Othello Short Summary: a critical brief summary of "Othello" by William Shakespeare



The story is all about the swiftness of action, aloofness, inaction and vulnerabilities of one's inherent complexes which collide, sometimes, to mark the worst for man's life. It all relates to Othello, our protagonist. Othello, a Moor, has worked all the hard work of his life and enjoys the blissfully sublime position of a general in the Venetian military might. He is well reverend for his bravery and character. The play opens with evil intentions of Iago that holds Othello in contempt for not having him promoted. Iago has been telling Roderigo that he wishes revenge from Othello by ruining his life. However, we also realize that Iago has been befooling Roderigo for gaining financial benefits from him.



Currently, Roderigo, an ex-suitor of Desdemona is moving to the house of her father, Brabantio. This he does because Iago has instructed him to. In fact, Othello has eloped with Desdemona and married her. Both Roderigo and Iago want to rouse Brabantio to seek revenge upon Othello. They seek nothing but harm for Othello. Though later the matter is settled by the Duke of Venice in favour of Othello because Desdemona is in deep and faithful love with him.


Iago, a double faced character, poses sincerity and honesty to his master Othello. But he has hidden intentions of destroying Othello by poisoning his life. This we come to know of several soliloquies and conversations he has with Roderigo. On the call of war Othello is dispatched to Cyprus. Desdemona, out of sheer love for her husband, accompanies Othello. This is the seclusion from society and a sort of war.


Since, Turkish army has been drowned due to a tempest; therefore, Othello and his men must idle in the isle of Cyprus till further orders. Iago finds this the best of occasions. At first he makes Cassio, a loyal lieutenant to Othello, drunk and then with the help of Roderigo proves him quarrelsome and unworthy of his position. Othello fires Cassio from the post he held. Now, posing friend to the downcast Cassio, Iago asks him to approach Desdemona for using her influence over Othello. He also advises him to avoid Othello at all costs. Cassio does this again with the help of Emilia, the wife of Othello.


Cassio goes to meet Desdemona in the castle garden but he is spotted by Othello on return and as instructed by Iago, Cassio avoids Othello. This thing appears strange to Othello. Considering Iago a loyal and honest man, he asks him the probable cause and Iago poisons his mind with the doubt on Desdemona's character in an indirect manner. Iago further pollutes the situation by stealing the handkerchief that Othello once gave as a token of love to Desdemona. Iago plants this handkerchief in the room of Cassio. Poor Cassio finds the handkerchief and likes it. He decides to keep it with himself.


Iago keeps on polluting the mind of Othello to the extent that Othello decides to kill his wife. But Othello wants proof that it was infact adulterous relation between Desdemona and Cassio. Iago asks Othello to hide and then he calls Cassio to discuss about the whore, Bianca, Cassio has been having sexual encounters with. Iago without using the name of lady discusses and conveys it to the distant Othello as if it were a talk about Desdemona. Othello goes home and asks him wife for the handkerchief. She is unable to produce it. Iago says Othello that it is probably due to his complexion that his wife is done with him and she has gifted the handkerchief to her new lover. Othello cannot control his anger.


When Othello goes home, he finds Desdemona waiting for him. She asks him to restore Cassio. But Othello refuses. He rather asks her to give him the handkerchief. She has no answer. Othello blames her. Later Iago tells Othello that he will kill Cassio for him while Othello plans to kill Desdemona that night. Othello does kill Desdemona while she keeps on claiming innocence till her last breathe. After her death, Emilia exposes the truth of the handkerchief which was obtained by her husband. Othello also comes to know that Iago has not killed Cassio rather it was someone named Roderigo killed by Iago and Cassio got injured by Roderigo. The truth unveils that it was all but the planning of Iago to avenge Othello. Othello commits suicide and Iago is left alive to be given the worst punishment!




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