36 pages 1 hour read

William Shakespeare


Fiction | Play | Adult | Published in 1604

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Act IVChapter Summaries & Analyses

Scene 1 Summary

Iago is trying (and intending the opposite) to convince Othello that Cassio’s possession of Desdemona’s handkerchief isn’t necessarily proof that the two had sex, saying that perhaps they only kissed or lay naked in bed, “not meaning any harm” (6). Iago said he heard Cassio bragging about being in bed with Desdemona and supplies an image by saying, “With her—on her—what you will” (44). This throws Othello into a fit of rage and he says he will kill Cassio first and then force him to confess. Othello, overcome, falls into a fit, and Iago, in an aside, congratulates himself on how well his plan is working. Cassio enters to find Othello in the throes of epilepsy, but Iago sends him away.

Continuing his reverse psychology campaign, Iago tells Othello that lots of men are married to unfaithful women and that he’s lucky to at least know the truth about Desdemona. Needing more proof to convince Othello, Iago tells him to hide while he tricks Cassio into talking about his exploits with Desdemona. When Cassio reenters, Iago asks him about Bianca, a prostitute who sells herself for food and clothing, and who has fallen in love with Cassio.