Othello Act 2 Scenes 1-2: Summary & Analysis

Act 2 Scenes 1-2

On this page, our team has revealed what happened in Othello Act 2 Scenes 1-2, and why. We’ve decided to talk about the scenes together as the second one is concise yet informative plot-wise, while the first one is vital for characterization.

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🛳️ Summary of Othello: Act 2 Scenes 1-2

Othello Act 2 Scene 1 opens in Cyprus when the governor Montano looks out at sea. He states that the Turkish fleet could not survive the storm, claiming:

“If that the Turkish fleet
Be not ensheltered and embayed; they are drowned.”

At that very moment, the news is delivered that Cassio has arrived. He saw that the Turks lost most of his ships and encourages them not to fear the fleet.

Shortly after, Cassio himself arrives. He is cheerful about the Turkish loss but fears for Othello. The next ship to arrive in Cyprus is the one with Desdemona, Emilia, and Iago. Roderigo’s ship follows them. As Desdemona sees Cassio, she asks about Othello. She learns that Cassio does not know where her husband is. However, soon after, Othello’s ship arrives in Cyprus too.

Everyone waits for the general to arrive. In the meantime, Iago takes this opportunity to speak to Desdemona and express his views. He is convinced that women are hypocritical and lazy. He says:

“You are pictures out of the door,
bells in your parlors, wild-cats in your kitchens,
saints in your injuries, devils being offended,
Players in your housewifery, and housewives in your beds.”

He expresses these views in front of his wife, Emilia.

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Othello arrives safely and gives a kiss to Desdemona as a sign of his love for her. Everyone besides Iago and Rodrigo goes to the castle to celebrate the drowning of the Turks. Iago uses this time as an opportunity to ensure Rodrigo that Desdemona will soon be with someone more fitting for her. He says that the first candidate will be Cassio even though Roderigo tries to say that the man is just polite to Desdemona.

Nevertheless, Iago manipulates Roderigo to start a fight with Cassio. It will expel the lieutenant from the city and make him fall out of favor with Othello.

When Iago stays alone on stage, he delivers his soliloquy. He states that he secretly loves Desdemona and suspects Emilia that she cheated on him with Othello.

Othello Act 2 Scene 2 starts with Herald, who announces that the Turkish fleet has been completely destroyed. He invites everyone to celebrate the victory and the marriage between Othello and Desdemona.

🎭 Active Characters

Iago, Desdemona, Emilia, Cassio, Othello, Roderigo, Montano, Herald

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🔥 Active Themes

Othello themes: women and sexism.Othello themes: jealousy.

🌊 Analysis of Othello: Act 2 Scenes 1-2

In Act 2 Scene 1, the audience sees the commander fully in control of his life. The storm destroys the Turkish fleet, yet, Othello’s ship is safe. It also means that the military reason why he goes to Cyprus is no longer needed. The audience also sees Desdemona’s love for Othello. She is worried when she learns that his ship has lost connection with Cassio’s one. It proves her loyalty and love for her husband.

The scene is also mainly due to the banter between Desdemona and Iago. In this scene, the antagonist describes his attitude towards women. This conversation enhances the atmosphere of growing tension between Iago and Desdemona. It leaves a nervous and uncomfortable sensation. Iago also uses a comic tone to speak about the opposite gender and sexuality. That’s why it is hard to determine what he thinks about women. The whole scene is inappropriately funny, especially because Othello’s ship is missing. Desdemona, in this banter, also demonstrates her speaking skills. She proves once again that she is an intelligent woman.

When Iago notices how Cassio takes Desdemona’s hand, he changes his initial plan. It proves him to be creative and a fast thinker. This way, he can solve two problems: to get rid of both Cassio and Othello.

The tone of the scene significantly shifts when Othello appears. The audience sees how the crowd celebrates his safe arrival. The general notes that Cypriots are hospitable and generous people. Everyone except Iago and Roderigo goes to celebrate the drowning of the Turks.

The plot of Othello opens up an interesting dynamic. The storm destroyed the Turks, and one thread is gone. However, another line is yet to come. What is also interesting is that the external thread is destroyed very rapidly. The audience does not get to see Othello as a military leader.

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Othello Act 2 Scene 1 ends with Iago’s soliloquy in which he explains the reasons for his hatred. However, the real motivations are not very clear. In this scene, Iago even says that Othello slept with Emilia. He also confesses to the audience that his plan is still confused. Iago plays with the audience as neither of his suspicions and reasons are backed up.

Act 2 Scene 2 is concise. Its purpose is to demonstrate how rapidly the Turks were defeated. The external thread disappeared by itself. Another function of this scene is to create contrast between celebration and merrymaking in this scene with further drama and tragedy.

Thanks for reading the paper! You can check the summary and analysis of the next scene or find out more information about Othello via the links below.

🎓 References

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IvyPanda. (2021, June 22). Act 2 Scenes 1-2. https://ivypanda.com/lit/othello-study-guide/act-2-scenes-1-2/


IvyPanda. (2021, June 22). Act 2 Scenes 1-2. Retrieved from https://ivypanda.com/lit/othello-study-guide/act-2-scenes-1-2/

Work Cited

"Act 2 Scenes 1-2." IvyPanda, 22 June 2021, ivypanda.com/lit/othello-study-guide/act-2-scenes-1-2/.

1. IvyPanda. "Act 2 Scenes 1-2." June 22, 2021. https://ivypanda.com/lit/othello-study-guide/act-2-scenes-1-2/.


IvyPanda. "Act 2 Scenes 1-2." June 22, 2021. https://ivypanda.com/lit/othello-study-guide/act-2-scenes-1-2/.


IvyPanda. 2021. "Act 2 Scenes 1-2." June 22, 2021. https://ivypanda.com/lit/othello-study-guide/act-2-scenes-1-2/.


IvyPanda. (2021) 'Act 2 Scenes 1-2'. 22 June.

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