Othello Act 2 scene 3


Act two scene three

Key points:

-          Othello puts Cassio in charge during the celebration. He instructs Cassio to make sure that the men on guard practice moderation and self-restraint despite the party. When Othello and Desdemona are gone, Iago praises Desdemona's beauty while also slyly suggesting that she might be a seductress. Cassio agrees that Desdemona is beautiful, but believes her to be modest. Iago then turns the conversation to the revels, and tries to convince Cassio to take a drink. Cassio declines, saying he has no tolerance for alcohol.

-          Alone, Iago addresses the audience: the revellers are Roderigo and three men of Cyprus, who are all touchy about their honour and whom he has made sure to get drunk. Once he has also gotten Cassio drunk, he will create some event that results in Cassio offending the people of Cyprus. Eventually, Cassio, who is drunk but loudly protesting that he is in fact not drunk, exits offstage. While Cassio is gone, Iago speaks with Montano, telling him that Cassio is a great soldier, but that he has a terrible drinking problem and may not be able to handle the responsibilities Othello has given him. 

-          Cassio chases Roderigo onstage, cursing at him. They are about to fight when Montano tries to intervene, noting that Cassio is drunk. Cassio is offended, and he and Montano fight. During the fighting, Iago sends Roderigo to raise an alarm. Cassio injures Montano. Othello enters with his attendants. He immediately puts an end to the fighting, and demands to know how the fighting began. Iago and Cassio say they do not know, while Montano says that he is too injured to speak, but he adds that Iago does know the full story. Iago speaks,


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