Othello wants to ascertain if she is honest or a whore. The logic of these lines is forceful, and Iago is astute enough to pause now and then, begging his superior's forgiveness, and, at the same time, attributing his own frankness to his devotion and regard for Othello. Summary Othello gives Iago some letters that need to be delivered back to Venice, which Iago is in turn supposed to give to a ship's pilot who is sailing back to Venice. Cassio gives the clown a gold piece, and asks the clown to bring Emilia to him so that he may speak with her. How Othello sees himself directly influences how he views Desdemona's love. Desdemona comes to call Othello to dinner.
However, Othello agrees to restore him the day Desdemona wants. Obviously, Othello only put them on watch because he had some business to attend to. Yet Iago is certain that Othello has already exaggerated to himself everything he has just heard. Desdemona remains as faithful here in her love as in 1. One can see how skillfully Iago makes use of his public reputation for honesty. Desdemona spoke strongly in his favor.
Othello wants Cassio dead, Iago agrees to do it, and then Othello wonders how to kill Desdemona. Iago tries to make Othello suspicious with an off-handed comment, but Desdemona, in seeing her husband, declares that it was Cassio she was talking to and argues that Othello should reinstate Cassio. Further, it's for shame that the men make such a ruckus when the poor people of Cyprus feel like they're at war, and their supposed rescuers can't even manage their own domestic disputes. Iago says he'd rather not say, and then Othello presses him, and then Iago says he'd rather not say, and Othello presses. This act represents the beginning of Othello's giving up language; until this point in the play, Othello has spoken with beautiful images, convincing rhetoric, and used his language to express the eloquence and beauty in his soul. This is a setup for a fight between the two.
Emilia is present and adds her own good wishes for Cassio; she too hopes that Desdemona will be successful. Othello then kneels and swears that his former love for Desdemona will not stop him from bloodily avenging her betrayal. Note that Iago very carefully avoids explicitly saying that marriage to Othello in particular was an unnatural choice, but he exploits the heck out of the suggestion. Brabantio demands that they cease discussing state business and instead deal with the fact that his daughter has been corrupted by spells and potions so that she would marry a man she would never otherwise have considered. Here it is significant that twice Emilia uses the verb steal and also the verb filch when she refers to Iago's request lines 293, 309, and 315.
If Iago is just playing with him, he's going to really regret it. He says he was chatting with Montano when a fellow ran in crying for help, with Cassio in hot pursuit. Emilia picks up the handkerchief secretly, and gives it to Iago. She decides to make a copy of the handkerchief for him. All in all, Iago claims he wants to protect Cassio, but in actuality, he deliberately makes Cassio seem to be the one at fault. The musicians say they don't have any music like that, so he sends them away. Othello trusts Iago's words to convey proof, and is thwarted by Iago's dishonesty.
Here the reader should recall Othello's words to the Duke of Venice; he confessed that he knew very little of the world except for that pertaining to warfare. He then asks Bianca to make a copy of a handkerchief that he hands to her. Othello enters, and asks for Desdemona's handkerchief; she admits that she does not have it, and then Othello tells her of its significance and alleged magical powers. Othello is a master of games on the battlefield, but he is innocent of social games. Desdemona is unstoppable in her pleas to Othello to restore Cassio to his position. Emilia then picks up the handkerchief, noting that Desdemona treasures it since it was the first gift that Othello gave to her, and also that Iago is always asking her to steal it for some reason. Then Roderigo will have a chance to win Desdemona for himself.
Scene ii: Othello sends Iago to take care of some official business, and tells him to meet him later to inspect some fortifications. Othello declares that he would never have suspected Desdemona before, since a man who's robbed of something and doesn't know it is as good as not having been robbed at all. Othello thinks Iago's meager report of Cassio's wrong is his attempt to cover for Cassio, which lets him imagine that Cassio is even more at fault. They exit to go to dinner. Desdemona responds that just as her own mother once had to shift her obedience from her own father to Brabantio, so must she shift her obedience from Brabantio to Othello. Or, it may be taken that this is illustration of human character in general, which is naturally affected by insecurity and doubt. Never more shall he find repose.
Othello responded that because Montano is so powerful and well-liked in Cyprus he can't simply give Cassio his job back. Desdemona tells Othello that Cassio came for request of restoration. Othello asks Iago whether he believes Cassio to be honest, and Iago feigns reluctance to answer. His peaceful mind, his happiness, and even his standing as a soldier especially his joy in the glory of war are all tainted by this knowledge. Othello needs to be able to trust Desdemona, which he no longer can as he she has lost the handkerchief which he believes is indicative of her lack of love. Joseph Ward May 31, 2014; Christine McKeever ed.
There is an element of prophecy here not only in Desdemona's and Othello's farewells to one another, but also in their lines and in the remainder of the Moor's first speech after Desdemona leaves. Roderigo promises to sell all his land for money instead of killing himself. He pushes it from him and it falls unnoticed to the floor. Deception: Again Iago manages to deceive another without concrete evidence or proof of what he is saying. She says that he does not visit her enough.