Othello Characters

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  • Othello - Characters
    • Iago
      • Othello’s ensign (a job also known as an ancient or standard-bearer), and the villain of the play
      • Angry at having been passed over by Othello for promotion to the rank of lieutenant, and also because he seems to enjoy creating mayhem for its own sake, Iago develops an intricate conspiracy to ruin Othello
    • othello
      • A Christian Moor who has earned a high reputation as a general in the Venetian army
      • Othello is characterized by his plainspoken, honest (perhaps even naïve) nature
      • In spite of his elevated status, he is nevertheless easy prey to insecurities because of his age, his life as a soldier, and his race
      • Iago makes him suspect his loyal wife, Desdemona, of infidelity.
    • Emilia
      • Iago’s wife and Desdemona’s attendant
      • A cynical, worldly woman, she is deeply attached to her mistress and distrustful of her husband.
      • Though she steals Desdemona's handkerchief for Iago, she doesn't know else anything about Iago's plot. In fact, when she learns of his plot, she reveals Iago's duplicity, and he kills her for it.
    • Desdemona
      • The daughter of the Venetian senator Brabanzio.
      • Having been charmed by Othello's tales of exotic lands and military exploits, Desdemona elopes with him before the play begins
      • She follows Othello to Cyprus and shows constant loyalty to him, even to the moment of death, when he kills her on false suspicions that she has been unfaithful.
    • Roderigo
      • A jealous suitor of Desdemona
      • Like Othello, Roderigo trusts Iago and is duped by him
      • Young, rich, and foolish, Roderigo is convinced that if he gives Iago all of his money, Iago will help him win Desdemona’s hand.
      • Repeatedly frustrated as Othello marries Desdemona and then takes her to Cyprus, Roderigo is ultimately desperate enough to agree to help Iago kill Cassio after Iago points out that Cassio is another potential rival for Desdemona
    • Cassio
      • young, charming, and handsome soldier, whom Othello promotes to the rank of lieutenant, over the more experienced Iago.
      • Truly devoted to Othello
      • extremely ashamed after being implicated in a drunken brawl on Cyprus and losing his place as lieutenant.
      • Iago uses Cassio’s youth, good looks, and friendship with Desdemona to play on Othello’s insecurities about Desdemona’s fidelity.
    • Bianca
      • A courtesan, or prostitute, in Cyprus. Bianca’s favorite customer is Cassio, who teases her with promises of marriage
    • Brabanzio
      • Desdemona’s father, a somewhat blustering and self-important Venetian senator.
      • As a friend of Othello, Brabanzio feels betrayed when the general marries his daughter in secret.
    • Clown
      • Othello's fool/servant. Although he appears in only two short scenes, his riddling language reflects Othello's own language as the Moor descends into jealous madness.


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