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'Othello' Act 5, Scene 2 Summary (Part 2)

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Act 5, Scene 2 (Part 2)

Othello explains that Iago told him that she and Cassio were having an affair and that Cassio himself admitted it and had the handkerchief; the token of love he gave to Desdemona passed down from his mother. On hearing this Emilia reacts; “O God! Heavenly God!” Realising her part in her husband’s plan, Emilia is moved. Iago orders Emilia to hold her peace but she refuses; telling the group that her husband asked her to steal the handkerchief for a reason unknown to her and that she did find it and give it to him.

Iago accuses her of lying and draws his sword on his wife. She says; “What should such a fool Do with so good a wife?” Othello runs at Iago calling him a villain. Montano disarms Othello and Iago wounds his wife. Emilia asks to be laid next to Desdemona to die. Iago exits.

Montano goes after Iago and orders the others to guard Othello and not let him escape. Before she dies Emilia says; “Moor, she was chaste. She loved thee cruel Moor. So come my soul to speak true. So, speaking as I think alas, I die.”

Othello is now consumed with guilt he finds a weapon hidden in his room but tells Graziano to approach him but not to fear him. He intends to use the weapon on himself. He looks at Desdemona’s cold body and curses himself.

Lodovico enters with Iago, Montano and Cassio in a chair. Othello stands forward as Iago is brought to face him. Othello wounds Iago. Lodovico orders the attendants to disarm Othello. Othello is unrepentant about hurting Iago, Lodovico reminds him that he was a respected soldier and Othello says that he acted in honour rather than in hate. He admits to consenting to Cassio’s death. Cassio says that he did Othello no wrong and Othello apologises to him.

Lodovico says that two letters were found in Roderigo’s pocket, one says that Roderigo was ordered to kill Cassio and the other is written by Roderigo to Iago complaining about his evil plan. He says that he was going to expose the villain but Iago killed him off. The letter explains how he was ordered to goad Cassio on his watch, which is how the quarrel between Cassio and Othello first began.

Lodovico tells Othello that he must return with him to Venice to answer to his crimes. Cassio is instated as ruler of Cyprus.

Othello gives a speech to say that he wants to be remembered as a lover who was deceived. He wants to be remembered as someone who had a precious jewel but foolishly threw it away, he uses an analogy of a base character from an Indian tribe who threw away a precious pearl. He uses another reference to race when he says; “.in Aleppo once, Where a malignant and a turbaned Turk beat a Venetian and tradused the state, I took by th’ throat and smote him thus”. He then stabs himself, kisses Desdemona and dies.

Lodovico tells Iago to look at the consequences of his actions, he then closes the curtains. Lodovico tells Graziano that any riches in the house are his as he is the next of kin. He tells Cassio that he will leave Iago’s punishment to him and that he will return to Venice with the sad news of what has come to pass; “Myself will straight abroad and to the state This heavy act with heavy heart relate.”

Looking for the next scene? Please visit our contents page, where you can find a full list of all scene by scene guides to Shakespeare's Othello. This scene by scene guide is designed to read alongside the play and act as a companion to the original text.

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