Act IV Of Othello
- Date:Jul 04, 2019
1. Iago advises Othello that it is not too serious, because there is no proof that Desdemona and Cassio have done anything wrong, even if they have lain in bed together.
2. Othello falls down in a trance, and Iago asks Cassio to leave the room for a while, and then says he wants to speak to him later.
3. Iago talks about a woman claiming that she has claimed she will marry Cassio. He is referring to Bianca, but Othello assumes it is Desdemona. This makes Cassio think reacts angrily, making negative comments about the unnamed woman. Othello interprets this as boasting about Desdemona, but in fact, it is nothing of the sort.
4. Bianca wants to be Cassio’s lover but she correctly recognizes the handkerchief as “some minx’s token” and assumes that Cassio found it in his room because some lady left it there. She is angry that he has given it to her, with a request to work on it, because she is jealous of that mystery woman.
5. Bianca’s return with the handkerchief helps Iago because it provides physical evidence of some business going on between Desdemona and Cassio, and he can use this to persuade Othello of Desdemona’s unfaithfulness.
6. He strikes Desdemona because she has just said that she loves Cassio. She means in friendship, but Othello interprets this as sexual love.
7. Lodovico is a relative of Desdemona and he has come to Cyprus with a message from the Duke to recall Othello back to Venice.
8. Lodovico is shocked at the violence and says no one in Venice would believe this behavior. Iago implies that Othello’s true nature is showing and that he has changed from the respected man that he was in Venice into something more terrible.
9. Othello wants to find out if Emilia has seen any sign of a love affair between Cassio and Desdemona, such as whispering, or if Desdemona has been alone together, even for a short time. Emilia replies that Desdemona is absolutely honest and true.
10. Othello thinks that it is his love for Desdemona that makes this situation so impossible for him and that he can endure all kinds of rejection, only not the rejection of the one person he loves so deeply. He is correct in this analysis, but there are also elements of pride and jealousy in his character and he is less aware of these aspects.
11. Desdemona turns to Iago and Emilia, not realizing that they are involved in causing her distress.
12. Iago tells Roderigo to kill Cassio in order to stop Othello from leaving Cyprus. If Cassio is not there to take Othello’s place, then Othello will have to stay.
13. Iago had promised Othello that he would kill Cassio, and so Roderigo killing Cassio would fulfill that promise indirectly.
14. Desdemona is absolutely true to her husband. She even asks Emilia if there are any women who can abuse their husbands by being unfaithful to them, which shows that she has no such thoughts in her mind, and cannot even imagine doing this herself.
15. The willow song is all about love and adultery, and it is a way of letting the audience see what Desdemona is thinking at this critical point in the plot, and the interruptions draw out the song to let her reflect on what Emilia is saying. The song reminds the audience of Desdemona’s girlish innocence.
16. Othello envisages a violent death for Desdemona: hanging her, chopping her to pieces or poisoning her, in order to destroy her physical beauty. This reveals his extreme nature. Killing her in the marriage bed is a way of stressing his ownership of her. Emilia thinks women have just the same urges and passions as men and should express them. Desdemona is more demure and believes in the sanctity of marriage. They both have a point, and the moral of the play appears to side with Emilia’s cynical view, but ultimately Desdemona’s fidelity is the more appealing position.