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 3 Scene 4 Plot summary

‘Desdemona asks the clown to bring Cassio to her. She anxiously enquires of Emilia about the handkerchief. Emilia’s lying reply helps to seal Desdemona’s fate. Othello struggles to be civil to Desdemona. He demands the handkerchief, giving an exotic account of its origins. Desdemona lies, claiming that it is not lost, which only increases Othello’s suspicions. Then she insists on pressing Cassio’s case for reinstatement. Othello’s fury mounts, and he leaves in a jealous rage. Emilia, despite seeing this, still fails to reveal the truth about the handkerchief and contents herself with a cynical comment on husbands. Iago urges Cassio to continue to press Desdemona to act as his advocate with Othello. Bianca’s arrival heralds a further deterioration in Desdemona’s chances of survival and another piece of good luck for Iago when Cassio gives Bianca the handkerchief, and asks her to copy it.’