Willima Shakespeare's: The Best Plays By Othello story
Willima Shakespeare's: The Best Plays By Othello
Brabantio, a rich senator of Venice, had a beautiful daughter, the gentle Desdemona.
She was so beautiful and rich that many men wanted to marry her, but she did not love any of the handsome and wealthy young men of Venice. She thought that a man's character and mind were more important than his age or his appearance. She chose for her lover a foreigner-a Moor from North Africa, whom her father often invited to his house.
The noble Moor was a brave soldier. He had fought for the Venetians in their wars against the Turks, and had become a general in the Venetian army. The State thought highly of his abilities and trusted him. His name was Othello.
Othello was not a young man, but he was a very interesting person. As a soldier he had traveled far, and fought in many different countries. Desdemona loved to hear him tell stories of his adventures. He would talk of the battles he had fought and the dangers he had faced on land and sea. He had been taken prisoner by the enemy, and sold into slavery. Then he had escaped. He spoke of the strange thing he had seen, the great deserts, mountains reaching right up into the clouds, savage people who ate the bodies of their enemies, and a race of people in Africa whose heads grew not on their shoulders, but in their chests. These traveler's tales greatly interested Desdemona. Whenever Othello visited the house, she would get down and listen to him.
One day. when he had been telling her about his life, she told him that she wished to live the same kind of life as he had lived. Taking this opportunity, Othello told Desdemona that he loved her. She agreed to marry him.
Brabantio had always told his daughter that she was free to choose her own husband, as she pleased. He had expected that, like all noble Venetian ladies, she would choose a man of high rank and of her own race and colour. But Desdemona loved the Moor. He was brave strong, noble an important man in the city, and an exciting man to be with. To her, the fact that he was an older man. and a foreigner, was of no importance. The two decided to marry at once in secret.
Their marriage did not remain a secret for long. Othello had an enemy called Iago, who was a soldier in the Venetian army. Iago had hoped to become a senior officer. Three of the most important people in the city had asked Othello to give him this position. But Othello had already chosen someone else-a man called Michael Casio.
Iago had been given a much less important post and he was very displeased about it. It seemed so unfair. He told his friend Rodrigo that Othello had seen how well he had fought in Rhodes Cyprus and other places. He could not understand why Othello liked Casio better.
Michael Cassio is a clever man, said Iago, but he has never fought in a battle in his life!
Iagi hated Othello. He was angry that Othello had not made him a senior officer. He was jealous of Othello's military success. He had also heard people say that Othello had made love to his Emilia.
Iago told Roderigo that he would serve in the army under Othello, and that he would appear to do his duty and be friendly. But he would only do these things for his own purposes. The truth was he wanted to make trouble for the Moor.
The Turks in Cyprus
On the night of Othello's secret marriage to Desdemona, Iago and Rodrigo went to Brabantio's house. They told him what had happened. Brabantio went mad with anger. He complained to the rulers of Venice about Othello. He was a powerful man, and they had to listen to him.
At a meeting of the Senate, Brabantio accused the Moor of using witchcraft to make Desdemona marry him. He was very surprised that Desdemona had agreed to accept Othello as her husband. He believed that unless someone had put some sort of magic spell on her, she would never have married him without asking for her father's consent first.
Othello, speaking simply and plainly, told the Senate what had happened. He admitted that he had married Desdemona but denied that he had used any evil means to make her love him. Everyone believed him.
At that time. Venice urgently needed Othello's military assistance, and would not do anything against him. Even while the discussion about Othello's marriage to Desdemona was taking place, news arrived about the Turkish fleet. It was on its way to attack the island of Cyprus which in those days belonged to the Venetians. In this hour of danger Othello was the only man the State trusted to lead the Venetian army against the Turks.
Brabantio was urged to accept the marriage, as it had already taken place. He however, insisted that Desdemona tell her story. If she said that she had married Othello willingly, he would withdraw his charges.
Desdemona then spoke to the Senate. She told them how much she loved and respected her but said she now had a greater duty to Othello, her lord and husband. In the same way. her mother had respected Brabantio more than her own father.
Old Brabantio, unable to do anything else, gave his daughter to Othello, saying that he was glad he had no other children to disappoint him.
Once all these difficulties had been overcome, Othello readily agreed to go to Cyprus and take command of the Venetian army there. Desdemona decided to go with her husband.
Othello had to leave immediately. He asked Iago, whom he thought was a friend, to take Desdemona safely to Cyprus in another ship that would leave a few days later Iago's wife Emilia, would be her serving woman. Brabantio although he had accepted the marriage between Othello and Desdemona, was not happy about it. He warned Othello that Desdemona might deceive her deceived her father.
Iago's evil plan
Shortly before Othello reached Cyprus there was a violent storm at sea. This caused great concern for Othello's safety, but brought good news, too. The Governor of Cyprus was informed that the storm had destroyed almost all of the Turkish fleet.
As the Governor was standing by shore, shouts were heard in the distance. The Venetian ship carrying Iago and Desdemona had arrived. It was a fast ship, and although it had not left Venice until after the others. it had reached Cyprus quickly. Othello's ship had been driven off course by storm, but it arrived in Cyprus soon afterwards.
When they were on shore, Othello and Desdemona greeted each other tenderly. Saying that Desdemona would receive a warm welcome, Othello led beautiful young wife to the Governor's castle. Among the welcoming party watching their arrival, was Othello's lieutenant, Michael Cassio.
Cassio was the friend of Othello and Desdemona. He was young and handsome. He had acted as a go-between for Othello and Desdemona, taking messages from one to the other before they had married. Othello was very thankful for his help since he himself was not used to the kind of gentle conversation which pleased Iadies. He had often sent Cassio to Brabantio's home, and it was no surprise that Desdemona looked on him as one of their closest friends. The courageous Othello, being of a serious nature was happy that Desdemona and his friend, Cassio, could talk and laugh together.
Iago, who had come to Cyprus with Desdemona was jealous of Cassio as much as he was jealous of Othello. He often made fun of Cassio as a man who, he said was fit only for the company of Iadies. Iago formed an evil plan for revenge. He would make trouble between Cassio, the Moor and Desdemona and bring ruin to them all at one and the same time.
Iago was cunning He understood the way people think. He knew that of all the pains which cause trouble between people, the pain of jealousy has the sharpest sting. He knew Othello had a free and open nature, which could easily be influenced. By making Othello easily be influenced. By making Othello jealous of Cassio, Iago would have his revenge.
The General's wedding, his arrival in Cyprus with his arrival in Cyprus with his Iady and the news of the destruction of the enemy fleet. were all good reasons for a special holiay. Wine flowed freey as everyone celebrated.
Cassio was an officer of the Guard. He had orders to keep the Venetian soldiers from drinking too much, to avoid any quarrels that would frighten the people of Cyprus.
The drinking party
That night Iago began his evil plans. He told Roderigo that he thought Desdemona and Cassio were lovers. This made Roderigo angry, because he had once loved Desdemona himself and had wanted to marry her.
Iago told Roderigo that Cassio was a very quick-tempered man. If Roderigo did something to make Cassio angry, there would be a fight, and Iago could use this to bring Cassio into disgrace, Roderigo who now hated Cassio as much as Iago agreed to help.
Later that evening Iago went to see Cassio taking some wine with him. He knew Cassio did not like drinking, but Iago prentened he wanted to drink to the health of Othello and Desdemona. He invited Cassio to drink with him. As Cassio was the friend of the newly married couple he could not refuse.
Iago filled Cassio's cup with wine again and again. One or two other people joned them, including the Governor of Cyprus. They drank wine and sang songs together. The more Cassio drank the more he talked and the more excited he became.
After a while Cassio had to leave the drinking party. Iago then told the Governor that although Cassio was a good soldier, he often got drunk in the evenings. At that moment Roderigo walked by. Iago told him go after Cassio.
Soon there was the sound of someone shouting, Help! Hepl! A moment later Roderigo went running past, with Cassio looking very angry behind him. The Governor went running past with Cassio looking very angry behind him. The Governor went to stop Cassio but Cassio attacked him too and wounded him, and then tried to fight everyone else. Iago who had started all this mischief quietly told Roderigo to go and ring the castle bell. Othello heard the noise, and came with a group of gentlemen to see what was happening.
Othello could see that Cassio had behaved disgracefully. He said Cassio could no longer be his lieutenant.
In this way one part of Iago's plan had succeeded. His rival, Cassio had been disgraced and removed from his position as a senior officer. But further use was to be made of the adventures of that night.
Cassio told Iago, whom he still thought was his friend, that he was sorry for his foolish behaviour. He knew he had made Othello angry. He wanted to get his position back and he asked Iago what he should do.
Pretending to be friendly, Iago advised him to ask for Desdemona's help. She could plead his case to Othello he said, and Othello would do anything that Desdemona asked him. Desdemona would be able to restore Cassio to the General's favor.
This was good advice, but it was given for a wicked purpose. If Cassio did as Iago planned to make Othello ask himself why his wife was pleading for Cassio. Iago planned to make Othello ask himself why his wife was pleading for Cassio. Iago would then get Othello to believe that Desdemona had fallen in love with Cassio. This Iago knew would make Othello very unhappy.
Cassio followed Iago's advice. The next day he went to see Desdemona and asked for her help. Desdemona promised Cassio that she would do everthing in her power to help him. She said that she would give Othello no peace until he pardoned Cassio.
Soon afterwards Desdemona spoke to Othello, asking him to forgive Cassio. She showed him how sorry poor Cassio was. She said it was unfair that Cassio should be given such a hard punishment. 'My Iord,'she said, 'you know that before we were married, Cassio often came to talk to me about you. He always befended you when I was displeased with anything you had done. Now I am defending him from your displeasure. Really, I think this is a very little thing to ask. If ever I wqant to test your love, Iwill ask a much more serious favour.'
Othello could not say 'No' to his wife. he finally agreed to do as she wished.
Othello and lago had entered the room together just as Cassio was Ieaving it after his conversation with Desdemona. lago full of cunning, said in a Iow voice.as if to himself, 'I do not like that.' At the time Othello took little notice of what lago had said, but when Desdemona had gone, he remembered it.
In this by his little remarks, cleverly planned questions replies that were not as sincere as they seemed. and annoying reminders of Othello's own Iago gradually persuaded Othello to distrust the friendship think there must be some meaning in all this, for he considered Iago an honest man. Iago probably sees and knows much more than he reveals. However he wanted to be sure To Iago he said later, I know that my wife is beautiful, loves company and feasting enjoy conversation, sings, plays, and dances well. But in someone who is of good character, there is nothing wrong with any of this. I must have proof before I think she s dishonest.
Iago declared he had no proof of Desdemona's unfaithfulness. He only begged Othello to watch her behavior closely and said not be jealous. At the same time he cunningly hinted that Venetian woman, married to man of high rank, were if ten unfaithful to their husbands. He reminded Othello that Desdemona had deceived her father in marrying him. Othello was persuaded by this argument. If she had deceived her father, might she not deceive him, her husband?
Othello was full of grief when he thought about these things but he refused to believe that Desdemona was false to him. However he took Iago's advice. He delayed his pardon of Cassio in order to observe Cassio's behavior with Desdemona.
In this way another part of Iago evil plan began to work. Othello was already unhappy, and Iago intended to trap Desdemona through her own goodness.
From then on the deceived Othello had no peace of mind. His work bored him. He no longer enjoyed fighting. His heart seemed to have lost all that pride and ambition which are a soldier's strength. All his old joys left him Sometimes he thought his wife was true to him. but sometimes he believed Iago. One day he caught told of Iago and demanded proof of Desdemona's guilt. Iago asked him if he knew his wife had a handkerchief with pictures of strawberries on it. Othello replied that it had been his first gift to her. Iago than said that he had seen Cassio using a handkerchief that looked exactly the same.
This was a lie, but it made Othello very angry. Othello said that if Desdemona really had given Cassio her handkerchief, it must mean she loved him. He wanted revenge.
Iago made his wife Emilia, who was Desdemona's servant get him the handkerchief. Emilia did not know why he wanted it. she thought perhaps he was going to have the pattern copied, so that he could give her a present just like it. In fact Iago planned to put the handkerchief in Cassio's room. When Cassio's had the handkerchief Iago would be able to prove to Othello that Desdemona was unfaithful.
Later that day Othello asked Desdemona about the handkerchief. He said he wanted it. Poor Desdemona could not find it. This is a great loss, said Othello, angrily. An Egyptian woman, a with who could read people's thoughts gave that handkerchief to my mother. The witch told her that as long as she kept the handkerchief, it would make her gentle, and my father would love her; but if she lost it or gave it away, then she would lose my father's love too. He would hate her as much as had once loved her.
Desdemona was full of grief. She feared that having lost the handkerchief, she would also the love of her husband. Besides, Othello's anger worried her. To take his thoughts away from the handkerchief, she began to plead for Cassio once more. This made matters worse. Angrily, Othello left the room.
The gentle Desdemona began to suspect that her lord was jealous, but she only blamed herself for thinkin badly of him. Men are not gods she said to herself. We must not expect the same respect from them, wedding day .
Soon afterwards Othello discovered that Cassio did indeed have the handkerchief with pictures of strawberries on it. Cassio had found it in his room. Cassio said that he did not know how it came to be there, but Othello did not believe him. He decided that this was clear proof of Desdemona's guilt. Later he ordered Iago to kill Cassio. He said he would kill Desdemona himself.
When Othello next saw Desdemona, he accused her of being unfaithful to him. He said he wished she had never been born. When he left her, Desdemona felt very tired and sad. She went to bed and cried herself to sleep.
As she was sleeping, Othello entered the room carrying a light. Moved by her beauty, he bent over her and kissed her. Desdemona woke up. Othello asked her if she had said her prayers. He told her ask God to forgive her because she was about to die.
Poor Desdemona was very frightened and asked him what she had done wrong. She denied all the charges that Othello made against her. She said she had not given the handkerchief to Cassio, that she had never loved Cassio more than as a friend. She said that if Cassio had the handkerchief, he must have found it somewhere.
But Othello thought that she was lying. He had decided that she must die before she could betray any other men.
Desdemona asked Othello to fetch Cassio so that he could be questioned. She thought Cassio would tell Othello the truth, and then Othello would realize what a mistake he had made. But when Othello told her that Iago had been sent to kill Cassio she realized she had fallen into a trap. There was nothing she could do.
She begged Othello not to kill her just to send her away, but he just pushed her roughly down onto the bed. As she struggled, she begged him again not to kill her then and there, but to wait for just one day, or if not that, then just half an hour so she could pray to God. It is too late, shouted Othello angrily. He pushed her head down into the pillow so that she could not breathe, and held her there until she stopped struggling, and was silent and still.
Emilia knocked at the door. She seemed to be highly excited. She shouted to Othello that she wanted to speak to him. Othello let her in and asked her what was the matter.
Cassio has just killed a young Venetian gentleman called Rodrigo she said.
Rodrigo? What about Cassio? Wasn't Cassio killed, too? Othello asked.
No said Emilia.
Othello was puzzled, but just at that moment both he and Emilia heard a faint voice calling from the bed, Oh, falsely, falsely murdered! it said
Emilia recognized her Iadly's voice. She went to the bed and immediately realized that something was very wrong. Help help, she screamed. Oh Iady speak again. Sweet Desdemona! Oh sweet mistress speal!
A guiltless death I die whispered Desdemona.
Oh what happened? cried Emilia who loved her young mistress. Who has done this to you?
Nobody whispered Desdemona weakly, I myself...Remember me to my kind lord. Oh...Desdemona's head fell to one side. She was dead.
What does she meam? How can she have been murdered> said Othello.
Who knows? Emilia replied but she looked at Othello suspiciously.
You heard her say, herself that it was not I.
She did say so--that is the truth.
Then she is a liar! Othello shouted out. And like all liars she has gone to Hell. The truth is that I killed her!
Othello tried to tell Emilia how wicked Desdemona had been and that she was a false and unfaithful wife. Emilia would not believe him, so he told her that her husband Iago knew all about it. He said that Iago had told him Desdemona had been unfaithful to him, and that she loved Michael Cassio.
My husband told you that ? Emilia said clearly surprised.
Yes it was he who told me first. Your husband is an honest man. He hates wickedness.
Emilia speaks out
Emilia did not think that her husband could have said anything bad about Desdemona. She refused to believe what for Desdemona's. She began to call out, veryloudly, Help help oh help! The Moor has killed my mistress. Murder murder! Soon people came running to see what was the matter Iago among them.
Oh, there you are Iago said Emilia Someone here is trying to blame you for a murder he has done. He claims you told him that his wife was unfaithful to him. Now you tell me it isn't true.
I told him what I thought and only what he himself could see was the truth.
But did you ever say she was unfaithful to him.?
Then you told a lie. A wicked lie. And did you say she was in love with Cassio?
Yes with Cassio. Now will you stop questioning me?' I will not. I have to know the truth. It seems the thing you have been saying are the cause of this Look my mistress is lying here murdered in her bed.
By then there were many people in the room. Until then they had not noticed Desdemona. They were shocked, and all started speaking at once. Many of them stared at Iago; they began to suspect he had played an important part in this wicked deed.
Are you mad? Iago shouted at his wife angrily. Be quiet and go straight home.
Emilia was not frightened of him. I know I ought to obey you, she said but not now that this has happened Let me speak.