Othello: Act 3 Summary

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44 Questions

Who does Othello initially believe is responsible for Desdemona's alleged infidelity?


What tragic event occurs after Othello learns the truth about the handkerchief from Emilia?

Iago kills Emilia

How does Othello meet his end in the play?

He stabs himself with a hidden sword

Who ultimately captures and holds Iago captive at the end of the play?


Who did Roderigo want to marry?


Why does Iago resent Othello?

Othello promoted Cassio over him

What urgent message does Cassio bring to Othello?

A warning about a Turkish invasion

How does Othello convince the duke and senate of his innocence?

By telling stories of his adventures

What does Iago suggest to Othello in order to further his plan?

That Desdemona is unfaithful

What does Desdemona offer to Othello when he is feeling unwell?

Her handkerchief

What does Emilia do with the handkerchief after finding it on the floor?

She gives it to Iago

What 'proof' does Iago present to Othello about Desdemona's affair with Cassio?

Cassio using Desdemona's handkerchief

What is the significance of the handkerchief in the play?

It is a symbol of Desdemona's love for Othello

Why does Othello ask Desdemona for the handkerchief she gave him?

As proof of her infidelity

Who does Cassio ask to copy the embroidery on the handkerchief?


What leads Othello into a fit of jealousy and epilepsy?

'Proof' that Cassio and Desdemona are involved

Who announces to her father that her allegiance is now to her husband and defends her choice in marriage?


Why does the duke send Othello to Cyprus?

To aid in the defense against the Turks

Who reveals that the Turkish fleet has been wrecked in a storm at sea?

A third gentleman

What is Iago's plan to ruin Othello?

Eliminate Cassio and make Othello jealous

What event leads to Cassio being stripped of his rank of lieutenant?

Starting a fight with Roderigo

Who does Iago suggest Cassio use as an intermediary to regain favor with Othello?


How does Iago plan to get Othello out of the way so Cassio can speak with Desdemona privately?

'Accidentally' trips Othello

'Seeing your coming' in the context of the passage refers to __________.

'Seeing you arrive'

'Web' in the context of the passage is a metaphor for __________.

'A trap or scheme'

Who does Cassio greet by clasping her hand upon their arrival in Cyprus?


What does Iago convince Roderigo to do in order to disgrace Cassio?

Start a fight with him at the evening's revels

How does Iago start kindling Othello's jealousy towards Cassio?

By implying guilt in Cassio's actions when leaving his wife

Why does Iago feel doubly degraded in the play?

He suspects Cassio slept with his wife

How does the text describe Iago's nature in contrast to other characters?

Scheming and cynical

What is one of the ways Iago manipulates Cassio in the play?

Inciting him to fight Roderigo

What leads Othello to start doubting Desdemona's faithfulness?

Iago's lies and manipulation

How does Othello eventually react to the accusations against Desdemona?

He demands proof of her infidelity

Why does Othello appoint Iago as his new lieutenant?

To keep a closer eye on Iago's activities

How does Othello react when he learns the truth about Iago's deceit?

He kills himself in despair

What setting characterizes the beginning of 'Othello'?

The Mediterranean Sea

Why does the play suggest that negative emotions like jealousy are suffocating?

They restrict the ability to think clearly

What incident sets Othello and Iago on a collision course in 'Othello'?

Othello's choice of Cassio as lieutenant

Which spaces in 'Othello' represent Othello's confidence and power?

Exterior world of battle

Why does Iago feel cast aside and resentful in 'Othello'?

He is left in the role of 'ancient'

What is the symbolic significance of the cramped bedroom where Othello kills himself?

It reflects the emotional chokehold of jealousy

How does 'Othello' contrast exterior and interior spaces?

'Interior spaces are where Othello feels powerful and confident

'Othello' suggests that negative emotions like jealousy prevent clear thinking. What does this imply about Othello's actions?

'Othello's actions are influenced by his emotions'

'Othello' contrasts Othello's confidence in battle with his insecurity in domestic spaces. How does this influence the plot?

'It allows Iago to manipulate Othello'

Study Notes

Othello's Initial Beliefs and Downfall

  • Othello initially believes Cassio is responsible for Desdemona's alleged infidelity
  • Tragic event: Othello kills Desdemona after learning the truth about the handkerchief from Emilia
  • Othello meets his end by killing himself in a fit of grief and shame

Iago's Captivity and Motivations

  • Iago is ultimately captured and held captive by Lodovico
  • Iago resents Othello for promoting Cassio to lieutenant instead of him
  • Iago's plan to ruin Othello is to make him believe Desdemona is having an affair with Cassio

Characters and Their Motivations

  • Roderigo wants to marry Desdemona
  • Cassio asks Bianca to copy the embroidery on the handkerchief
  • Emilia finds the handkerchief on the floor and gives it to Iago
  • Iago presents the handkerchief as 'proof' of Desdemona's affair with Cassio
  • Desdemona offers to bind Othello's head with her handkerchief when he is feeling unwell

The Significance of the Handkerchief

  • The handkerchief is a symbol of love and loyalty
  • Othello asks Desdemona for the handkerchief she gave him to test her loyalty

Events and Plot Points

  • The duke sends Othello to Cyprus to defend against the Turkish fleet
  • Cassio brings an urgent message to Othello about the Turkish fleet
  • Othello convinces the duke and senate of his innocence by telling the story of how he won Desdemona's heart
  • Iago convinces Roderigo to start a fight with Cassio to disgrace him
  • Iago starts kindling Othello's jealousy towards Cassio by suggesting that Desdemona is having an affair with him

Themes and Symbolism

  • The play suggests that negative emotions like jealousy are suffocating and prevent clear thinking
  • The cramped bedroom where Othello kills himself symbolizes the suffocating nature of jealousy
  • The play contrasts exterior and interior spaces, with Othello's confidence and power represented in exterior spaces and his insecurity in domestic spaces

Test your knowledge on the events in Act 3 of William Shakespeare's play 'Othello'. Explore Othello's growing jealousy, Iago's manipulation, and Desdemona's attempts to reconcile. This quiz covers key plot points and character interactions in this act.

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