Act 5 Scene 1

Iago has made Roderigo ready to kill Cassio, if either were to be killed it would be to Iago’s benefit as it aids Iago’s position of lieutenant and ensures Othello won’t figure out Iago’s manipulation. Roderigo and Cassio fight with both injured, as Roderigo attacks Cassio and Iago stabs Cassio in the leg, Othello hears the fight which pleases him as he has a strong disliking for Cassio, and he believes that Iago has killed Cassio out of loyalty for him. Othello then goes to kill Desdemona

Gratiano (Brabantio’s brother) and Lodovico also stumble upon the scene, having no idea what has happened. Roderigo is still alive, so Iago finishes him off. Iago questions Cassio about his assailant, but Cassio can provide no explanation for what has happened. Iago suggests that Roderigo is to blame.

 Cassio says that he does not know Roderigo, which is followed by attendants carrying off Cassio who’s injured and Roderigo’s corpse. Then Bianca comes by, and sees the attendants, Iago makes some remark to implicate her, Emilia also comes in, and pins more blame on Bianca. 

Despite the accusations Bianca has done nothing, but Iago has some quick work to do if he is to exonerate himself in this mess and he has been seen by multiple people around the scene. Iago explains the situation to Emilia, and Iago arrests Bianca. The scene is concluded by Emilia going to inform Othello and Desdemona of the incidents that have just taken place. Iago ends the scene by telling the audience ‘this is the night’.

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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