The scene opens with messages that Cyprus is about to be attacked by the Turks of the Ottoman Empire.
Into the midst of this excitement comes Brabantio to appeal to the Duke for justice at Othello's elopement
with Desdemona. He accuses the Moor of seducing his daughter through magical spells and drugs.
COMMENT ON THE SCENE
Othello, in his defence against Brabantio's accusations, denies any use of magic but explains to the
assembled dignitaries that Brabantio had often invited him to his house where he questioned him in great
eagerness for the stories of his life.
These stories encompassed all the vivid imaginings of the Elizabethan era. There were tales of slavery
and cannibalism, descriptions of men whose heads were below their shoulders.
Desdemona had listened to these weird and wonderful stories, and imagined herself involved in them.
She had even hinted to Othello that she would like to marry such a man as he, a hint that Othello acted
When Desdemona is brought to testify, she professes her loyalty to her father but also her undying love
for Othello, whom she refers to as her husband. Brabantio accepts this evidence but his attitude remains
niggardly and bitter.
Indeed, when it is soon learned that Othello must immediately depart for Cyprus to command the defence
of the island, Brabantio refuses to allow his daughter to return to his house. Instead, Desdemona is
granted permission to accompany her husband to the defence of Cyprus.
Othello is to leave for Cyprus that very night but he leaves Desdemona in the care of Iago, who will follow
the next day. In the meantime, Roderigo becomes suicidal at the realisation that he has lost Desdemona
He is thereupon persuaded to follow Othello to Cyprus where Iago promises to hatch a plan to get
Desdemona back -- for which he will expect handsome payment in return ("put money in your
We eventually learn that Iago plans to persuade Othello that his wife is being unfaithful to him by sleeping
with Michael Cassio, the Moor's faithful lieutenant. In this way, Iago believes he will get even with both
Othello and Michael Cassio, using Desdemona as the innocent pawn in his evil game.
Have you looked at the questions
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