Othello, Revision Notes
The play Othello is set in Venice and in the opening scene we are introduced to two arguing figures – Roderigo and Iago. The wealthy Roderigo hired Iago to help him win the love of Desdemona, but has been making no progress at all. We discover that he has just found out that Desdemona has married Othello, a general whom Iago serves as ensign. Iago reveals that he hates Othello for many reasons, the chief among them being that he passed over Iago for a promotion. The position of lieutenant was instead awarded to Michael Cassio, who had no previous experience in leading men. Iago is only pretending to serve Othello, so that he might be in the perfect position should an opportunity to serve his own self-interest arise.
Iago, a manipulative character who delights in his villainy, convinces Roderigo to alert Desdemona’s father of the wedding. Her father is a Venetian senator by the name of Brabantio. The two men go to stand under his window and call out to him that he has been robbed by “thieves”. Brabantio appears and is furious with them for disturbing the peace. He initially refuses to believe them. He assumes Roderigo is merely scheming to see Desdemona, and t...