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It has been suggested by many scholars and critics that William Shakespeare (1564-1616) "borrowed" the plotlines in his plays from various sources, such as the tragic works of the ancient Greeks and Romans and from other European writers that...

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But when Othello promotes the Florentine Michael Cassio to the position of personal lieutenant, or second-in-command, Iago smolders with deadly anger for being passed over.


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These characters and the images they stamp upon the mind are the farthest asunder possible, the distance between them is immense: yet the compass of knowledge and invention which the poet has strewn in embodying these extreme creations of his genius is only greater than the truth and felicity with which he has identified each character with itself, or blended their different qualities together in the same story.


Roderigo is in love with Desdemona. Othello's wife.

A Venetian who lusts after Desdemona, and thus a tool in Iago's plots. Iago promises Roderigo that he shall have Desdemona's love in return for his help; Roderigo actually receives nothing but a disgraced death following his attempt on Cassio's life.

Bitter, vengeful, and madly jealous, he vows to kill his wife.

The First Folio version omits oaths and curses that appeared in the quarto edition in compliance with a law passed by Parliament that forbade blasphemous language in stage dramas.

He is intelligent, courageous, and honorable.

Ruler of the city, and Othello's superior. He allows Othello and Desdemona to stay together despite her father's protests. The Duke also sends Othello off to Cyprus to battle the Moors.

"Is this the promised end?" Analyse the final scene of Othello.

Speech in Shakespeare's "Othello" possesses a power beyond that of deeds'. It is Othello's fantastical storytelling that won him Desdemona at the start, Iago's poisonous suggestion that leads the general to murder his own wife, Emilia's testimony...

And therein lies his Achilles' heel, jealousy.

This story appeared in , (also called ),published in Venice in 1565 or 1566 and written by Giovanni Battista Giraldi (1504-1573), also known as Cinthio.

Cassio is a hinge on which the play turns.

One reason for the overwhelming popularity of the play throughout the ages is that it focuses on two people who defied society in order to follow their own hearts. Shakespeare scholar Walter Cohen cites the popularity of Othello during times of great rebellion and upheaval; the play was most popular during the European wars of the mid-19th century, the fall of Czarist Russia, and also during World War II in America. These productions tended to emphasize the nobility and love of Othello and Desdemona, and made their fall seem more tragic and ill-deserved.