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Abridged Othello/#1/Background/Act 1, Scene 1

As the play opens, Roderigo and Iago enter.  Their topic of discussion is Othello, a Moor
and a general in the Venetian army.
Roderigo says “Thou toldst me thou didst hold him in thy hate.”  Iago replies “Despise me if I do not.”  Iago lets us know he is angry with Othello because
he has chosen “Michael Cassio, a Florentine, a great arithmetician, cursed by
being married to a fair wife, as his lieutenant, and I his Moorship’s ancient.”  The lieutenant is Othello’s second in
command; an ancient is the lowest ranking officer in the infantry.  Roderigo replies “I rather would have been
his hangman. I would not follow him, then.”
Iago says “O, sir, content you.  I
follow him to use him to serve my own ends.”
This is the essence of the play.
This is where we learn that Iago has his own agenda; an agenda to destroy
Othello for this insult; for appointing Cassio as his lieutenant (and for
another reason that we’ll address later). The two of them have arrived at
Brabantio’s house; he being a Venetian senator.  Roderigo says “Here is her father’s
house.  I’ll call aloud.  What ho, Brabantio!”  Iago shouts “Awake. Thieves!”  Brabantio enters above, crying “What is the
matter there?”  Roderigo cries “Signior,
is all your family within?”  Iago says
“Sir, you’re robbed.”  Brabantio says
“What, have you lost your wits?  What are
you?”  Roderigo says “My name is
Roderigo.”  Brabantio says “I have told
thee; my daughter is not for thee.”
Roderigo says “Patience, good sir.”
Brabantio says “What tell’st thou me of robbing?”  Roderigo says “I beseech you.  Your fair daughter is transported in the
gross clasps of a Moor.  If she be in her
chamber or your house, let loose on me the justice of the state for thus
deluding you.”  Brabantio says “Light, I
say, light!”  Brabantio exits.  Iago says “Farewell.  I do know the state cannot dismiss him for
he’s embarked to the Cyprus wars.  You
shall find your search will lead to the Sagittary Inn, and there will I be with
him.”  He exits. Brabantio enters,
hurriedly saying “It is too true an evil.
Gone she is.  Now, Roderigo, where
didst thou see her?  With the Moor, sayst
thou?  Are they married, think you?”  Roderigo says “Truly, I think they are.”  Brabantio says “Do you know where we may
apprehend her and the Moor.”  Roderigo
says “I think I can discover him, if you please to get good guard and go along
with me.”  Brabantio says “Pray you lead
on. Oh, good Roderigo, I will reward your pains.”  They exit.

Abridged Othello/#2/Conflict/Act 1, Scene 2

The scene opens at the Sagittary Inn in Venice, with
Othello and Iago on stage.  Iago asks “I
pray you, sir, are you fast married?
Brabantio is much beloved, and hath a voice potentially double the
Duke’s.”  Othello replies “Let him do his
spite.  My services done shall out-tongue
his complaints.  Know, Iago, I love the
gentle Desdemona.”  Cassio, with officers
and torches, enters, saying “The Duke requires your haste-post-haste
appearance, even on the instant.”
Othello asks ‘What is the matter?”
Cassio says “Something from Cyprus.
It is a business of some heat.
You have been hotly called for.”  Othello says “’Tis well I am found by
you.  I will go with you.”  Othello exits.  Cassio asks Iago “Ancient, what makes he
here?”  Iago says “He’s married.”  Cassio asks “To who?”  Othello re-enters.  Brabantio, Roderigo, with officers and
torches enter.  Iago cries “It is
Brabantio.  General, be advised.  He comes with bad intent.”   Othello confronts Brabantio calmly.  Brabantio yells “O, thou foul thief, where
hast thou stowed my daughter?  Lay hold
upon him.  If he do resist, subdue him at
his peril.”  Othello asks “Whither will
you have me go with this your charge?”
Brabantio replies “To prison.”
Othello asks “What if I do obey?
How may the Duke be therewith satisfied, whose messengers are here about
my side to bring me to him?”  An Officer
says “’Tis true. The Duke’s in council, and your noble self is sent for.”  Brabantio says “How?  The Duke in council?  In this time of the night?  The Duke himself cannot but feel this wrong
as ‘twere his own.”

Abridged Othello/#3/Threat/Act 1, Scene 3.1

The scene opens with the Duke noting that the news does
“all confirm a Turkish fleet, and bearing up to Cyprus.”  A sailor enters to say “The Turkish
preparation makes for Rhodes.”  A Messenger enters to say “The Ottomites of thirty sail bear with frank appearance their purposes toward Cyprus.”
The Duke says “’Tis certain, then, for Cyprus.”  Brabantio, Othello, Cassio, Iago, Roderigo
and others enter.  The Duke greets
Othello, saying “Valiant Othello, we must straight employ you against the
general enemy Ottoman.”  Brabantio turns
to the Duke and says “Good your Grace, pardon me.  My particular grief is of so o’erbearing
nature that it swallows other sorrows.
My daughter is stol’n from me by spells and medicines bought by
wandering quacks.  The Duke says “Whoe’er
he be —.”  Brabantio jumps in, saying
“Here is the man; the Moor.”  Othello
says “It is most true; true I have married her.
But with what drugs, what charms, what conjuration won I his daughter?”  Brabantio cries “I couch that with some
mixtures powerful o’er the blood, he wrought upon her.”  A Senator asks “But, Othello, did you subdue
and poison this young maid’s affections.”
Othello says “I do beseech you, send for the lady to the Sagittary and
let her speak of me before her father.”
The Duke cries “Fetch Desdemona hither.”
Iago and attendants exit.  Othello
tells the men how when he told her of his “battles, sieges and hairbreadth
‘scapes, she gave me for my pains a world of sighs; ‘twas wondrous
pitiful.”  Desdemona, Iago and attendants
enter.  Brabantio says “I pray you hear
her speak.”  She says to her father “My
life and education do learn me how to respect you.  You are the lord of duty.  I am hitherto your daughter.  But here’s my husband.”  Brabantio says “Come hither, Moor.”  They shake hands.  The Duke says “What is past help should be
past tears.”   Brabantio rebounds, saying
“So let the Turk of Cyprus us beguile, we lose it not so long as we can
smile.”  The Duke says “The Turk with a
most mighty preparation makes for Cyprus.”
He tells Othello that they need him on Cyprus to lead their response to
the planned Turkish invasion.  Othello
says “I do undertake this present war against the Ottomites.”  But “I crave most appropriate arrangements
for my wife.”  He wants her to go to
Cyprus with him.  The Duke asks “What
would you, Desdemona?”

Abridged Othello/#4/Strategy/Act 1, Scene 3.2

The Duke asks Desdemona what she has to say for
herself.  She says “Let me go with
him.”  Othello supports her, saying “Let
her have your voice.” After listening to Othello’s case, the Duke says “Be it
as you shall privately determine, either for her stay or going.  At nine i’ th’ morning here we’ll meet
again.  Othello, leave some officer
behind to deal with such things that are of concern to you.”  Othello says “So, please your Grace, my
ancient, a man he is of honesty and trust, to his escort, I assign my
wife.”   The Duke says “Good night to
everyone.”  Brabantio adds “Look to her,
Moor.  She has deceived her father, and
may thee.”  He exits.  Othello says “Honest Iago, my Desdemona must
I leave to thee.”  Othello and Desdemona
exit.  Roderigo says “Iago, I will
immediately drown myself.”  Iago asks
“Why, thou silly gentleman!”  Roderigo
replies “It is silliness to live, when to live is torment.”  Iago lets us know that he is twenty-eight.  Roderigo is in love with Desdemona, saying “I
confess it is my shame to be so doting, but it is not in my power to amend it.”
Iago gets tired of Roderigo’s complaining and says “Come, be a man! Drown
thyself?”  Iago suggests he convert his land
and other assets into cash.  Iago tells
him “It cannot be that Desdemona should long continue her love for the
Moor.  She must exchange Othello for a
young man.  Convert your valuables to
cash.  Put money in your purse.  A plague of drowning thyself!   I have
told thee again and again; I hate the Moor. Let us unite in our revenge against
him.  We will have more of this
tomorrow.  No more of drowning, do you
hear.”  Roderigo says “I am changed.  I’ll sell all my land.”  Roderigo exits.  Iago says to himself “He holds me well.  The better shall my purpose work on him.
Cassio’s a proper man.  Let’s see.  After some time, I’ll abuse Othello’s ear
that Cassio is too familiar with his wife.
The Moor is of a free and open nature that thinks men honest that but
seem to be so.”  He has a demented plan,
as we shall see.  He says “Hell and night
must bring this monstrous birth to the world’s light.”

Abridged Othello/#5/Arrival/Act 2, Scene 1.1

Montano, an official in Cyprus, and two Gentlemen are on
stage. The scene is Cyprus. Montano tells us “Methinks the wind hath spoke
aloud at land.  A fuller blast ne’er
shook our battlements.  If that the
Turkish fleet be not ensheltered and embayed, they are drowned.”  A third Gentleman enters, saying “Our wars
are done.  The desperate tempest hath so
banged the Turks that their plan is crippled.
But, a noble ship of Venice is here put in.  Michael Cassio, lieutenant to the warlike
Moor Othello, is come ashore.  This same
Cassio looks sadly and prays the Moor is safe, for they were parted with the
violent tempest.”  Cassio enters, saying
“Thanks. Let the heavens give the Moor defense against the elements, for I have
lost him on a dangerous sea.”  Voices
within cry “A sail, a sail!”  The Gentlemen
exit to see “who ‘tis that is arrived.”
Montano asks Cassio “Is your general wived?”  Cassio says “Most fortunately.  He hath achieved a maid that excels the
quirks of poets who list the beauties of women.”  A Gentleman enters.  Cassio asks “Who has put in?”  The Gentleman says “’Tis one Iago.  The Tempests themselves let go by safely the
divine Desdemona.”  Montano asks “What is
she?”  Cassio replies “She that I spake
of, our great captain’s captain, left in the escort of the bold Iago.”  Desdemona, Iago, Roderigo and Emilia
enter.  Emilia is Iago’s wife and
Desdemona’s attendant.  Desdemona says “I
thank you, valiant Cassio.  What tidings
can you tell of my lord?”  Cassio
responds “He is not yet arrived.”  Voices
within cry “A sail, a sail!”  A Gentleman
exits.  Ever-gracious Cassio greets Iago
and gives Emilia a kiss.  Iago has a few
things to say, Desdemona calling them “fond paradoxes to make fools laugh i’
th’ alehouse.”  She goes on to say “Is he
not a most profane counselor?”  Cassio
adds “You may relish him more in the soldier than in the scholar.”  Cassio takes Desdemona’s hand and kisses her
fingers. He treats her with “excellent courtesy.”  Iago remembers every moment, planning to use
Cassio’s good manners to “ensnare” him.
Trumpets sound.  Iago says “The
Moor. I know his trumpet.”  Othello and
attendants enter.

Abridged Othello/#6/Strategy/Act 2, Scene 1.2

Othello and his ship arrive safely in Cyprus, he saying
“Come, let’s to the castle.  Our wars are
done. The Turks are drowned. Come Desdemona.
You shall be much loved in Cyprus.”
All exit but Iago and Roderigo.
Iago turns to Roderigo and says “I must tell thee this: Desdemona is
directly in love with the Lieutenant.”
Roderigo says “Why, ‘tis not possible.”
Iago tells him that in time she is going to tire of Othello; that “very
nature will compel her to some second choice.”
Roderigo says “I cannot believe that in her.  She’s full of most blessed character.”  Iago says “If she had been blessed, she would
never have loved the Moor. Didst thou not see her play with her fingers on his
hand?”  Roderigo says “Yes, but that was
but courtesy.”  Iago says “Pish!  Sir, be you ruled by me.  I have brought you from Venice.  Stand watch tonight. Cassio knows you
not.  Do you find some occasion to anger
Cassio, either by speaking too loud, or from what other course you please,
which the time shall more favorably minister.”
Roderigo says “Well.”  Iago says
“He’s rash and very sudden to anger.
Provoke him that he may strike you, which will cause these of Cyprus to
mutiny, which will shorten the journey to your desires.”  Roderigo says “I will do this.”  Iago says “Meet me by and by at the citadel.”  Roderigo exits. Iago tells us “That Cassio
loves her, I do well believe ‘t.  That
she loves him, ‘tis apt and quite believable.
Now, I do love her too, for that I do suspect the lusty Moor hath leaped
into my seat, the thought whereof doth gnaw my innards.”  Earlier, Iago had told us “I hate the Moor, and
it is thought abroad that ‘twixt my sheets he has done my duty as a
husband.”  He now tells us that if
Roderigo can carry out my assignments, then “I’ll have our Michael Cassio on
the defensive, slander him to the Moor, and make the Moor thank me, destroying
his peace and quiet even to madness.”

Abridged Othello/#7/Conspiracy/Act 2, Scene 3.1

We’ve been told that a party in Cyprus is being planned
to celebrate Othello and Desdemona’s marriage and the destruction of the
Turkish fleet.  Othello, Desdemona and
Cassio are on stage.  Othello says “Good
Michael, let’s teach ourselves not to celebrate beyond discretion.”  Cassio replies “Iago hath direction what to
do.”  Othello says “Iago is most
honest.”  Othello and Desdemona
exit.  Iago enters, and says “Lieutenant,
our general cast us thus early for the love of his Desdemona.”  Cassio says “She’s a most exquisite lady;
indeed perfection.”  Iago says “Come,
lieutenant, I have a stoup of wine.”
Cassio says my brains and drinking don’t go well together. Iago
persuades him to share some wine with him, to Cassio’s undoing.  Cassio exits.
Iago says “If I can fasten but one cup upon him with that which he hath
drunk tonight already, he’ll be as full of quarrel and offense as my young
mistress’ dog.”  Cassio, Montano and a
Gentleman enter.  Iago says “Some wine,
ho!”  Cassio cries “To the health of our
general!”  Iago says “Some wine,
ho!”  Cassio says “Do not think,
gentlemen, I am drunk.  I can stand well
enough, and I speak well.”  He
exits.  Iago says to Montano “You see
this fellow?  ‘Tis pity of him.  I fear the trust Othello puts him in; on some
odd time of his infirmity, he will shake this island.”  Montano says “Perhaps the General sees it
not.”  Roderigo enters.  Iago says “Roderigo, I pray you, after the
Lieutenant, go.”  Roderigo exits. Montano
says “’Tis great pity that the noble Moor should hazard such a place as his own
second in command.  It were an honest
action to say so to the Moor.”  Iago
replies “Not I.  I do love Cassio well
and would do much to cure him of this evil.”
Within, they hear the cry “Help, help!”
Cassio enters pursuing Roderigo.
Cassio yells “I’ll beat the knave.”
He hits Roderigo.  Montano cries
“Nay, good lieutenant.  I pray you, sir,
hold your hand.”  Cassio yells “Let me
go, sir.”  Montano says “Come, you’re
drunk.”  Cassio says “Drunk?”  They fight.
Aside, Iago says to Roderigo “Go out and cry a mutiny.”  Roderigo exits.  Iago cries “Help, ho! Lieutenant, Montano.  Help, masters!”  A bell is rung.  Iago says “Who’s that which rings the alarm
bell? Lieutenant, you will be shamed forever.”
Othello and attendants enter.

Abridged Othello/#8/Treachery/Act 2, Scene 3.2

Othello cries “What is the matter here?  Montano says “I bleed still.  I am hurt to th’ death.”  He attacks Cassio.  Iago cries “Hold, ho! Gentlemen, have you
forgot all sense of place and duty?”
Othello asks “From whence ariseth this? Who began this?”  Iago replies “I do not know.”  Othello turns to Cassio, saying “How have you
so forgotten yourself?”  Cassio says “I
pray you pardon me; I cannot speak.”
Othello says “Worthy Montano, you used to be civil.  What’s the matter that you unlace your
reputation thus?  Give me answer to
it.”  Montano replies “Worthy Othello, I
am hurt to danger.”  An angry Othello
says “Give me to know how this foul rout began; who set it on. ‘Tis monstrous.  Iago, who began ‘t?”  Montano says “If thou dost deliver more or
less than truth, thou art no soldier.”
Iago says “Thus it is, general: Montano and myself being in speech,
there comes a fellow (Roderigo) crying out for help, and Cassio following him with
determined sword to use against him.
Montano steps in to Cassio and entreats his pause.  Myself the crying fellow did pursue, but he,
swift of foot, outran my purpose.  I
returned for that I heard the clink and fall of swords. I found them close together
at blow and thrust.  But men are men; the
best sometimes forget, though Cassio did some little wrong to him, yet surely
Cassio, I believe, received from him that fled some strange indignity.”  Othello says “I know, Iago, thy honesty doth
mince this matter, making it light to Cassio.
Cassio, I love thee, but nevermore be officer of mine.”  Desdemona enters, asking “What is the matter,
dear?”  Othello says “All’s well now,
sweeting.”  He says to Montano “Sir, for
your hurts, myself will be your surgeon.”
Montano is led off.  All exit but
Iago and Cassio.

Abridged Othello/#9/Devious/Act 2, Scene 3.3

Iago asks “Are you hurt, lieutenant?”  Cassio replies “My reputation, Iago, my
reputation!”  Iago says “Reputation is an
idle and most false imposition, oft got without merit and lost without
deserving.  You have lost no reputation
at all, unless you repute yourself such a loser.  What, man, there are ways to recover the
General again!  Petition him again and
he’s yours.”  Iago changes the subject,
asking “What was he that you followed with your sword?  What had he done to you?”  Cassio says “I know not.  I remember a quarrel but not the cause of
it.”  Iago says “Since it is as it is,
mend it for your own good.”  Cassio says
“He shall tell me I am a drunkard.”  Iago
says “Come, come, good wine is a good familiar creature, if it be well
used.  Exclaim no more against it.  I’ll tell you what you shall do.  Our general’s wife is now the general.  Confess yourself freely to her. Importune her
help to put you in your place again.  She
is so kind, so blessed a disposition she holds it a vice in her goodness not to
do more than she is requested.”  Cassio
says “You advise me well.  In the morning
I will beseech the virtuous Desdemona to undertake for me.”  Iago says “You are in the right.”  Cassio exits. Iago tells us “As she strives
to do him good, she shall undo her credit with the Moor.  I will through her goodness make the net that
shall enmesh them all.”  Roderigo enters,
saying “My money is almost spent, and so, with no money at all and a little
more good sense, I’ll return again to Venice.”
Iago will have none of it, saying “Content thyself awhile.  Retire thee; go where thou art billeted.”  Roderigo exits.  Iago tells us “My wife (Emilia) must
intercede with Desdemona, and I must draw the Moor in when he may Cassio find
soliciting his wife. Ay, that’s the way.”

Abridged Othello/#10/More Preparations/Act 3, Scenes 1-2

The scene opens with a group of musicians on stage, the
group arranged by Cassio, playing to honor Othello and Desdemona.  The music ends.  The musicians exit.  Iago enters.
Cassio says to Iago “Will you send in your wife that I might ask her to
petition virtuous Desdemona to procure me some access.”  Iago replies “I’ll send her to you
presently.”  Iago exits.  Cassio says to us “I never knew a friend of
mine in Florence to be more kind and honest.”
Emilia enters and says “Good morrow, good lieutenant.  The General and his wife are talking of it,
and she speaks for you stoutly.  The Moor
replies that he you hurt (Montano) is of great fame in Cyprus, but he loves you
and needs no other suitor to bring you in.”
Cassio says to Emilia “Yet I beseech you, if you think fit, give me
advantage of some brief discourse with Desdemona alone.”  Emilia says “Pray you come in.  I will bestow you where you shall have time.”  They exit.
Separately, Othello asks Iago to give “these letters to the pilot” of
the ship that bore him to Cyprus.
Othello tells us he plans to “walk on the fortified walls” around the
military compound.