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Othello Summary

Othello beings when Iago, a soldier, argues with Roderigo, a wealthy Venetian. Roderigo paid Iago to spy on Othello since he wished to take his girlfriend, Desdemona. However, Roderigo suspects Iago has not been keeping his end of the agreement. Iago admits his hatred of Othello for choosing Cassio as his officer and not himself. To regain Roderigo's trust, Iago informs Desdemona's father, Brabantio, of her relationship with Othello, frustrating Brabantio. Othello explains of how he and Desdemona fell in love and plan on marrying. Following, Othello goes to Cypress to fight the Turks. At this time, Roderigo gives up on his quest for Desdemona but Iago convinces him otherwise. Iago plans his revenge on Othello and suggests Cassio to sleep with Desdemona. Iago tells Roderigo he still has a chance with Desdemona but Cassio is in his way.

Iago tells Othello of Cassio's affair with Desdemona before having Roderigo attack Cassio. The attack backfires as Cassio wounds Roderigo. Cassio receives a demotion. Iago suggests Cassio should speak with Desdemona, he does so and it results with Desdemona putting a good word in for Cassio until he is an officer once again. Othello complains about a headache to Desdemona, having her drop a handkerchief he gave her as a gift. Iago makes Cassio find it. Othello demands proof of Desdemona's affair from Iago. Iago tells Othello that he saw Cassio wipe his brow with Desdemona's handkerchief. Once Othello is convinced, he promotes Iago to lieutenant and orders him to kill Cassio. Desdemona worries of the handkerchief. Othello asks her about the handkerchief, but she cannot find it. Iago suggests Desdemona shared her bed with Cassio. Iago then talks to Cassio about his mistress Bianca; however, Othello hides and listens in to think Cassio is talking about sleeping with Desdemona. Bianca arrives and angrily gives Desdemona back her handkerchief. Othello decides to kill Desdemona in her bed, which was Iago's idea. We then learn of Iago pocketing Roderigo's gifts for Desdemona. Fearing Roderigo will learn of it, Iago tells him that Cassio must die.

Desdemona’s husband orders her to wait for him in bed. Depressed, Desdemona recants a song of a house cleaner who was abused by her husband. Iago tells Roderigo how to kill Cassio. Roderigo attacks Cassio, but Cassio wounds Roderigo once again. From behind, Iago stabs Cassio, wounding him in the leg. Iago then stabs Roderigo in "revenge" for wounding his friend Cassio. Bianca arrives, leaving Iago to blame Cassio for injuries on her. Othello arrives and tries to convince himself that killing his wife is for her own good. Desdemona awakens, and asks what she has done wrong; her husband tells that she gave Cassio his handkerchief. Desdemona pleads her innocence, saying Cassio can prove her innocence. Her husband tells that Cassio confessed to having done the deed and is dead, then kills Desdemona. Emilia reveals Iago killed Roderigo. Othello then tells Emilia that he killed Desdemona. Emilia, despite several attempts of Iago trying to stop her, reveals she found the handkerchief and gave it to Iago. Iago stabs Emilia. She begins to die. Iago is captured, but Othello stabs him; however, he is not dead. Lodovico learns of the plot against Cassio. Iago confirms that Cassio found the handkerchief because he wanted him to. Othello realizes what he has done and commits suicide, lying on top of his wife. Cassio is then placed in charge of Iago. Lodovico then leaves to discuss the matter.

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