The order of events in Shakespeare's plays is very carefully structured. The plot sequence is crucial to building up the story and the action, before the eventual resolution.
Drag and drop the play's events to put them in order (or disrupt them!).
Use the activities on the right to further explore the intricacies of the plot.
Othello – the plot
Desdemona has lost the handkerchief given to her by Othello. Othello warns her that it has properties that preserve their love: if she doesn't keep it near her he will love her less.
Desdemona promises Cassio that she will help him and persuades Othello to meet with Cassio. Alone with Othello, Iago falsely implies that Desdemona is being unfaithful with Cassio: Othello becomes violently jealous.
After dinner, while Desdemona is getting ready to go to bed, she and Emilia talk of the relationships between men and women: she sings a sad song about a woman whose lover abandoned her and she died of love.
Iago convinces Roderigo that Desdemona is in love with Othello's lieutenant Michael Cassio, so that Roderigo will pick a fight with Cassio in Cyprus, and get him dismissed from Othello's service.
Iago carries on hinting that Desdemona is unfaithful, making Othello ill with jealousy. He arranges for Othello to spy on Cassio and to see him with Desdemona's handkerchief (which Iago has placed in Cassio's room). Later, Othello strikes Desdemona in front of a delegation from Venice.
Cassio tries to get win back Othello's good opinion: he asks Iago's wife Emilia if she will help him talk to Desdemona to ask her to speak with Othello on his behalf.
Iago plies Cassio with alcohol and Cassio gets drunk. Iago then provokes a fight between Cassio and Montano: when Montano is wounded, Othello dismisses Cassio from his post.
At the same time that Brabantio's men arrive to find Desdemona, a group of soldiers from the Duke arrive to summon Othello to a war council to receive orders to defend Venice against attack by the Turks.
Othello and Iago attend to some business, then Othello leaves to check the fortifications in another part of Cyprus.
Brabantio tells the Duke that Othello has bewitched his daughter, but when Desdemona says she has freely chosen Othello as her husband, the Duke gives permission for her to go to Cyprus with Othello on his military mission.
Othello wakes Desdemona to ask her if she has prayed, then smothers her. Emilia raises the alarm and, realising Iago's part in the deception, manages to expose his guilt before he kills her. When Othello hears Desdemona was innocent, he falls on his own sword and dies next to her. Iago is taken into custody.
Iago has convinced Roderigo to kill Cassio and takes him to a place where he can lie in wait. Cassio is wounded and Iago kills Roderigo, then pretends that he has had nothing to do with the fight.
Emilia denies that there is any improper relationship between Cassio and Desdemona: she curses the person who has made Othello think so (without realising it is her own husband).
Back in Venice an announcement is made that the Turkish fleet was destroyed: there is a night of celebrations and parties.
Iago and Roderigo shout outside Brabantio's house to wake him and tell him that his daughter has run away with Othello and secretly married him.