Act II Scene 1 A terrible storm has struck Cyprus, just as the Turks were about to approach. This might mean that the Turkish attack will not happen; but it also bodes badly for Othellos ship. A messenger enters, and confirms that the Turkish fleet was broken apart by the storm, and that Cassio has arrived, though Othello is still at sea. They spot a ship coming forth; but Iago, Desdemona, and Emilia are on it, not Othello. Cassio greets them all, especially praising Desdemona; somehow, Iago and Desdemona enter into an argument about what women are Iago shows how little praise he believes women deserve. Othello arrives at last, and is very glad to see his wife arrived
Act II Scene 1 Othello and Desdemona make public signs of their love, and then depart. Iago speaks to Roderigo, convincing him that Desdemona will stray from Othello, as she has already done with Cassio. He convinces Roderigo to attack Cassio that night, as he plans to visit mischief on both Othello and Cassio.
Analysis: Storms Storms are always of greater significance in Shakespeare: the storm is a symbol of unrest The storm marks the end of the peaceful part of the play, and is an act of fate it is a signal that Iagos mischief is about to begin. Shakespeares characters that comment on the storm are mariners, alluding to Ursa Minor and stars used for navigation This is a testament to Shakespeares incredible ability to form credible language for a great diversity and range of characters.
Analysis: Cassio Just as every character has their own manner of speech and expression, Cassio has a very polished, courtly way of speaking, especially of ladies. He describes Desdemona as one who "excels the quirks of blazoning pens"; he calls her "divine Desdemona" As Iago finds out later, he has no love for her, though much respect; so it is with much irony that Cassio is charged as being Desdemonas lover Othello sees Cassio as a model Venetian, all poise and polish, which is something Othello wants to be, but thinks he is not. Othellos insecurities mean that Cassio is promoted over Iago, but also lead Othello to hold Cassio at a distance.
Analysis: Women Though Iago is married, he does not have as favorable an impression of women as Cassio does. Women are "wildcats in your kitchens, saints in your injuries, devils being offended“ He even declares that they "rise to play, and go to bed to work“ Iagos perception of women as deceptive, dominating, and lusty colors the way he portrays both Emilia and Desdemona; both are good women Desdemona exceedingly so, yet he is able to convince other men that they are anything but what they are.
Analysis: Misrepresentation Misrepresentation is a theme that surfaces often through Iagos villainy He makes Desdemona seem like a fickle, lusty woman, which he will soon try to convince Othello of as well. Iagos speech plays on Othellos insecurities perfectly He speaks of Othellos age, race, and manners as reasons why Desdemona will grow tired of him, which are also reaons why Othello fears he might lose her. Iago is also a master of temptation, another theme in the story He is able to figure out exactly what people want, and then drive them to it.
Analysis: Motives Though Iago seems grieved by Cassios promotion over him, this does not seem to be his main motive. Iago also cites his suspicions that Emilia and Othello have had an affair as another reason for his enmity. Iago is not a man to be consumed with sexual jealousy; though rumors about his wife may hurt his pride, they seem but an excuse for the misery he is about to cause. Shakespeare leaves the root of Iagos malignancy unexplained, while showing the fruits of his evil in full.
Act II Scene 2 Othellos herald enters, to proclaim that the Turks are not going to attack All should be joyful, and Othello is celebrating the happiness of his recent marriage.
Act II Scene 3 Iago gets Cassio to drink a bit, knowing that he cannot hold his liquor at all. Iago also tries to get Cassios feelings about Desdemona, but his intentions are innocent Iago hopes to cause a quarrel between Cassio and Roderigo Iago wants to see Cassio discredited through this, so that he might take Cassios place. Cassio fights with Roderigo Montano tries to hinder Cassio, but Cassio ends up injuring him. The noise wakes Othello, who comes down to figure out what has happened. Montano tells what he knows of it all, and Iago fills in the rest making sure to fictionalize his part in it all. Cassio is stripped of his rank, and all leave Cassio and Iago alone.
Act II Scene 3 Iago tries to convince Cassio that a reputation means little Iago suggests talking to Desdemona, maybe he can get her to vouch for him with Othello. This will help Iago get the impression across that Desdemona and Cassio are together Iago then gives a soliloquy about knowing that Desdemona will speak for Cassio, and that he will be able to turn that against them both.
Analysis: Honesty "Honest" emerges as a key word in this scene It is a term laden with irony, and a constant reminder of the dramatic irony inherent in Iagos dealings. None of the characters in the play have any idea of Iagos plans and evil intentions: Othello and Cassio are especially innocent of this knowledge. The audience knows exactly what Iago is up to, and is able to see his deceptions for what they are Iagos words interest the audience because of how much dramatic irony they are laden with Curiosity to find out whether Cassio and Othello will come to know as much as the audience does about Iagos deviance. The word "honest" draws attention to how Iagos motives are hidden from the characters onstage
Analysis: Juxtaposition Iago and Cassio are juxtaposed in this scene to bring out Cassios flawed honor and courtliness and Iagos manipulativeness and deceptiveness. Cassio stands in especially sharp contrast to Iago when Iago speaks lustfully of Desdemona Cassio is full of honor when it comes to women, and the ideals of a courtier as well. "Hes a soldier fit to stand by Caesar," Iago says, the allusion to Caesar stating the fact that he knows Cassios true quality. Iago strikes gold when he figures out Cassios weakness for drink "Hell be as full of quarrel and offense as my young mistress dog," Iago’ metaphor shows that he knows how liquor can separate even the best man from himself Iagos metaphor reinforces his perceptiveness, and the light/dark imagery
Analysis: Know the Audience Iagos homage to "sweet England" in his song of this act: though this play does not take place in England features no English characters Shakespeare throws this in to amuse his audience. He does the same in plays like Hamlet, in which a little nod to England is thrown in for comic effect, and as an audience pleaser.
Analysis: Reputation Reputation is a theme in the book that obviously holds some resonance for Cassio Iago also knows the importance of reputation, which is why he makes sure that people see him as "honest" before anything. "Reputation is a most idle and false imposition," Iago says: this statement is meant as false consolation to Cassio, and is filled with great irony. Reputation is always of concern when individuals are involved
Analysis: Devil Cassio is so grieved that his reputation has been hurt that he sees fit to find a villain in all that has happened Ironically, Cassio misses the identity of the real devil in this situation, Iago. "Devil" becomes a key word in this play, as people try to seek out what is poisoning everyone Good vs. evil is a major theme in the play There is a great deal of gray area: Iago is the villain Everyone else has some blemish of their natures No one entirely deserving of the label "good".