Othello Book Summary, Characters and Analysis, William Shakespeare


What is the summary of the play Othello written by William Shakespeare? Information about the summary, review, characters and analysis of Othello.



Othello is a play written by William Shakespeare. It is a tragedy that tells the story of Othello, a Moorish general in the Venetian army, and his doomed love for Desdemona, a Venetian noblewoman.

The play begins with Othello and Desdemona’s secret marriage and Othello’s subsequent appointment as governor of the Venetian-controlled island of Cyprus. However, Othello’s ensign, Iago, who is passed over for a promotion, begins to sow seeds of doubt in Othello’s mind regarding Desdemona’s faithfulness, ultimately leading to Othello’s tragic downfall.

Iago is a master manipulator, and uses his wit and cunning to lead Othello to jealousy and madness, and also manipulates others in the play for his own gain. Othello, who is already a marginalized figure as a black man in a white-dominated society, falls deeper into his insecurities as Iago feeds him lies. Desdemona, on the other hand, is a pure and innocent woman who is caught in the middle of the tragedy and suffers greatly.


Throughout the play, Shakespeare explores themes of jealousy, racism, appearance versus reality, and the destructive power of manipulation. Othello is a tragic hero whose downfall is a result of both his own weaknesses and the machinations of Iago. It’s a play that delves into the psyche of the characters and the impact of their actions on the people around them.

Like Hamlet, Othello is also a highly regarded play, it is frequently performed and studied, and is considered one of Shakespeare’s greatest tragedies.


The play begins with Iago, Othello’s ensign, complaining to Roderigo, a wealthy gentleman, about Othello’s promotion of Cassio to be his lieutenant instead of him. Iago is bitter and wants revenge. He tells Roderigo that they can win over Desdemona, Othello’s wife, to their side and use her to convince Othello to give Iago the promotion. Roderigo, who is in love with Desdemona, agrees to help Iago.

Meanwhile, Othello is preparing to leave for war against the Turks with Desdemona, who has eloped with him against her father’s wishes. Iago suggests to Othello that Cassio be put in charge of guarding Desdemona, knowing that this will cause jealousy between Othello and Cassio.

As the war progresses, Iago begins to plant false evidence and manipulate Othello into believing that Desdemona and Cassio are having an affair. He uses Cassio’s drunken behavior and an handkerchief that belonged to Othello’s mother as evidence. Othello starts to become increasingly jealous and enraged, and begins to suspect that Desdemona is unfaithful. He begins to question her and treat her harshly, causing her to become confused and upset.

Iago also manipulates Roderigo into believing that he can win over Desdemona if he helps Iago in his scheme. Roderigo tries to tell Othello that Desdemona is unfaithful, but Othello does not believe him. Instead, Othello becomes more and more convinced of Desdemona’s infidelity, and eventually turns against both Cassio and Desdemona.

In the climax of the play, Othello confronts Desdemona and smothers her in their bed, thinking that she had been unfaithful. Emilia, Iago’s wife, enters and reveals the truth about Iago’s treachery. Othello is horrified at what he has done and kills himself. In the end, Iago is arrested and brought to justice, but it is too late for Othello, Desdemona and the other characters, who are all dead.


Throughout the play, themes of jealousy, betrayal, and racism are explored. Othello’s status as a black man in a white society also plays a major role in the story, and the play examines the prejudices and discrimination that Othello faces. Othello is often considered one of Shakespeare’s most powerful and moving tragedies, and it is still widely performed and studied today.


Here is a list of the main characters in Othello, along with a brief description of each:

  1. Othello – The play’s titular character, Othello is a Moorish general in the Venetian army. He is respected and successful, but also deeply insecure. He is married to Desdemona and is manipulated into believing that she is unfaithful.
  2. Desdemona – Othello’s wife, Desdemona is a beautiful and virtuous woman. She is deeply in love with Othello, but is falsely accused of infidelity by Iago and ultimately killed by her husband.
  3. Iago – Othello’s ensign, Iago is the play’s primary antagonist. He is jealous of Othello’s success and wants revenge for being passed over for a promotion. He manipulates Othello into believing that Desdemona is unfaithful, ultimately causing Othello’s downfall.
  4. Cassio – Othello’s lieutenant, Cassio is a friend of Othello and is falsely accused by Iago of having an affair with Desdemona. He is guilty of being drunken but not guilty of being unfaithful.
  5. Roderigo – A wealthy gentleman, Roderigo is in love with Desdemona and is manipulated by Iago into helping him in his scheme against Othello.
  6. Emilia – Iago’s wife, Emilia is a loyal and honest woman. She ultimately reveals the truth about Iago’s treachery to Othello.
  7. Duke of Venice – The Duke is a respected and powerful leader of Venice, and he is responsible for appointing Othello as the general of the Venetian army.
  8. Brabantio – Desdemona’s father, Brabantio is a powerful senator in Venice. He is opposed to Desdemona’s marriage to Othello, due to Othello’s status as a black man.
  9. Lodovico – A nobleman from Venice, Lodovico is sent by the Duke to represent him in Cyprus and to witness the events that happen during the play.

These are the main characters in Othello, but the play also includes several minor characters, such as Montano and Bianca, who play smaller but important role in the story. Each character has their own motivations and flaws that drive the action of the play, and together they create a complex and tragic story.

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