Othello‌ ‌Act‌ ‌3‌ ‌Scenes‌ ‌1-2:‌ ‌Summary‌ ‌&‌ ‌Analysis‌

Act‌ ‌3‌ ‌Scenes‌ ‌1-2

After the events of Act 2, Cassio strives to rebuild his reputation and please Othello. Unfortunately, he trusts Iago and chooses the wrong way of doing so. Find out what he did in this summary of Othello Act 3 Scenes 1&2. Besides, our experts wrote an analysis of these episodes that you can see below.

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🤡 Summary of Othello: Act 3 Scene 1&2

Othello Act 3 Scene 1 starts with Cassio sending musicians to Othello. He tries to win back the general’s favor by doing this. While musicians are playing, a clown enters the stage, whom Othello sent to dismiss the musicians. Cassio pays the clown and asks him to bring Emilia, who may call for Desdemona. As soon as he leaves, Iago joins the scene.

Upon hearing Cassio’s idea, Iago pretends to be helpful and promises to send Emilia himself. He also guarantees that he will occupy Othello for them to talk freely. Cassio feels grateful and thanks Iago for his honesty and goodwill. Iago exits the scene.

When Emilia finally arrives, she tells Cassio that Othello and Desdemona discussed his case. Desdemona spoke in favor of Cassio and tried to reason with Othello. The general thinks that it would be nearly impossible to reappoint Cassio because of Montano’s influence in Cyprus. At the same time, he confesses that he loves Cassio and intends to reinstate him as soon as possible. Nevertheless, Cassio wants to speak to Desdemona and asks Emilia for help. She agrees.

Othello Act 3 Scene 2 is a short scene in which Othello, Iago, and a gentleman walk together. Othello gives several letters to Iago that need to be sent to Venice. After that, the general tells Iago to meet him at fortification. When he exits the stage, Othello goes on a tour around the fort.

🎭 Active Characters

Cassio, the Clown, Iago, Emilia, Othello

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🔥 Active Themes

Othello themes: appearance vs reality.
Appearance vs. Reality

😉 Analysis of Othello: Act 3 Scene 1&2

The musicians at the beginning of Act 3 Scene 1 create a scene within a scene. This episode provides comic relief. Its purpose here is to give the audience a short break from the tension experienced in the previous episodes.

For instance, the clown uses puns, irony, and oxymorons in this scene. The reader can find one of the puns at the very beginning of the set. He says, “Oh, thereby hangs a tail.” The musicians ask, “Whereby hangs a tale, sir?” which means that the clown compares musical instruments to kites with tails. Another irony used in the scene is Cassio’s referral to Iago as honest.

After Iago’s soliloquy in Act 2, the audience knows that Cassio asking for help from Desdemona will cause a lot of damage to everyone. Everyone falls into Iago’s manipulations, even his wife. The couple is also a foil for Othello’s and Desdemona’s relationships. This family is very different from Iago’s one because it is based on love and respect. Act 3 Scene 1 creates a drastic contrast between two couples.

Act 3 Scene 2 of Othello is concise. It once again demonstrates the trust that Othello has in Iago. The scene also reveals the general’s honor and gullibility, which make him vulnerable to people like Iago.

Thank you for reading! Check summaries of other scenes in Othello via the links below.

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🎓 References

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IvyPanda. (2021, June 22). Act‌ ‌3‌ ‌Scenes‌ ‌1-2. https://ivypanda.com/lit/othello-study-guide/act-3-scenes-1-2/


IvyPanda. (2021, June 22). Act‌ ‌3‌ ‌Scenes‌ ‌1-2. Retrieved from https://ivypanda.com/lit/othello-study-guide/act-3-scenes-1-2/

Work Cited

"Act‌ ‌3‌ ‌Scenes‌ ‌1-2." IvyPanda, 22 June 2021, ivypanda.com/lit/othello-study-guide/act-3-scenes-1-2/.

1. IvyPanda. "Act‌ ‌3‌ ‌Scenes‌ ‌1-2." June 22, 2021. https://ivypanda.com/lit/othello-study-guide/act-3-scenes-1-2/.


IvyPanda. "Act‌ ‌3‌ ‌Scenes‌ ‌1-2." June 22, 2021. https://ivypanda.com/lit/othello-study-guide/act-3-scenes-1-2/.


IvyPanda. 2021. "Act‌ ‌3‌ ‌Scenes‌ ‌1-2." June 22, 2021. https://ivypanda.com/lit/othello-study-guide/act-3-scenes-1-2/.


IvyPanda. (2021) 'Act‌ ‌3‌ ‌Scenes‌ ‌1-2'. 22 June.

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