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 2 Scene 1 Plot summary

‘Montano, governor of Cyprus, awaits the arrival of the Venetian ships. There is a storm at sea but the play’s chief characters arrive safely. First comes Cassio, who reports Othello’s marriage and recites Desdemona’s qualities with much enthusiasm. When Desdemona arrives, with Iago, Cassio gives her a courteous welcome. She then engages in banter with Iago about the characteristics of women. Iago reflects that he will soon turn Cassio’s and Desdemona’s innocent behaviour to his own dark purposes. Eventually Othello arrives with the news that the fierce storm has dispersed the Turkish fleet and thus removed the danger to Venice. His joy at this outcome and his happy reunion with Desdemona are movingly expressed. The serene picture is darkened by Iago’s cynical commentary to Roderigo on the Othello–Desdemona relationship. He suggests that Desdemona will inevitably be unfaithful to her husband, and that she is already in love with Cassio. Iago intends to use Roderigo’s jealousy as a weapon to disgrace Cassio and to ruin his credit with Othello.’