Othello Othello is the main character of the book. He is most of the time referred as a moore since he was black. Although he was a moore he was the general of an army, he is a man that trusts people really easily. Before Othello was a general he was a slave.
Desdemona “Desdemona is a beautiful, young, white Venetian debutante, her fathers pride and joy.” Desdemona is not like any other white rich girls she won’t marry any many unless she is in love not even for the money. Desdemona at the beginning of the story gets married with Othello behind her fathers back.
Iago Iago is one of the most notorious and mysterious villains of all time. He spends all of his time plotting against Othello and Desdemona, eventually convincing Othello that his wife has been cheating, despite the fact that Desdemona has been completely faithful. Iago’s capacity for cruelty seems limitless, and no motivation he gives for his actions seems enough to explain the incredible destruction he wreaks on the lives of the people he knows best.
Emilia Older and more cynical than Desdemona, Emilia develops a close relationship with the young married woman. Emilia and Desdemona bond over husband trouble: Emilia’s bitter take on her married life with Iago contrasts with Desdemona’s (temporarily) idealistic marriage to Othello.Emilia’s one dishonest act towards Desdemona – stealing her special handkerchief – turns out to have devastating consequences. The loss of the handkerchief is what convinces Othello that Desdemona is guilty of infidelity, and Emilia’s little theft ends up causing her friend’s death, at least in part.
Cassio When we begin, Cassio is one of Othello’s soldiers, and is recently appointed the general’s second-in-command. This infuriates Iago, as he wanted to be lieutenant, and Cassio is a math (not muscle) guy, so Iago cannot understand this appointment.Like all people, real and imagined, he’s got some flaws. First, he’s a lightweight when it comes to drinking. This is the weakness that Iago exploits (when Iago gets Cassio drunk and sends him off to fight Roderigo). Second, Cassio’s a little too much of a lady’s man. This angers Iago, as Cassio’s kissing Emilia in front of Iago is a bad idea. It also comes back to bite Cassio in the end, since his flirtatious charisma helps convince Othello that Cassio is having sex with Desdemona.
Roderigo Roderigo is a rich, unintelligent guy who thinks that if he sends Desdemona enough expensive presents, she’ll fall in love with him. He’s hired Iago to be his wingman, but Iago basically uses him as a walking ATM. Iago takes the jewelry Roderigo thinks he’s giving to Desdemona and sells it for a profit. All Roderigo does in response is to fall for Iago’s smooth talking again and again. In the end, Roderigo dies – stabbed in the back, appropriately enough, by his wingman, Iago.
Bianca Bianca is a Venetian courtesan who is in love with Cassio, who sees her as a laughable nuisance. Shakespeare’s portrayal of Bianca is sympathetic – when Cassio treats her like garbage, it’s clear that Shakespeare’s making a point about how women get used throughout the play.We know what you’re wondering. Why would Shakespeare go out of his way to make one of just three female characters in the play a prostitute? Here’s what we think is going on. Because Bianca is a courtesan in a city renowned for prostitution and promiscuity, she’s a foil to the chaste and ever-faithful Desdemona. Othello, however, doesn’t recognize the difference between these women – he’s persuaded that Desdemona is cheating even though there’s no real proof. This speaks to a much larger issue in the play, which is that all three women are accused at some point or another of being promiscuous, which we talk about more in “Gender.”
Lodovico Desdemona’s cousin and a member of Venice’s diplomatic service, Lodovico arrives in Cyprus just in time to see Desdemona get slapped by her new husband, and then witness the deaths of all the main characters, and the twisted revelations of jealousy and betrayal. He has no personality – he’s just a witness. But, like Horatio in Hamlet, Lodovico is the guy who survives the inevitable bloodbath at the play’s end and promises to tell the world about the tragedy that has just unfolded.
Setting VeniceEarly modern (c. 1500-1750) Venice is a prosperous Italian city and a symbol of law and civilization. It’s also full of white people, which makes Othello, a black Moor, stand out among the Venetians. (Check out our discussion of the theme of “Race” if you want to know about the implications of this.) Venice also happens to be renowned for its courtesans (prostitutes). When the English thought about Venice, they often imagined it to be a city full of promiscuous women. Now that’s quite a coincidence, given that Othello’s plot hinges on Othello’s suspicions about his wife’s fidelity, don’t you think?CyprusEventually, action moves to a military encampment in Cyprus, an island sacred to Venus, the goddess of love. On the island of love, away from civilization and rationality, all hell breaks loose and Iago is able to convince Othello that Desdemona has been cheating on him. At this military camp, Desdemona has lost any kind of support system she may have had in her hometown of Venice, so she’s vulnerable to the kind of violence associated with the world of men and military.
Conflict The conflict of the book “OTHELLO” is that Iago thinks that Othello and his wife Emilia slept together, and Iago is destroying his life without Othello knowing.
Rising Action #1 The rising action of the book is when Othello is Iago believes that Othello slept with his wife Emilia and wants to get revenge.
Rising Acton #2 Another rising action in the book is how Iago is making his master plan and as he is doing it, it is going as planned and he is playing with everybody making them believe he is an honest man.
Rising Action #3 Iago is proud that his master plan is working with Othello believing everything he is saying and Emilia getting Desdemona’s handerchief everything went well. Othellon now believes that his beloved Desdemona slept with Cassio.
Rising Action #4 When Othello believed Iago and confronted Desdemona she completely denied everything , but she did’t believe her so he ended up killing her. When Emilia found out she told every one that he had killed her and she told him that she had taken the handerchief and given it to her husband.
Climax The climax occurs at the end of Act III, scene iii, when Othello kneels with Iago and vows not to change course until he has achieved bloody revenge.
Resolution The resolution of the book is that Othello ends up killing his wife, but ends up finding out that he killed the love of his life based on lies that Iago had told him. Iago tried to escape from his grusom faite but ends up being captured and is sentence to life in prison. Othello on the other hand isn’t so lucky when he found out that he killed his love he couldn’t take it and with the help of Cassio he killed himself to be in the afterlife with Desdemona.
Major Symbol #1 HandkerchiefThe significance of red is love, red strawberries like red hearts on the love token handkerchief, and like the red stains from Othello and Desdemona’s first night of love on the marriage sheets. Such red on white is private and dear to the heart of Othello, and he expects it to be similarly dear to his wife. It is the belief that Desdemona gave away his handkerchief, and the sexually implications of the gift, that drives him to kill her.
Major Symbol #2 The song “Willow” was another major symbol because Desdemona knew that something was not right and she can sence that something was going to happen to her.
Theme #1 Love-In Othello, love is a force that overcomes large obstacles and is tripped up by small ones. It is eternal, yet derail-able. It provides Othello with intensity but not direction and gives Desdemona access to his heart but not his mind. Types of love and what that means are different between different characters.Othello finds that love in marriage needs time to build trust, and his enemy works too quickly for him to take that time. The immediate attraction between the couple works on passion, and Desdemona builds on that passion a steadfast devotion whose speed and strength Othello cannot equal. Iago often falsely professes love in friendship for Roderigo and Cassio and betrays them both. For Iago, love is leverage. Desdemona’s love in friendship for Cassio is real but is misinterpreted by the jealous Othello as adulterous love. The true friendship was Emilia’s for Desdemona, shown when she stood up witness for the honor of her dead mistress, against Iago, her lying husband, and was killed for it.
Theme #2 Jelousy- Jealousy is what appears to destroy Othello. It is the emotion suggested to him by Iago in Act 3, Scene 3. Iago thinks he knows jealousy, having rehearsed it in his relationship with Emilia to the extent that Emilia believes jealousy is part of the personality of men, but Iago’s jealously is a poor, weak thought compared to the storm of jealousy he stirs up in Othello.Iago has noticed Othello’s tendency to insecurity and overreaction, but not even Iago imagined Othello would go as far into jealousy as he did. Jealousy forces Othello’s mind so tightly on one idea, the idea that Desdemona has betrayed him with Cassio, that no other assurance or explanation can penetrate. Such an obsession eclipses Othello’s reason, his common sense, and his respect for justice.Up to the moment he kills Desdemona, Othello’s growing jealousy maddens him past the recall of reason. Upon seeing that she was innocent and that he killed her unjustly, Othello recovers. He can again see his life in proportion and grieve at the terrible thing he has done. Once again, he speaks with calm rationality, judging and condemning and finally executing himself.
Theme #3 PrejudiceIago’s scheme would not have worked without the underlying atmosphere of racial prejudice in Venetian society, a prejudice of which both Desdemona and Othello are very aware. Shakespeare’s Desdemona copes with prejudice by denying it access to her own life. Her relationship with Othello is one of love, and she is deliberately loyal only to her marriage.Othello, however, is not aware how deeply prejudice has penetrated into his own personality. This absorbed prejudice undermines him with thoughts akin to “I am not attractive,” “I am not worthy of Desdemona,” “It cannot be true that she really loves me,” and “If she loves me, then there must be something wrong with her.”
Imagery AnimalsBeginning in Act 1, Scene 1, Iago introduces the animalistic imagery. According to Iago, there is something bestial and animalistic about Othello (“The old black ram”); he’s base and beastly, somehow beneath everyone else in Venice because of his North African heritage. The animal imagery permeates the play, often referring to Othello’s “otherness.”
Motif LocationShakespeare often uses different locations to represent mindsets. In Othello, Venice represents civilization, while Cyprus symbolizes the wilderness. The idea is that what happened in the Cyprus never would happen in the civilized city of Venice.