--Philip Weller, November 13, 1941 – February 1, 2021
Dr. Weller, Professor of English Studies and Shakespearean Scholar at Eastern Washington University for over 50 years.
- Rodrigo and Jago enter.
Madly in love with Desdemona, Roderigo is furious that his supposed friend Iago has done nothing to stop Desdemona and Othello from escaping, but Iago convinces him that he hates Othello.
- Brabantio appears above.
Shouting vulgarities, Iago and Roderigo announce the escape to Desdemona's father, Brabantio, who declares that he will form a party to hunt down Othello. Iago sneaks up on Othello to pretend that he is still his faithful lieutenant.
Get intoRodrigo and Iago:
Like a dramatic genius, Shakespeare is capable of jumping off to a flying start while still providing, or hinting at, a great deal of background information.
When the scene begins, Rodrigo becomes surly and exclaims:"Caramba! Don't ever tell me; I find it very unpleasant / That you, Jago, who had my wallet / As if the ropes were yours, know that” (1.1.1-3)🇧🇷 The "this" is the escape of Othello and Desdemona. Roderigo loves Desdemona, but he's also a jerk: gullible, spoiled, and stupid. In fact, he's such an idiot that Brabantio, Desdemona's father, told him to leave home. However, Rodrigo cannot stop, so he uses Iago as an intermediary to deliver gifts and messages to Desdemona. He also gave Jago money for his troubles, which is what he means when he complains that Jago "had my bag / Like the strings were yours". Jago is the opposite of Roderigo: controlled, cynical, and highly intelligent. He's one of Shakespeare's scariest villains because he's the kind of guy who can look you in the eye, lie through his teeth, and make you believe he's the best friend in the world. At the moment, he has a bit of a problem with Roderigo, assuming Iago should have known about Othello's plans, but Iago quickly gets out of trouble and takes control of the situation.
Jago explains that the escape was a complete surprise, and Rodrigo replies:"You told me you had it in your hate" (1.1.7)🇧🇷 This gives Jago a chance to talk about himself, which he loves to do. To show his hatred for Othello, he tells the story of how he was passed over for promotion to lieutenant. He says that three very important Venetians very humbly asked Othello to give them the job:"Three greats of the city, / In personal process, to be your lieutenant, / To give you the cap" (1.1.8-10)🇧🇷 Perhaps these "big three" were simply interested in Jago's career, but it seems more likely that Jago was trying to pull some strings. he explains"I know my price, I'm not worth a worse place" (1.1.11), so it must have been painful for him to see his hopes dashed. He sarcastically describes Othello as a pompous idiot who uses military jargon to convey the message that he has already decided on another man.
With more sarcasm (it can be quite funny), Jago describes the chosen one as"a great arithmetician, / a Michael Cassio, a Florentine, / (an almost doomed fellow in a beautiful woman), / who never put up a squad" (1.1.19-22)🇧🇷 This is the only mention of Cassius's wife ever acting like a married man. Anyway, we got it. In Jago's eyes, Cassio is the cowardly nerd from Florence. On the other hand, Iago describes himself as having served Othello in countless battles and could really use the money. He's"Calm down and calm down / For the debtors[Accountants]and creditors" (1.1.30-31)🇧🇷 A ship is "open and calm" when the wind is removed from its sails, and that's how Jago feels. He is annoyed that Casio, a"opponent" (1.1.31)(our expression is "Bean Counter"), has the job Jago wanted, while Jago needs to be further along"Your Moorish ship is ancient[bandera]" (1.1.33)🇧🇷 "His adoration" is an expression of respect, so Iago's pun "Moorship" mocks both Othello's race and character.
Yago's verbal art is effective and makes Rodrigo sympathetic. He says,"By heaven I would have preferred to be your executioner" (1.1.34)🇧🇷 Jago replies that it cannot be changed because"The preference goes for the letter and affection" (1.1.36), which means that promotions are decided on the basis of letters of recommendation and personal contacts. The current expression for this is "It's not what you know, it's who you know." It is no longer like the old days, adds Jago, when antiquity was respected. To make sure he understood, Iago tells Rodrigo:"Now, sir, judge for yourself / if I should ever love / the Moor" (1.1. 38-40)🇧🇷 However, Roderigo sees a small gap in Iago's argument and says:"I Wouldn't Follow You Then" (1.1.40)🇧🇷 In other words, Roderigo asks, cautiously, why Jago still works for a man he hates.
This question brings another barrage of words from Jago. He begins by saying"O lord, pleased with you; / I follow you to do my duty" (1.1. 41-42)🇧🇷 He goes on to point out that there are many men who faithfully serve their masters their entire lives, just for food and lodging, and then get fired."Spank Me You So Honest Boys" (1.1.49), calls it. But he's not one to be whipped for doing the right thing. There are others who serve their masters just to get what they can,"and when they have lined their cloaks / pay homage to themselves" (1.1.53-54)🇧🇷 We would call such individuals scammers or worse, but Iago sees them in a different light:"These guys have some soul; / and I confess I have one too" (1.1.54-55)🇧🇷 he adds"As sure as you Roderigo / If I were the Moor, I wouldn't be Iago" (1.1.56-57)🇧🇷 This is a bit confusing, but it seems to mean that if he had Othello's position as a general in the Venetian army, he wouldn't have to pretend to be anyone's loyal follower. Iago goes on to express his contempt for all those who aren't the kind of hypocrites he is, concluding with a statement that sums up much of his character:"I'm not what I am" (1.1.65).
At this point, Rodrigo makes a simple pout and says:"What a complete fortune must have Gross[ter]/ If he can't charge like this!" (1.1.66-67)🇧🇷 However, Jago has a brilliant idea."Call your father, / Wake him up: Imitate him, poison his happiness, / Announce it in the streets" (1.1.67-69)🇧🇷 When Iago says "he" it's not clear if he means Othello or Brabantio, but that doesn't really matter. This is pure revenge, the psychological equivalent of taking out frustrations with an assault rifle. This is addressed to Rodrigo, who says:"Here is your father's house; I will call you" (1.1.74)🇧🇷 (This is how we see one of the advantages of Shakespeare's theater; because there are no sets, people are where they say they are.) Iago spurs Roderigo on and tells him to scream like there's a fire. Roderigo calls out Brabantio's name, but it is not loud enough for Jago, and he calls out:"Woke up! What, ho, Brabantio! Thieves! Thieves! Thieves! / Look at your house, your daughter and your bags! / Thieves! Thieves!" (1.1.79-81).
Screams reveal Brabantio "above". 'Upstairs' (this is the only stage direction Shakespeare ever wrote for Brabantio's performance) points to the second level of the globe, the same location used for the balcony scene.Romeo and Juliet🇧🇷 Iago is probably standing right under that balcony, making it impossible for Brabantio to see him. It's dark, but Jago doesn't want to risk it and a little later in the scene he tells Rodrigo that no one can know that he has spoken against Othello. So here, as throughout the play, Iago is the instigator, hiding in the shadows but in control.
If we were woken up in the middle of the night by a siren three meters from our window, we would probably be asking ourselves the same questions that Brabantio does:"What is the reason for this terrible summons? / What is happening?" (1.1.82-83)🇧🇷 For a second, the two men tease Brabantio a bit, asking if his family is home and if their doors are locked, but then Jago goes downstairs and gets dirty. From the darkness comes his voice:
Iago is a genius in a way. He packs many types of poison into one ugly package. He thinks that Brabantio is a fool, so much so that he has to put on the dress to cover his nakedness. He then appeals to Brabantio's love for his beloved daughter and turns to pornography, yelling "now" three times to make BrabantioI seeOthello "hits" her. (The word "tupping" or "topping" isn't exactly the same as our "f" word, but Jago uses it the same way because it's a word normally only used to describe animals.) The image of the lecherous black man pampering the innocent white girl is meant to inflame Brabantio's racial prejudice. Ultimately, Jago does his best to panic Brabantio by showing him a world of indifferent people who continue to peacefully snore ("puff") when he doesn't ring the doorbell.
Despite all the emotional charge of Iago's speech, the main message was not conveyed, so Roderigo reveals himself. Hearing this, Brabantio believes he has discovered: it must be that Roderigo got drunk and filled with false courage and thus came to destroy Brabantio's peace of mind. In the words of Brabantio:"With malevolent feat you come / To begin my rest" (1.1. 100-101)🇧🇷 Brabantio continues to threaten consequences and it seems that he is not going to give Roderigo a chance to say a word, so Jago lets him get away."It seems, sir, that you are one of those who will not serve God if the devil commands you" (1.1. 108-110)🇧🇷 Then comes more porn. Jago tells Brabantio that he will leave his daughter alone."covered with a Berber horse" (1.1.111), so all your relatives are also horses. And when Brabantio asks who is speaking, Iago replies:"I am one, sir, that I have come to tell you that your daughter and the Moor are now making the beast with two backs" (1.1.115-117)🇧🇷 Brabantio, furious, tells Jago that he is a villain, but Jago has the last word. He answers,"You are - a senator" (1.1.118)🇧🇷 When performed, it's usually meant to be ridiculed. Iagoit isa villain and another more dangerous because he can be funny and charming.
Brabantio threatens the consequences again, but Roderigo promises to accept all the consequences after breaking the news and Brabantio lets him talk. With a kind of sarcastic self-justification, Roderigo Brabantio reports that Desdemona fled by gondola (a Venetian taxi) to be in the city."rough closures of a lustful Moor" (1.1.126), but if Brabantio agrees, then Roderigo owes him an apology. Then Roderigo tells Brabantio to control himself, and if he finds Desdemona at home, Roderigo will accept the punishment. This speech has the desired effect. Brabantio runs home, calls for help, and says that he had a nightmare about something like that.
Knowing that Brabantio will find out that Desdemona has really run away, Iago decides it is time to go. If he stays, someone will ask him to testify against Othello and that won't make sense because Othello won't lose his job. No matter what he has done to Desdemona, Venice has no one but Othello capable of handling the war that is about to break out in Cyprus. Therefore, Iago will return to Othello and feign loyalty. However, that doesn't mean Jago will drop the subject. To make sure Desdemona's angry father finds Othello, Iago tells Roderigo to take Brabantio to Sagittarius, an inn.
As Jago leaves, Brabantio enters the scene, accompanied by servants with torches. He discovered that her daughter was really gone and was preparing to go after her. He also feels sorry for himself. He says,“It is a very real evil: She is gone; / And what will come of my despised time / Is nothing more than bitterness” (1.1. 160-162)🇧🇷 He asks where Rodrigo saw Desdemona and how he knew it was her, but he doesn't give him a chance to answer. Instead, he laments that parenthood is a pain and that no father should trust his daughter. She then remembers that it really isn't her daughter's fault and asks Rodrigo:"Are there no charms / Through which the property of youth and youth can be abused /?" (1.1.171-173)🇧🇷 "Spells" are spells, and "the property of youth and childhood" is a girl's natural innocence and vulnerability. He thinks that maybe her daughter hasn't told him after all that Othello may have used magic on her. In the next scene, this idea will have established itself as a certainty in Brabantio's mind, and he will accuse Othello of using magic and drugs against Desdemona. Right now he is so desperate that he even wishes Rodrigo had had her. What he never considers is the possibility that Desdemona is in love with a good man.
Brabantio sends out search parties and asks Roderigo if he knows where Desdemona and Othello might be. Roderigo replies that if Brabantio assembles a group of armed men, he can probably lead them to the location. Brabantio, a man of power and influence, is sure that he can do it, so they set off in search of Othello. We can't wait to see who Othello really is. In this scene, he is portrayed as a thieving, hypersexual, and pompous alien, but the portrayal was created by his enemies: a fool, a hypocrite, and a father who believes his daughter is his property.
What is the summary of Romeo and Juliet Act 1 Scene 1? ›
Act 1 Scene 1
The play opens with two servants from the house of Capulet talking about their hatred of the Montagues. They meet two servants from the house of Montague and a fight breaks out. Benvolio tries to stop the fight but when Tybalt arrives things get worse.
Summary: Act 1, scene 1
Thunder and lightning crash above a Scottish moor. Three haggard old women, the witches, appear out of the storm. In eerie, chanting tones, they make plans to meet again upon the heath, after the battle, to confront Macbeth. As quickly as they arrive, they disappear.
The scene opens with a brawl on the streets of Verona between servants from the affluent Montague and Capulet households. While attempting to stop the fight, Benvolio (Romeo's cousin) is drawn into the fray by Tybalt, kinsman of the Capulets.Who started the fight in Act 1 Scene 1? ›
ACT 1, SCENE 1. Servants of the Capulet family start a fight with Montague family servants. Benvolio, a Montague, draws his sword and attempts to break up the fight.Who broke the fight in Act 1 Scene 1? ›
Two men from the house of Capulet — Gregory and Sampson — pick a fight with a few Montague men. Benvolio, a Montague man, tries to break it up, but his efforts aren't exactly successful when Tybalt, a feisty Capulet, arrives to fuel the fire. The fight finally breaks up upon the arrival of the prince of Verona.Does Romeo kiss Juliet in Act 1? ›
Romeo and Juliet's First Meeting
Romeo is overheard talking about Juliet by Tybalt. Tybalt wants to remove Romeo from the party but Lord Capulet stops him. Romeo and Juliet meet and kiss each other before the Nurse calls Juliet away. Afterwards, they discover each other's true identity.
"So foul and fair a day I have not seen." This is the 1st line we hear Macbeth speak. Foreshadowing what is going to happen in the play like the witch's. Shows that Macbeth hasn't seen that bad of a day before doing anything he has done in the past.What are the key themes Act 1 Scene 1 in Macbeth? ›
The main theme of Macbeth —the destruction wrought when ambition goes unchecked by moral constraints—finds its most powerful expression in the play's two main characters. Macbeth is a courageous Scottish general who is not naturally inclined to commit evil deeds, yet he deeply desires power and advancement.What are the witches doing in Act 1 Scene 1 Macbeth? ›
Summary and Analysis Act I: Scene 1
In a desolate place blasted by thunderstorms, Three Witches meet to predict the future.
What is Act 1? Act 1 makes up the first quarter of your story, often referred to as your Setup. This is the beginning of the Three Act Structure and serves to introduce your story's world to your readers, along with your setting and characters.
Where is the scene set act 1 Scene 1? ›
Summary and Analysis Act I: Scene 1. Walking along a street in Venice, Antonio (the "merchant" of the title) confesses to his friends Salarino and Salanio that lately he has felt unaccountably sad.How does act 1 conclude? ›
In traditional jargon, Act 1 ends with a plot point that pushes the protagonist irretrievably into committing to the action of the story. The problem with writing is that the Plot Point at the end of Act 1 could be anything. At least at the beginning of the writing process.What causes the fight in Scene 1? ›
Sampson bites his thumb at the Montagues—a highly insulting gesture. A verbal confrontation quickly escalates into a fight.What is the climax of act 1? ›
Act I climax—the event that sends the protagonist off into the body of the story.What is the purpose of act 1 in a play? ›
The first act, or opening narration, is usually used for exposition, to establish the main characters, their relationships, and the world they live in.What happens in Act 1 Scene 1 and 2 of Romeo and Juliet? ›
In the first part, Paris and Capulet talk about whether it would be acceptable for Paris to marry Juliet, as he wants to do. Because Juliet is young, her father wants to postpone her marriage for a while. In the second part of the scene, Benvolio and Romeo Montague talk about love.
Duncan may be pleased to hear of Macbeth's awesome feats, but he's pretty peeved that the Thane of Cawdor has betrayed him. Duncan demands the Thane of Cawdor's execution and plans to hand over the Thane's titles to our main man, Macbeth.What happens in Act 1 Scene 2 summary? ›
Act 1 Scene 2
Summary: Count Paris, a kinsman of the Prince, tells Capulet that he wants to marry his daughter, Juliet. Capulet's a little reluctant to agree because his daughter is so young, but he tells Paris that if he can woo Juliet successfully, then he'll grant him permission to marry her.
Before Romeo meets Juliet, he loves Rosaline, Capulet's niece and Juliet's cousin.Did Romeo know Juliet's name when he kissed her? ›
Juliet's nurse interrupts them and sends Juliet away, and Romeo asks her the name of the girl he's been kissing. And … she's a Capulet.
What did Romeo say before he kissed Juliet? ›
[To JULIET] If I profane with my unworthiest hand This holy shrine, the gentle fine is this: My lips, two blushing pilgrims, ready stand To smooth that rough touch with a tender kiss.What important role do the witches play in Act 1 Scene 1? ›
What important role do the witches play in Act 1 of The Tragedy of Macbeth? They foreshadow events. Based upon the information in Act 1 of The Tragedy of Macbeth, what can you infer about King Duncan? He places a high value on bravery and loyalty.How is Macbeth's character presented in act1? ›
Brave & Heroic
At the beginning of the play, we are exposed to Macbeth's heroic and brave character traits when he is held a “great thane!” and “worthy gentleman” by King Duncan in Act 1 Scene 2, who crowns him Thane of Cawdor. This only fuels his ego and sense of self pride.
Although men are considered more powerful than women, Lady Macbeth is the most powerful character in Macbeth because she is unmerciful, deceitful, and vigorous First and foremost Lady Macbeth is a dominant character because she is bloodthirsty.What is Macbeth conflict in Act 1? ›
At first, the conflict is between Macbeth and himself, as he debates whether or not he will violently seize power, and between Macbeth and his wife, as Lady Macbeth urges her husband toward a course of action he is hesitant to take. Once Macbeth stops struggling against his ambition, the conflict shifts.What are the 3 main themes in Macbeth? ›
- ambition and power.
- the supernatural.
- appearances and reality.
The opening confrontation between Gonzalo and the boatswain reveals one of the most important themes in The Tempest: class conflict, the discord between those who seize and hold power and those who are often the unwilling victims of power.What do the witches say in Act 1? ›
Synopsis: The three witches greet Macbeth as “Thane of Glamis” (as he is), “Thane of Cawdor,” and “king hereafter.” They then promise Banquo that he will father kings, and they disappear.Who do the witches meet in Act 1? ›
Act 1 Scene 3 The witches meet Macbeth and tell him he will be Thane of Glamis, Thane of Cawdor and king.
Witches were thought to be both political and spiritual traitors. In this opening scene they instantly create a sense of confusion, upsetting the natural order of things. This is echoed by the use of thunder and lightning, which was also associated with evil.
How many scenes should act 1 have? ›
There's no rule, but there is an average. Most acts include three to five scenes, and most TV shows have four acts, so that's anywhere between 12 and 20 scenes in a single episode.What happens in act 1 Scene 3 summary? ›
Lady Capulet and the Nurse call Juliet to enter the scene. Lady Capulet wants to talk to her daughter, Juliet, about the possibility of marriage. They discuss the fact that Juliet still has two weeks left before her fourteenth birthday, but, as Lady Capulet points out, plenty of girls her age are mothers already.What is the difference between act 1 and 2? ›
Act I is the setup or exposition. This establishes the main characters and their goals. Act II raises the stakes culminating in the confrontation between the hero and the villain. Act III resolves the story.Where does act1 take place? ›
Act One, Inc.
Act 2, scene 2 of Romeo and Juliet – often referred to as the Romeo and Juliet balcony scene – is a central moment in Shakespeare's play, and one that has become a global cultural reference through the hundreds of years since it was written.What is the significance of Act 1 Scene 1 of The Merchant of Venice? ›
Act 1 Scene 1
Bassanio admits to Antonio that he has run out of his own money and is in need of resources so that he can go to Belmont and woo Portia, an heiress. Antonio commits to helping Bassanio and promises that he will find someone to lend him the money, which he will then give to Bassanio.
- In act one, we want to introduce our characters, introduce the story, and get a landscape of where the story is trying to go. - What's essential in the first act is that you meet the main character in her or his world and you understand their place in the world and you understand their problem in the world.What happens in act 1 Scene 1 of a raisin in the sun? ›
Ruth gets up first and after some noticeable difficulty, rouses Travis and Walter as she makes breakfast. While Travis gets ready in the communal bathroom, Ruth and Walter talk in the kitchen. They do not seem happy, yet they engage in some light humor.What happens in act 1 of journeys end? ›
Journey's End Scene Summary: Act 1. Conversation between Osborne and Hardy about the handing over of the trench. is like the way he is. Osborne also states that Stanhope is really good at his job: 'There isn't a man to touch him as a commander of men.”What was Romeo like in Act 1 Scene 1? ›
To conclude, in Romeo's first scene in the play, Shakespeare presents him as someone inexperienced who is still confused and troubled by love. He resembles a Petrarchan lover, one whose love is immensely powerful yet painful.
What is the most important scene in Act 1 of Romeo and Juliet? ›
The lovers meet for the first time (Act 1 Scene 4)
Not knowing who she is, he falls in love with Juliet the moment he sees her, and she, equally ignorant that he is a Montague, falls just as instantly for him (this is Act 1, Scene 5 in many editions).
It is a tragic love story where the two main characters, Romeo and Juliet, are supposed to be sworn enemies but fall in love. Due to their families' ongoing conflict, they cannot be together, so they kill themselves because they cannot cope with being separated from one another.What are the main events in Act 1 of Romeo and Juliet? ›
A street fight between the Montagues and Capulets. Romeo sees Juliet. Love at first site. The Capulets arrange for Juliet to marry Paris, kin to the Prince.Why is Romeo so sad at the beginning of Act 1? ›
Romeo is sad because he is in love with Rosaline, but he cannot be with her. Rosaline has pledged to swear off romantic relationships and maintain her virginity her entire life. Benvolio tries to cheer him up by promising there will be women even more beautiful than Rosaline at the Capulets' party.What did Romeo dream in Act 1? ›
He's already melancholy because she won't return his affections, so his dream was likely of a party where she told him she will never love him, which he believes to be predicting the future ("In bed asleep, while they do dream things true." .Where is the scene set Act 1 Scene 1? ›
Summary and Analysis Act I: Scene 1. Walking along a street in Venice, Antonio (the "merchant" of the title) confesses to his friends Salarino and Salanio that lately he has felt unaccountably sad.How does Act 1 describe Romeo? ›
The son and heir of Montague and Lady Montague. A young man of about sixteen, Romeo is handsome, intelligent, and sensitive. Though impulsive and immature, his idealism and passion make him an extremely likable character.Is Romeo and Juliet real story? ›
The story is, indeed, based on the life of two real lovers who lived and died for each other in Verona, Italy in 1303. Shakespeare is known to have discovered this tragic love story in Arthur Brooke's 1562 poem entitled “The Tragical History of Romeo and Juliet”.Are Romeo and Juliet dating? ›
Romeo is the only child of Lord and Lady Montague. When we first meet him, he believes he is in love with Rosaline, but then he meets Juliet at a party. They instantly fall in love and are married in secret the next day. The pair are separated after Romeo kills Tybalt and is banished.How old is Romeo and Juliet? ›
In Shakespeare's original story, Romeo is given the age of 16 years and Juliet is given the age of 13 years. The Montague and Capulet families originated in the Divine Comedy by the Italian author Dante Aligheri, rather than in Shakespeare.
What happens at the end of Act 1 in Romeo and Juliet? ›
Juliet agrees to remain still as Romeo kisses her. Thus, in the terms of their conversation, she takes his sin from him. Juliet then makes the logical leap that if she has taken Romeo's sin from him, his sin must now reside in her lips, and so they must kiss again.What happened in Act 1 Scene 1/5 of Romeo and Juliet? ›
Romeo and his fellow attendees arrive at the Capulet feast. The guests are greeted by Capulet, who reminisces with his cousin about how long it has been since they both took part in a masque. Romeo sees Juliet and falls in love with her instantly. Tybalt recognizes Romeo's voice and sends for his rapier to kill him.What happens at the end of Act 1? ›
In traditional jargon, Act 1 ends with a plot point that pushes the protagonist irretrievably into committing to the action of the story. The problem with writing is that the Plot Point at the end of Act 1 could be anything. At least at the beginning of the writing process.