“Othello” Study Guide
Act 1. Scene 1. 1. The scene opens with a conversation between Roderigo and Iago. In it, Iago tells about his dislike of Othello, and this conversation becomes a background which explains the logic of Iago’s further actions. 2. Iago says that Othello is married to Desdemona, the daughter of the Senator. He believes that this is the reason of Othello’s high position. Iago uses this commentary in order to explain his indignation and get the support of the audience. 3. Both men have a bone to pick with Othello. Iago is angry because Othello has passed him in the race for high rank, while Roderigo lost in a fight for Desdemona’s love. Iago ensures Roderigo that with his help he can bias Desdemona’s father against Othello, and Roderigo can marry Desdemona. 4. First of all, Iago tells Roderigo about secret marriage between Othello and Desdemona. This helps to explain Othello’s precarious position as well as to reveal the vileness of Iago’s nature because he plans to take advantage of this position. Secondly, Iago convinces Roderigo to tell the Senator Brabantio about his daughter’s elopement. This act describes Iago as a skilled manipulator that cleverly plays on the feelings of other people. 5. In Act 1, Iago refers to Othello as to “thief”. He says to Brabantio: “Zounds, sir, you’re robb’d; for shame, put on/your gown;/Your heart is burst, you have lost half your soul; Even now, now, very now, an old black ram/Is topping your white ewe.” Iago’s remarks aim to describe Othello as a treacherous person. 6. Initially, Brabantio disguises Roderigo; but when he tells him about his daughter’s elopement, Brabantio’s attitude changes immediately, and he perceives Roderigo as his closest ally.
Act I, Scene II. 1. Iago knows that the secret of Othello’s marriage is already known to Brabantio, but he acts as if he knows nothing and pretends that he is happy to know this news from Othello. 2. Cassio and several Officers approach to Othello’s house to tell him about military unrest in Cyprus. The men perceive Othello as a good leader who can resolve the conflict. 3. Iago does not want Othello to understand that he is implicated in the story exposing his secret marriage. He wants to escape this conversation by saying: “Come, captain, will you go?” and “You, Roderigo! Come, sir, I am for you.” 4. Othello manages to convince Brabantio that he did not seduce Desdemona by witchcraft. The audience understands that the Moor’s actions are motivated by love, not by vain intentions.
Act I, Scene III. 1. The attacks of Turks are the challenge to Othello’s military talent, while Iago’s deceptions are the challenge to the Moor’s personality. 2. The words “lascivious Moor” reveal Roderigo’s disguise to Othello, while the words “valiant Moor” demonstrate the Senator’s respect for Othello’s military talent.
Act II, Scene I. 1. Cypriot landscapes are the same rebellious and unpredictable as the relationships between the main characters of the play. 2. The sea-storm is a …