I. The Plot: Type: Romantic Tragedy 浪漫悲劇 Time: Early 16th century Locale: Venice and Cyprus 威尼斯、賽普魯斯 First presented: 1604
II. Principal Characters: Othello: a Moorish general in the service of Venice Iago ( 依阿果 ): Othello’s ancient (ensign 旗手 ) from Florence Michael Cassio: Othello’s lieutenant ( 副官 ) Roderigo: a Venetian suitor ( 追求者 ) of Desdemona Branbantio: Desdemona’s father Gratiano: Brabantio’s brother Montano: former Governor ( 總督 ) of Cyprus Desdemona ( 德斯底莫娜 ) : B’s daughter, O’s wife Emilia: Iago’s wife Bianca: a courtesan ( 妓女 ) in Cyprus
III. The Story: 第一幕 : Iago reveals his hatred of Othello to Roderigo. He and Roderidgo go to inform Branbantio of Desdemona’s elopement with Othello. The Duke summons Othello to repel the Turks, whose fleet is about to invade Cyprus. Brabantio accuses Othello of enchanting his daughter. Othello asserts his honest love for Desdemona. Desdemona comes and confirms his words. All set sail for Cyprus, including Desdemona under the protection of Iago. Meanwhile, Iago promises to help Roderigo win Desdemona’s love.
III. The Story: 第二幕 : The Turkish fleet is destroyed by a storm. In Cyprus, Iago observes Cassio with Desdemona, and asks Roderigo to provoke Cassio to a quarrel. Cassio gets drunk and involved in a brawl. Othello discharges him for his misbehavior. Iago advises Cassio to seek Desdemona’s aid, and tries to make Othello believe that Desdemona pleads for Cassio because she is in guilty love with Cassio.
III. The Story: 第三幕 : Cassio has a private interview with Desdemona. Iago arouses Othello’s jealousy by insinuating that Cassio may not be as honest as he seems. He even describes overhearing Cassio mutter in his sleep of Desdemona, and says that he has seen Cassio wipe his beard with her handkerchief. Unknowingly Desdemona still tries to aid Cassio when Othello demands the handkerchief, which Desdemona has lost, Iago has “planted” in Cassio’s possession, and Cassio has given to Bianca, asking her to copy the embroidery for him.
III. The Story: 第四幕 : Iago continues to feed Othello’s jealousy. Othello goes “mad” and falls in a faint. Iago then contrives to have Cassio talk of Bianca while Othello, hiding within earshot, believes that Cassio’s words apply to Desdemona. Othello then asks Iago to kill Cassio. Lodovico comes to recall Othello to Venice and place Cassio in command at Cyprus. Othello questions Emilia about Desdemona’s honesty but distrusts her. Iago asks Roderigo to kill Cassio. Desdemona sings the “Willow” song, full of foreboding.
III. The Story: 第五幕 : Roderigo attacks Cassio from ambush. Cassio, however, wounds Roderigo and is himself stabbed in the legs by Iago lurking near by. Iago stabs the wounded Roderigo to death. Cassio is borne off. Othello hardens his heart and smothers Desdemona. Iago’s villainy is exposed. Othello tries to kill Iago but is restrained. He stabs himself and dies beside Desdemona. Iago is led away to torture and execution.
IV. Famous Lines: “Preferment goes by letter and affection, Not by the old gradation, where each second Stood heir to the first.” –Iago to Roderigo “We cannot be all masters, nor all masters Can be truly followed.” --Iago to Roderigo “Even now, very now, an old black ram Is tupping your white ewe.” –Iago to Brabantio “Judge me the world, if it is not gross in sense, That thou has practiced on her with foul charms, Abused her delicate youth, with drugs or minerals.” --Brabantio to Othello
IV. Famous Lines: “... and she, in spite of nature, Of years, of country, credit, everything, To fall in love with what she feared to look on?” --Brabantio to the Duke “She loved me for the dangers I had passed, And I loved her that she did pity them.” --Othello to the Duke “I am hitherto your daughter: but here’s my husband: And so much duty as my mother showed To you, preferring you before her father, So much I challenge, that I may profess, Due to the Moor my lord.” –Desdemona to Brabantio
IV. Famous Lines: “Look to her, Moor, have a quick eye to see: She has deceived her father, may do thee.” --Brabantio to Othello “If sanctimony, and a frail vow, betwixt an erring barbarian, and a super-subtle Venetian, be not too hard for my wits, and all the tribe of hell, thou shalt enjoy her.” --Iago to Roderigo “There’s none so fouf, and foolish thereunto, But does foul pranks, which fair and wise ones do” --Iago to Desdemona & Emilia “Reputation is an idle and most false imposition, oft got without merit, and lost without deserving.” --Iago to Cassio
IV. Famous Lines: “O God, that men should put an enemy in their mouths, to steal away their brains; that we should with joy, revel, pleasure, and applause, transform ourselves into beasts.” --Cassio to Iago “When devils will their blackest sins put on, They do suggest at first with heavenly shows, As I do.” --Iago in soliloquy “Thou knowest we work with wit, and not with witchcraft, And wit depends on dilatory time.” --Iago to Roderigo
IV. Famous Lines: “Good name in man and woman is dear, my lord; Is the immediate jewel of our souls: Who steals my purse, steals trash, something, nothing, ‘Twas mine, ‘tis his, and has been slave to thousands: But he that filches from me my good name Robs me of that which not enriches him, And makes me poor indeed.” --Iago to Othello “O beware jealousy; It is the green-eyed monster, which doth mock That meat it feeds on. That cuckold lives in bliss, Who, certain of his fate, loves not his wronger: But O, what damned minutes tells he over Who dotes, yet doubts, suspects, yet strongly loves.” --Iago to Othello
IV. Famous Lines: “I’ll see before I doubt, when I doubt, prove, And on the proof, there is no more but this: Away at once with love or jealousy!” --Othello to Iago “In Venice they do let God see the pranks They dare not show their husbands: their best conscience Is not to leave undone, but keep unknown.” --Iago to Othello “Trifles light as air Are to the jealous, confirmations strong As proofs of holy writ.” --Iago in soliloquy
IV. Famous Lines: “He that is robbed, not wanting what is stolen, Let him not know it, and he is not robbed at all.” --Othello to Iago “’Tis not a year or two shows us a man: They are all but stomachs, and we all but food: They eat us hungerly, and when they are full, They belch us. --Emilia to Desdemona “Men’s natures wrangle with inferior things, Though great ones are the object.” --Desdemona to Emilia
IV. Famous Lines: “They are not ever jealous for the cause, But jealous for they are jealous: ‘tis a monster, Begot upon itself, born on itself.” --Emilia to Desdemona “Let husbands know, Their wives have sense like them: they see, and smell, And have their palates both for sweet, and sour, As husbands have And have not we affections? Desires for sport? And frailty, as men have? The ills we do, their ills instruct us so.” --Emilia to Desdemona
V. Discussion: –What kind of person is Othello? What is his tragic flaw? –Is Iago the incarnation of the Devil? Does he have any reason to be so wicked? –What is suggested about love and marriage in this play? –Is the play concerned with racism in any way?