Othello Act 4 Scene 2: Summary & Analysis

Act 4 Scene 2

In the previous scenes, the reader learns how the main character loses his mind and temper due to his jealousy. Now we only see how it escalates to the point of no return. Our writers have prepared the summary of Othello Act 4 Scene 2 and demonstrated the protagonist’s issues in the analysis below.

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💰 Summary of Othello: Act 4 Scene 2

Act 4 Scene 2 starts with Othello questioning Emilia about his wife’s fidelity. Emilia swears her lady is faithful. She even says that she would “lay down my soul at stake.” Othello does not believe her and sends for Desdemona, who also swears that she is faithful. Desdemona is not able to convince him as well, even reminding him that she is a Christian. She continues to question what is wrong with Othello as the couple stays alone. From this conversation, the audience learns that Brabantio, Desdemona’s father, has died not long ago.

As the scene continues, Othello keeps harassing Desdemona by calling her names. When Emilia comes back, the two women try to understand what is happening to the general. When the servant asks Desdemona how her lord is, Desdemona replies that she has no lord. Then, she orders Emilia to put up the wedding sheets.

When Iago arrives, he learns about the whole conversation between the general and his wife from Emilia. He instantly condemns Othello’s behavior. The audience realizes that Emilia does not know about Iago’s involvement. However, she understands a third party involved, a mysterious someone who tries to break Othello and Desdemona apart. Even when Iago tries to redirect her line of reasoning, Emilia keeps insisting that there is some villain.

As Emilia and Desdemona exit the stage, Rodrigo enters. He serves as a reminder that the play is reaching its climax. Rodrigo is more aggressive with Iago than in the previous scenes and demands some positive results. He starts to understand that Iago is only interested in his money.

Iago keeps lying to Roderigo. He says that Othello has been called to Mauritania instead of Venice. He also says that the only reason why Othello can leave is because of Cassio. Therefore, Cassio needs to be removed.

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🎭 Active Characters

Othello, Emilia, Desdemona, Iago, Roderigo

🔥 Active Themes

Othello themes: jealousy.Othello themes: women and sexism.Othello themes: appearance vs reality.
JealousySexismAppearance vs. Reality

🤔 Analysis of Othello: Act 4 Scene 2

The previous scenes demonstrate Othello’s behavior in a public setting. Act 4 Scene 2 happens in a private room inside the castle. As the play accelerates towards the end, Shakespeare will place the events in smaller and smaller settings.

Othello is unable to speak about anything but Desdemona’s supposed affair with Cassio. He is not listening to Emilia’s words; he does not want to hear Desdemona as well. The only thing that speaks inside of him is his monstrous jealousy and all-consuming rage. In this scene, the audience also sees Emilia’s devotion to her lady. She swears about her innocence. Instead of believing it, Othello thinks that Desdemona is so crafty in her affair that even Emilia does not know anything.

When Desdemona appears on the stage, she does not show any signs of fear. It reveals her courage and dedication. She does not display any sign of being offended. Nonetheless, for the first time in the play, she says that she has no lord in her conversation with Emilia. For a second, Desdemona tries to show her power and desire to have personal integrity.

Almost immediately, she orders Emilia to put the wedding sheets. There are several possible explanations. First, Desdemona and Othello might not have consummated their marriage. As the audience remembers, the couple has been interrupted several times. Second, Desdemona could have used it as a reminder of their love. Another explanation for this comment could be that the wedding sheets can symbolize impending tragedy because many wives were buried in their wedding sheets.

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Even though Othello does not abuse Desdemona physically in this scene, he does that verbally. He calls her a “whore” and a “strumpet.” In the end, Othello pays Emilia. By doing that, he implies that Desdemona takes money in exchange for sexual relationships.

Desdemona tries to understand her husband’s behavior and asks Iago to help her. He pretends to be innocent and even acts supportive, which allows him to trick everyone around. Though, Emilia is suspicious of this situation as she claims that there is someone else involved. From her conversation with Iago, the audience learns that Iago has been in a similar situation. He has been trapped by jealousy, so he knows so well what a jealous man is capable of doing.

At the end of Othello Act 4 Scene 2, Rodrigo appears. He has been patiently waiting for the results, but Desdemona is still with Othello. It looks like Rodrigo gets out of Iago’s control for a moment. Iago tries to avoid it by telling a blatant lie. He claims that Othello goes to Mauritania, and Desdemona will travel with him. Iago immediately suggests a plan to prevent it: Rodrigo should kill Cassio.

That’s it! Thanks for reading our summary and analysis of Othello Act 4 Scene 2. To examine other parts of the play, check the links below.

🎓 References

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"Act 4 Scene 2." IvyPanda, 22 June 2021, ivypanda.com/lit/othello-study-guide/act-4-scene-2/.

1. IvyPanda. "Act 4 Scene 2." June 22, 2021. https://ivypanda.com/lit/othello-study-guide/act-4-scene-2/.


IvyPanda. "Act 4 Scene 2." June 22, 2021. https://ivypanda.com/lit/othello-study-guide/act-4-scene-2/.


IvyPanda. 2021. "Act 4 Scene 2." June 22, 2021. https://ivypanda.com/lit/othello-study-guide/act-4-scene-2/.


IvyPanda. (2021) 'Act 4 Scene 2'. 22 June.

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