Othello (Character list)

Othello The play’s protagonist & hero. A Christian Moor (black) and general of the armies of Venice, he is an eloquent & physically powerful figure, respected by all those around him. In spite of his elevated status, he is nevertheless easy prey to insecurities because of his his age, life as a solider, and his RACE.
Desdemona The daughter of the Venetian senator Brabanzio. Desdemona & Othello are secretly married before the play begins. While in many ways stereotypically pure & meek, she is also determined & self-possessed. She is equally capable of defending her marriage, jesting bawdily with Iago, & responding with dignity to Othello’s incomprehensible jealousy.
Iago Othello’s ensign, & the villain of the play. He’s 28 years old. While his ostensible reason for desiring Othello’s demise is that he has been passed over for promotion to lieutenant, Iago’s motivations are never very clearly expressed & see, to originate in an obsessive, almost aesthetic delight in manipulation & destruction.
Michael Cassio Othello’s lieutenant. Cassio is a young & inexperienced soldier, whose high position is much resented by Iago. Cassio is extremely ashamed after being implicated in a drunken brawl on Cyprus & losing his place as lieutenant. Iago uses Cassio’s youth, good looks, & friendship with Desdemona to play on Othello’s insecurities about Desdemona’s fidelity.
Emilia Iago’s wife & Desdemona’s attendant. A cynical, worldly woman, she is deeply attached to her mistress and distrustful of her husband.
Roderigo A jealous suitor of Desdemona. Young, rich, & foolish, he is convinced that if he gives Iago all of his money, Iago will help him win Desdemona’s hand. Roderigo is ultimately desperate enough to agree to help Iago kill Cassio after Iago points out that Cassio is another potential rival for Desdemona.
Bianca A courtesan, or prostitute, in Cyprus. Her favorite customer is Cassio, who teases her with promises of marriage.
Brabanzio Desdemona’s father, a somewhat blustering & self-important Venetian senator. As a friend of Othello, he feels betrayed when the feneral marries his daughter.
Duke of Venice The official authority in Venice, the duke has great respect for Othello as a public & military servant. His primary role within the play is to reconcile Othello & Brabanzio, and then to send Othello to Cyprus.
Montano The governor of Cyprus before Othello. We see him first in Act II, as he recounts the status of the war & awaits Venetian ships.
Lodovico One of Brabanzio’s kinsmen, he acts as a messenger from Venice to Cyprus. He arrives in Cyprus in Act IV with letters announcing that Othello has been replaced by Cassio as governor.
Graziano Brabanzio’s kinsman who accompanies Lodovico to Cyprus. Amidst the chaos of the final scene, Graziano mentions that Desdemona’s father has died.
Clown Othello’s servant. Although the clown appears only in 2 short scenes, his appearances reflect & distort the action & words of the main plots.

You Might Also Like