This study guide will help you analyze the play Othello by William Shakespeare. This guide aims to help you understand the story, characters, and themes of the play in a clear and easy-to-understand language. Let's dive into the world of Othello!

"Othello" is a tragic love story set in Venice, Italy. It revolves around Othello, a Moorish general in the Venetian army, and his beautiful wife, Desdemona. The play begins with Othello's promotion of Cassio to lieutenant, which angers Iago, another soldier who wanted the promotion. Iago then plots revenge against Othello and starts a chain of events that lead to jealousy, betrayal, and eventually, tragedy.

Excerpt from the study guide:

Therefore, Iago is envious of Cassio as well as jealous of Othello’s successes. After all, Othello is well-respected by the authorities in Venice, who trust him enough to make him the governor of Cyprus. He is recently married to Desdemona who loves him dearly. These are things Iago cannot bear. He does not understand why Othello should have a better life than him and wants to ruin Othello completely.

Iago’s ambition is so great that he does not care how many lives he destroys in the process of achieving his goal. His plan does not affect only Othello and Cassio. It also affects Desdemona, who is completely innocent and of whom Iago is actually fond: “Now, I do love her too…” (2.1.313). Despite this, he is aware that his plan will lead to Desdemona’s death, but he does not seem to care. Iago sees the people around him only as tools he can use in his plots. This is why he also does not hesitate to kill his friend Roderigo when he gets the chance.

The audience does not know Iago’s final fate. Although Othello attacks him, he does not manage to kill Iago. His punishment is left to Cassio, now governor of Cyprus, but the play ends before Cassio decides what to do with Iago. It is telling, however, that now that people know the extent of his manipulations, Iago chooses to remain completely silent: “What you know, you know/ From this time forth I never will speak word.” (5.2. 355-356). These are, indeed, Iago’s final lines in the play.

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