Othello, Act 5: Plot Summary



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Othello Act 5, Plot Summary Outside of a brothel, Iago and Roderigo wait. Roderigo is preparing to ambush Cassio. After a few moments, Iago leaves the scene, even though Roderigo asks him to stay close in case something goes wrong with the ambush. Cassio then enters and Roderigo stabs at him, failing to pierce Cassio’s armor. Thus, Cassio defends himself and stabs Roderigo. Iago quickly returns to the scene and in the commotion stabs Cassio in the leg and exits. Cassio, unaware of who stabbed him, falls to the ground. Othello enters and hears Cassio’s cries.

Therefore, he draws the conclusion that Iago has killed Cassio. Enraged by what he believes to be Iago’s successful vengeance, Othello runs to his bedroom to kill Desdemona. Graziano and Lodovico enter the scene and can see nothing; however they hear the cries of Cassio and Roderigo. They are nervous to help because they think the situation could be a trap. Iago then enters the scene holding a light. Iago pretends to know nothing of the stabbing. He finds Cassio, who begs for his help. Then, he discovers Roderigo, who he stabs instantly.

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The other two men cannot see Igao; therefore, they are unaware of the murder. Finally, Cassio is questioned about his wounds. Upon entering the scene, Bianca cries out because she sees the wounded Cassio. Then, Iago asks Cassio about his attacker (Roderigo). However, Cassio cannot explain why and what just happened. Iago then suggests that Roderigo was the instigator. However, Cassio says that he does not know Roderigo. After the interrogation, Cassio and Roderigo’s dead body are carried off stage. Emilia enters, and Iago tells her what has just occurred.

Iago and Emilia then chastise Bianca, the owner of the house Cassio had eaten with that evening. Ultimately, Bianca is taken under arrest and sends Emilia to tell Othello and Desdemona what has transpire. Othello enters the bedroom and stands over his wife. He bends down to kiss her and she wakes. Then, Othello tells her to prepare for death. Terrified, Desdemona asks Othello why he will do such a deed. He responds by saying she has been unfaithful to him with Cassio. Othello mention the handkerchief as proof of her sin. She denies the charge; however, Othello doesn’t believe her.

He says Cassio confessed before Iago killed him. After hearing of Cassio’s death, Desdemona begins to cry. Thus, Othello is even more enraged and smothers her as she pleads for more time. Then, Emilia calls from outside the bedroom door. Othello, caught in his emotions, believes the noise is Desdemona still pleading. Therefore, he smothers her again. Othello then realizes Emilia is at the door. Emilia comes informs Othello that Cassio has murdered Roderigo. Othello asks her if Cassio has died. She responds that he is still alive.

Othello then realizes that his plan is not going well. Then, Desdemona, who is shockingly still alive, cries out that she has committed suicide. She says this to protect Othello. After a moment, she dies and Othello confesses to Emilia that he killed Desdemona. Shocked, Emilia asks him why. She does on to explain Iago’s conversation and influence. She then calls for help and Montano, Graziano, and Iago enter the scene. Emilia’s accusations lead to the unfolding of Iago’s villainous plan. Othello then throws himself upon the bed of his dead wife and begins to weep.

Graziano comments on the relief that Brabanzio, who is dead, is not here to see the fatal and of his daughter. Othello, who is still convinced of the relationship between Cassio and Desdemona, questions how Cassio came about the handkerchief. Emilia attempts to explain; but, Iago threatens her with a sword. Graziano stops Iago, allowing Emilia to explain how she found the handkerchief and gave it to Iago. Outraged, Othello heads for Iago with a weapon, but is disarmed by Montano. In the commotion of Othello, Iago stabs his wife and she falls down dying.

Then, Iago flees and Montano and Graziano chase after him. Othello is then left alone onstage with the two dead women. As he searches for a sword to kill himself, Emilia tells him that Desdemona was not unfaithful and that she loved only him. Graziano Lodovico, Cassio, and Iago return to the scene. Outraged, Othello stabs Iago. Before he can do anymore harm, Othello is disarmed. Iago, who is wounded, refuses to speak about what he has done. However, Lodovico finds a letter in Roderigo’s pocket that reveals all the aspects of the evil plan.

The heartbroken Othello then asks Cassio how he found the handkerchief. Cassio says that he found it in his chamber. Othello is told that he must go to Venice, where he will be stripped of his power and be put to trial. Othello refuses to leave until he speaks one last time. He reminds everyone of the hero he once was in their eyes. Then, he stabs himself and lies by his wife to die. After, Lodovico tells Iago to look at the effects of his selfish efforts. Finally, Graziano is positioned as Othello heir and Montano is placed in charge of Iago’s execution. Lodovico then leaves to relay the news.

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