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 4 Scene 2 Plot summary

‘Othello is now brought into contact with Emilia, who has it in her power to reveal the truth about Desdemona, particularly in regard to the handkerchief. What she says does nothing to either confirm or dispel Othello’s suspicions and he dismisses her defence of Desdemona as mere fabrication. Othello indulges in self-dramatisation and self-pity, casting himself in the role of the betrayed husband. Desdemona’s denials of guilt inflame him: he likens her to a prostitute and Emilia to a pimp. Bewildered, Desdemona sends for Iago. When he arrives, Emilia suggests that some rogue must have poisoned Othello’s mind against Desdemona: another example of the continuous thread of irony essential to Iago’s role. Iago makes excuses for him and urges Desdemona and Emilia to go to the supper being given in honour of the Venetian visitors. Roderigo arrives, and wants to know what has happened to the jewels he gave Iago to deliver to Desdemona. Iago knows he is in real danger when Roderigo threatens to go to Desdemona. He averts the danger, however, by involving Roderigo in the plot to kill Cassio.’