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1-Page Summary of Othello
The play begins on a street in Venice where Roderigo, a wealthy man, is arguing with Iago. Roderigo has been paying Iago to help him win the heart of Desdemona. However, he just learned that she married Othello who recently promoted Cassio over Iago for lieutenant.
Iago and Roderigo hide as Brabanzio comes out to look for his daughter. He finds that she is missing, and he gathers some officers to find Othello. Iago leaves Roderigo before Brabanzio sees him, because he doesn’t want Brabanzio to know about his hatred of Othello. Cassio arrives with a message from the duke: Cyprus needs help against an imminent Turkish invasion. Not long afterward, Brabanzio arrives with Roderigo and others; they accuse Othello of stealing Desdemona by witchcraft. When they see that Othello is on his way to speak with the duke, -Brabanzio decides to go along and accuse Othello before the assembled senate.
Brabanzio’s plan backfires. The duke and senate are very sympathetic toward Othello, so they don’t believe the accusations that he killed his wife with witchcraft. Desdemona defends her husband by saying that she chose him for love, not because of witchcraft or spells. Brabanzio is frustrated but gives up and allows the meeting to continue without him. The duke says that Othello must go to Cyprus to defend against a Turkish invasion; Desdemona insists on going with her husband, so preparations are made for them to leave at nightfall.
In Cyprus, two men were standing on the shore with Montano, the governor of Cyprus. A third man arrived and told them that the Turkish fleet was wrecked in a storm at sea. Cassio’s ship did not suffer the same fate as it didn’t go through a storm. When he arrived later, Iago (Cassio’s friend) came too along with Roderigo (a soldier who loves Desdemona), Emilia (Iago’s wife) and Desdemona herself. Once they had landed, Othello’s ship was sighted and everyone went to meet him at the harbor. As they waited for Othello to arrive, Cassio greeted Desdemona by clasping her hand which made Iago furious because he wanted to destroy their friendship so that his plan could be executed successfully without any hurdles from either of them.
Othello comes in and greets Desdemona. He announces that there will be a party that night to celebrate Cyprus’ safety from the Turks. Roderigo complains to Iago about how he can’t break up Othello’s marriage. Iago assures him that as soon as Desdemona is sexually satisfied, she’ll lose interest in Othello and seek satisfaction elsewhere (II.i). However, Cassio might have her first because of his close relationship with her father. Iago advises Roderigo to start a fight with Cassio at the party so he can get him fired or arrested for fighting while drunk. In an aside, Iago explains his plan to ruin Othello by eliminating Cassio first since it would be difficult if not impossible for him to do anything without the help of one of them being around all the time (IH1). That night at the party, Iago gets Cassio drunk and then sends Roderigo over there to start a fight between them both; apparently provoked by Roderigo, who was sent there by Iago himself after getting Cassio drunk earlier on purpose just so this could happen (IIH2-3). Governor Montano tries holding down Cassio but ends up getting stabbed instead when he does nothing wrong except try stopping someone else from doing something illegal/violent when they were told not too long ago during this same scene not too long before hand right now actually literally.
The alarm is rung, and Othello soon arrives to find out what happened. Iago tells him that Cassio started the fight with Montano. Othello then takes away Cassio’s position as lieutenant because he has been a bad influence on his men. Cassio is upset by this and asks Iago for help. He says that his reputation will be ruined if he doesn’t get back in Othello’s good graces, so Iago suggests framing Desdemona as an adulteress to make -Othello jealous again.