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Character Analysis in Shakespeare's Othello and Montano

Updated on March 14, 2012


Othello is the protagonist of the play. He is notably a Christrian, and although he is black unlike the rest of the white Venetians, he is a powerful figure in the play. He is general of the armies of Venice and married Desdemona, Brabantio’s daughter. Because Othello is so open and vulnerable, it is easy for his ensign, Iago, to trick him into thinking that his wife is cheating on him. Because of Iago, Othello turns into a jealous and bitter character, killing his wife, agreeing to have Cassio murdered, and then stabbing Iago. His corruption by Iago is show in its most complete form at the end of the play, when he kills himself out of grief.


Desdemona is Othello’s wife, and the daughter of Brabantio. Although she is constantly accused of being unchaste, Desdemona’s loyalty and purity are almost the only two things that remain constant throughout the play. Although at times she seems very submissive and weak to the words of others, it is only because of her loyalty to Othello.


Brabantio is the father of Desdemona. Brabantio is a protective father, in that he tried to divorce Desdemona and Othello in the court of the Duke of Venice. Although the reader learns that Brabantio is at one point fascinated with Othello’s life story, he hates him after he learns of his relationship with his daughter. After that, Brabantio loses his significance as a character until his death is announced near the end of the play.


Iago is Othello’s ensign. Throughout the entire play, Iago is Othello’s enemy, but at the same time, he is the closest person to Othello. Iago is a manipulative and evil character. He tricks Roderigo into paying him to make Desdemona fall for him, even though that is never his intention. He ends up causing the death of Desdemona, Othello, and Emilia. His true nature is discovered at the end of the play and he is executed by Montano.


Emilia is Iago’s wife. She is also Desdemona’s maid. Although she is married to Iago, the reader can see that their marriage lacks trust. Emilia is much more attached to Desdemona than anyone else. The reader may see her as sort of gullible for never first catching on to Iago’s evilness.


Cassio is Othello’s Lieutenant until he loses his post by getting drunk and stabbing Montano. Cassio, while a good friend to Desdemona and completely loyal to Othello, is accused of having relations with Desdemona. Cassio is plotted against by Iago, who the reader can see is jealous of Cassio because of his high position at a younger age.


Roderigo is a jealous suitor of Desdemona. He is a foolish and gullible character. He wants what he can’t have, and is fooled by Iago. Even though he is rich, he is foolish in throwing his money away paying Iago to in him Desdemona’s heart, which he never does. Iago, the man he trusted to win him his love, ended up killing him.

Duke of Venice and the Venetian Senators

The Duke of Venice rules that Othello did not steal Brabantio’s daughter, Desdemona. They see it as a fair marriage. The Duke and his Senators view Othello as a valiant man.


One of Brabantio’s leading kinsmen who acts as a messenger from Venice to Cyprus. He acts as a leader in the end of the story by giving orders and shows wisdom in understanding the situation.


Gratiano is one of Brabantio’s kinsmen who follow Lodovico to Cyprus. In the end of the play, he announces Brabantio’s death and is Othello’s heir after his death, seizing his fortunes.


Montano is the governor of Cyprus before Othello. The reader sees Montano as a supportive character because of how he believes that Othello is a strong leader, and how he held back Cassio from killing Roderigo.


Bianca is a woman in Cyprus in love with Cassio. Although she is a prostitute, she longs for a deeper connection with Cassio. It shows that she has a deeper side even though she is not a major character in the play.


The clown serves Othello. Although the clown is only in two scenes, he is comical and uses puns. He serves mostly as a messenger.\

Gentlemen of Cyprus and Sailors

The Gentlemen of Cyprus serve as messengers. They tell Montano about the failure of the Turkish ships, and the arrival of the Venetians with the other sailors.


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