Act 4 Scene 2

With Othello now fully believing Iago’s lies, he questions Emilia, who insists that nothing has happened between Desdemona and Cassio. Othello assumes that Emilia is helping Desdemona in her infidelity. When Emilia returns with Desdemona, Othello sends Emilia to guard the door. Alone with Desdemona, 

Othello begins to weep and proclaims that he could have dealt with anything other than infidelity. Desdemona denies being unfaithful, which only angers Othello, he storms out of the room. Emilia returns and enters to comfort Desdemona, who tells Emilia to lay her wedding sheets on the bed for that night.

Desdemona gets Emilia to fetch Iago, who she immediately questions. Iago says Othello’s problems are from state affairs (which the audience know to be false). Trumpets sound, and Emilia and Desdemona exit to go to supper. Roderigo enters with anger as he wants the jewels he’d given to Iago to help him Desdemona back, Iago promises Roderigo will have Desdemona by the next night .

He then tells Roderigo about Cassio being promoted by the Duke to take Othello’s place as defender of Cyprus.  He lies about Othello, rather than returning to Venice, is being sent to Mauritania along with Desdemona. Iago persuades Roderigo that the only way to stop Desdemona from being forever unattainable is to kill Cassio, which will keep Othello in Cyprus.

Plot Summary

Iago is angry that Othello (the general of the army), has promoted Cassio to be his lieutenant instead of him. Othello secretly marries Desdemona, the daughter of a senator in Venice (Brabantio). Iago therefore tells Desdemona’s father about the secret marriage to cause trouble for Othello.

Desdemona’s father makes a formal complaint about Othello’s behaviour to the Duke of Venice. His complaint is ignored and the Duke sends Othello to Cyprus to continue fighting in a war. Othello goes to Cyprus and takes his new wife Desdemona with him, together with Iago and Michael Cassio.

Iago encourages Cassio to get drunk whilst on duty. Cassio ends up in a drunken fight and is demoted from his position as lieutenant. Iago begins to plant seeds of suspicion in Othello’s mind about his wife’s relationship with Michael Cassio. Iago gets hold of a handkerchief belonging to Desdemona and hides it in Cassio’s room pretending it is proof of Desdemona’s unfaithfulness.

Desdemona pleads with Othello to give Cassio his job back. She does this innocently, but Othello takes this as proof of her feelings for Cassio. Iago continues to manipulate Othello to the point where Othello murders his new wife as punishment for her supposed unfaithfulness. Iago’s wife, Emilia, tells Othello that Iago has lied. Othello realises his tragic mistake and commits suicide over the body of his wife as Iago is arrested.

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