Othello in Act 1 Scene 1
• Throughout the whole scene, nobody has
used Othello’s name – although all three
men have referred to him several times.
• Collect the terms used to describe him
and add to your Othello page: State who
speaks it and what it says about the
Term used Aspect of Othello Spoken
What does it say about the
“the moor” His race Iago Takes away his
“thick-lips” His physical
Act Summaries (Keep this in the back
of your Othello exercise books)
• A1S1: Iago and Roderigo wake up Brabantio to
tell him his daughter Desdemona has run off
and married “the moor” Othello. Racist
language is used, suggesting that any
grandchildren would be half animal!
Swearing by Janus
• In 1.2 Line 33, Iago swears
• 1. Why do you think it is
significant that he swears by
Janus during this scene?
• 2. What do you think his
real thoughts might be
during this scene?
• Janus: Roman God of
• Usually depicted as
having two faces, since
he looks to the future
and to the past
• January takes its name
Act 1 Scene 2
• Cassio arrives on an urgent mission from the
Duke to find Othello. He reports that war is
imminent and the Senate urgently needs Othello.
Iago tells Cassio of Othello’s marriage.
• Brabantio abuses Othello and physically
threatens him. He accuses Othello of enchanting
Desdemona with bad magic and drugs, and
orders his arrest. Othello reacts calmly.
• Brabantio is certain that the Duke will decide in
These are the main events of 1.2 – Try to condense
these events into 3 sentences max
Act 1 Scene 3
• The Duke and Venetian senators are considering news
of the Turkish threats of war on Cyprus, a Venetian
• Amid uncertainty about the size of the Turkish fleet, a
sailor brings news that it is now sailing towards
Rhodes. However, a senator and the Duke agree that
the Turks intend to attack Cyprus..
• A messenger from Montano, the governer of Cyprus,
brings more news: The Turkish fleet sails towards
Cyprus. Discussion of war tactics is interrupted by
Brabantio’s and Othello’s arrival
Act 1 Scene 3
• Brabantio publicly accuses Othello of abducting and seducing
his daughter. Othello offers to explain what has really
• Brabantio accuses Othello of drugging his daughter. The Duke
asks for proof. Othello suggests Desdemona is sent for to give
her side of the story. Iago goes to fetch her.
• Othello tells how he was introduced to Brabantio’s household.
He recounts how his relationship with Desdemona began
when he entertained her with the story of his life.
• Othello completes the story of his courtship just as
Desdemona arrives. Brabantio demands to know where her
duty lies, and she answers him diplomatically, but makes it
clear she now obeys Othello before her father.
Act 1 Scene 3
• Brabantio grudgingly gives up his accusations against Othello.
The Duke attempts to cheer him up, but Brabantio refuses
comfort. The Duke appoints Othello to supreme charge of the
defence of Cyprus.
• Othello promises to depart immediately for Cyprus, asking
only that Desdemona be provided for. Neither Brabantio nor
Desdemona wishes her to return to her father’s house.
Desdemona asks if she might accompany Othello.
• Othello wishes Desdemona to accompany him, and asserts
that she will not distract him from his military duties. The
Duke orders that they must depart that very night for Cyprus.
Brabantio warns Othello of Desdemona’s deceit.