William Shakespeare's Othello


Brought to you by The Educational Company of Ireland
With annotations, analysis and commentary by Patrick Murray
Podcasts read by actors Simon Coury and Niamh Daly

Act 1 Scene 3 Plot summary

‘The Duke and senators consider the Turkish threat and discuss military action. These urgent matters are set aside when Othello, Brabantio and their followers arrive and the meeting turns into a tribunal of enquiry into Othello’s conduct. The highlight of the scene is Othello’s defence of what he has done. Desdemona also gives her account, which supports Othello’s and indicates that the initiative for the marriage was as much hers as his. The Duke is convinced by what the lovers have said, and tries to persuade Brabantio to accept the marriage with good grace. Brabantio refuses to give his blessing, and instead issues a solemn warning to Othello not to take Desdemona’s fidelity for granted. Othello is ordered by the Duke to go to Cyprus. Desdemona requests that she accompany Othello and is entrusted to the care of Iago for the journey.

The scene ends with an exposition of Iago’s plans. He will maintain his hold over Roderigo (and his money) by keeping alive Roderigo’s hopes of winning Desdemona. He will make Othello jealous by suggesting that Cassio is overly familiar with Desdemona.’