Othello Acts 1-2

Act 1 Scene 1
Roderigo Venetian in love with Desdemona. Iago promises to help him get Desdemona.
Iago Hates Othello because he was passed over for Lieutenant. Vows that “he is not what he seems”, and he will seek revenge against the Moor.
Brabantio Desdemona’s father. He is furious about the secret marriage to Othello.
Desdemona and Othello Secretly married before the start of the play.
“Black magic” Reference to Othello, the Moor, who is Muslim and from Mauritainia, in North Africa.
“heart on sleeve” Iago makes this reference–wearing your emotions so everyone will know what you are feeling. Iago will not do this–he will hide his true feelings and appear as a loyal friend to all.
“two backed beast” Reference to the act of sex, one body on top of another. Used to create thoughts of Othello and Desdemona consummating their marriage.
“black ram and white lamb” Farm animal, very base, reference to Othello and Desdemona–used to enrage Brabantio regarding his daughter’s “betrayal” by marrying Othello.
Act 1 Scene 2
Iago Not what he seems–could be described as sneaky, like a spider spinning a web to ensnare its prey.
Othello At this point, a confident man. He explains that Desdemona fell in love with him because she heard his stories.
Cassio Considered an honest and good friend.
Roderigo Duped by Iago, and he doesn’t realize that he will “take the fall” for Iago.
Brabantio An outraged father. Disowns his daughter for marrying Othello.
Relationship between Othello and Iago The two speak, and Othello feels he has the Duke’s blessing. The audience is privy to Iago’s soliloquy and know that Iago is “hatching” his plan.
Relationship between Duke and Othello Duke hears Brabantio’s claims against the man who “stole” Desdemona, but when he learns it is Othello–he sides with Othello and tells Brabantio he should appreciate his beautiful son-in-law. The Duke realizes that Venice needs Othello’s military expertise.
Relationship between Brabantio and Othello Brabantio demands that Othello be arrested for “stealng” Desdemona. Othello tries to be diplomatic toward Brabantio.
Act 1 Scene 3
Duke Powerful man. He likes Othello and recognizes the need for Othello to lead the Venetians against the Turks, at Cyprus.
Brabantio Warns Othello: “She may one day betray you, as she did me.” He states he wishes he had never had a child.
Iago Speaks with Roderigo–tells him to sell everything, if he wants to get Desdemona. When Iago speaks to Othello, he promises to take Desdemona to Cypus, and Othello completey trusts him.
Roderigo Depressed and speaks of suicide. Believes Iago will help him with a plan to get Desdemona.
Desdemona A young woman very much in love with her new husband. She stood up to her father, explaining that she is only pledging her loyalty to her husband, Othello, as her mother did to him.
Othello Promises to be true to Venice and lead them to victory against the Turks. He will not be distracted by his new wife. He asks Iago to bring her to Cyprus, in a ship sailing behind Othello and Cassio.
Relationship of Othello and Iago Othello completely trusts Iago. The audience has heard Iago’s plan in his soliloquy: he is plotting revenge against Othello.
Act 2 Scene 1
Montano Leader in Cyprus.
Cassio Acting as Othello’s Lieutenant, and he arrives in Cyprus first.
Desdemona Concerned about Othello–he has not arrived in Cyprus.
Othello Delighted to see Desdemona, when he arrives in Cyprus. Thankful to Iago.
Emilia Iago’s wife. She is not treated very well by Iago. He is very insulting to her, calling all women whores.
Roderigo Listens to Iago’s plan to help him get Desdemona. He will have to start a fight with Cassio while Cassio is on guard duty.
Turkish Navy Destroyed by a natural storm–reminiscent of the Spanish Armada, 1588.
Act 2 Scene 2
Herald Like the town crier, bringing important information to the town. Announces big party that will be held to celebrate the victory of Cyprus.
Use of Herald Playwright can use the Herald as a vehicle to give information to the audience without creating an elaborate scene.
Importance of Herald’s Announcement The party announcement establishes the expectations for the evening in Cypurs. It presents the reason for heavy drinking and revelry from 5 to 11. Everyone will be celebrating.
Act 2 Scene 3
Othello He has to make decisions as the General. He is working in the “military mode”. Very concerned with his men. He is disappointed by the actions of Cassio and demotes him, taking away his rank.
Iago Begins his rumors–the lies. He is beginning his sinister plot. We see that he lies to both Cassio and Roderigo. He cons Cassio into drinking, knowing that Cassio can’t hold his liquor. He convinces Roderigo to goad Cassio into attacking an innocent man so that Cassio will disgrace himself.
Montano Attempts to be the peacemaker. Steps between Cassio and Roderigo and is accidentally stabbed by Cassio.
Roderigo Places his trust in Iago. Believes that the plan to disgrace Cassio will work and help him get closer to Desdemona.
Desdemona Will be used by Iago to get to Othello.