantio is enraged as Othello is a moor and he sends out patrols to apprehend him, whom he accuses of abusing his innocent daughter.

The treacherous Iago in a role of dual deceit warns Othello that Roderigo has incited Brabantio against him. Othello believes that his good intentions will prevail and so he has nothing to fear.

Before Brabantio can pick a fight, the moor warns him that the Duke has immediate need of Othello to lead his army against Turks who have made plans to attack Cypress. Brabantio instead seeks justice accusing Othello of sorcery against his daughter. He decides to take the matter to the duke.

When the duke hears Othello’s explanation of how the couple fell in love he orders him to lead his army and allows Desdemona to go with him, however he needs to leave immediately and Desdemona is to follow later with Iago and Cassio.

Roderigo is depressed but Iago tells him that Desdemona will soon tire of Othello. Before parting the wily Iago uses the figurative suspense that perhaps is a prelude of the deception that comes next. He tells Roderigo

“After some time, to abuse Othello’s ear…”(act I, iii, 438).

Iago delivers a soliloquy saying how much it depends on the mind and body to be what it plans to be.


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