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English 2, But Othello's old Ensign, Iago Frank Finlay , doesn't like Othello, and is determined to bring about the downfall of Othello's new favorite, Cassio Sir Derek Jacobi , and destroy Othello in the process, by casting aspersions on Othello's new bride.
Written by Kathy Li. I've always felt Othello to be more Iago's play than Othello's. Iago is the guy whose subtle machinations keep the whole thing going. In fact William Shakespeare probably should have entitled the play Iago instead. Othello gets the title because the emphasis is on his reactions to Iago's hints of infidelity in regard to Othello's new wife Desdemona.
The proud Moor is destroyed by the 'green eyed monster' who when he gets a hold doesn't let go. Why's all this happening? Because Othello, a Moorish soldier of fortune in the pay of the Duke of Venice passes Iago over for a promotion and gives it to another favorite named Cassio.
All that sucking up gone for naught, Iago plans subtle revenge. But in order to make this work, it's more than Othello he has to maneuver. He drops lies and suspicions to Othello, Desdemona, Cassio, and even his own wife Emilia, to another suitor for Desdemona named Rodrigo, in short to just about the rest of the cast. It's why I think Iago's character is central.
None of them came up a winner though. In one of his earliest screen performances you'll find Derek Jacobi as the loyal, brave, but slightly dense Cassio. And as Rodrigo who Iago plays like a piccolo is Robert Lang, both of whom are cast perfectly. Unlike Olivier's other Shakespearean work, this is essentially a photographed stage play.
But the sets are just fine and since it's a story about palace intrigue, the palace sets are more than appropriate. On a stormy evening, the people of Cyprus anxiously await the arrival of the new governor, Otello, from a naval battle with the Turks Chorus, Montano, Cassio, Iago, Roderigo : Una vela! For a moment it seems as if Otello's ship will founder, to the delight of Otello's treacherous ensign, Iago, but Otello arrives safely and announces that the Turkish fleet has been destroyed, and the Cypriots cheer Otello, chorus: Esultate!
Iago offers to help the young Venetian gentleman Roderigo in his seduction of Otello's wife, Desdemona — Iago envies Otello his success and longs to destroy the Moor Iago, Roderigo: Roderigo, ebben che pensi? Among his grievances, Iago is outraged that Otello has appointed Cassio to be the captain of the navy, a position that Iago hoped to have.
The people of Cyprus celebrate the safe return of Otello and his men by lighting a bonfire and drinking Chorus: Fuoco di gioia! Iago offers Cassio more wine, but Cassio says he has had enough. Iago pressures him and offers a toast to Otello and Desdemona. Cassio gives in. Iago sings a drinking song and continues to pour Cassio wine Iago, Cassio, Roderigo, chorus: Inaffia l'ugola! Montano enters and calls for Cassio to begin his watch; he is surprised to find Cassio drunk and barely able to stand upright.
Iago lies to Montano, telling him that this is how Cassio spends every evening. Roderigo laughs at Cassio's drunkenness and Cassio attacks him.
Montano tells Cassio to calm down, but Cassio draws his sword and threatens to crack open Montano's head. Cassio and Montano begin to duel, and Iago sends Roderigo to call the alarm. Montano is wounded and the fight is stopped only by the appearance of Otello. Otello orders Montano and Cassio to lower their swords. He then asks "honest Iago" to explain how the duel began, but Iago says he doesn't know. Otello then turns to Cassio, who is embarrassed and cannot excuse his actions.
When Otello discovers that Montano is wounded, he becomes enraged. Desdemona enters, and, upon seeing that his bride's rest has been disturbed, Otello declares that Cassio is no longer Captain.
He tells Iago to patrol the town to restore quiet, calls for help for Montano and orders everyone to return to their houses. The Cypriots leave Otello alone with Desdemona. Together Otello and Desdemona recall why they fell in love. Otello, in an ecstasy of joy, invites death, fearing that he will never know such happiness again.
Desdemona prays that their love will remain unchanged. They kiss, overcome with love for each other. A hall on the ground floor of the castle, divided by a glass partition from the garden at the back, with a balcony. Desdemona and Emilia can be seen walking the garden. Cassio approaches Desdemona. Otello enters the room; Iago, pretending not to notice him, says that he is deeply troubled. Cassio sees Otello from afar and goes discreetly away. Otello asks what's wrong, but Iago gives only vague answers.
Finally, he hints that Cassio and Desdemona are having an affair. Otello begins to get suspicious, but declares that he needs proof before believing that Desdemona has been unfaithful. Che parli?
They present her with gifts and wish her happiness before leaving. Desdemona carries Cassio's request for reinstatement to Otello. Otello sourly tells her to ask him another time; as she persists, he grows impatient and says he has a headache. Desdemona offers to wrap his head in a handkerchief Otello once gave her, linen embroidered with strawberries. Emilia picks up the handkerchief.
Desdemona asks for Otello's forgiveness. Aside, Iago demands that Emilia give him the handkerchief. When she refuses, Iago forcibly takes it from her. Iago returns, and the jealous Otello demands proof of Desdemona's infidelity. Iago says that once, when he and Cassio were sleeping in the same room, he heard Cassio talking to Desdemona in a dream. In the dream, says Iago, Cassio told Desdemona that they must be careful to conceal their love.
Iago says that dreams don't prove anything, but remarks that he saw Cassio carrying Desdemona's strawberry-embroidered handkerchief just the day before. The great hall of the castle. To the right, a large colonnade leading to a smaller hall, in the back of which is a balcony. Othello and Iago talking in the hall as a herald enters.Giuseppe Verdi - Otello Libretto by Arrigo Boito From Teatro Real Madrid Desdemona. Ermonela Jaho Otello. Gregory Kunde Iago. George Petean Emilia.