- Shakespeare, William
- 1564 - 1582: William Shakespeare's Stratford Beginnings
- 1582 - 1592: William Shakespeare's Marriage, Parenthood and Early Occupation
- 1592 - 1594: William Shakespeare's Life In London, part 1
- 1594 - 1611: William Shakespeare's Life In London, part 2
- 1594 - 1611: William Shakespeare's Life In London, part 3
- 1611 - 1616: William Shakespeare - Back to Stratford
- Religious/ philosophical context
- Theatrical context
Act 5 Scene 1
Synopsis of Act 5 Scene 1
As Iago and Roderigo separately lie in wait for Cassio, Roderigo admits he’d rather not kill Cassio. Iago acknowledges that he can only prosper if both Cassio and Roderigo die. When Cassio arrives, Roderigo ineffectually stabs at him, and is seriously stabbed in return, leaving Iago to try wounding Cassio from behind, hitting him in the leg. Othello hears the commotion and, spurred on by his belief that Iago has killed Cassio, resolves to kill Desdemona.
Lodovico and Gratiano hear the wounded men’s cries, but can’t see – Iago comes with a lantern, and, as if to help Cassio, kills Roderigo in supposed retribution. Lights are called for and a chair for the wounded Cassio. Bianca arrives and is very upset at seeing the wounded Cassio, which Iago makes out is in fact evidence of her complicity in the crime. He feigns distress at the death of Roderigo and Cassio’s injury. Emilia arrives and she and Iago both accuse Bianca of being a prostitute (and, by implication, of having no morals). They set out to inform Othello. Iago knows that his plans are soon to succeed or fail.
Commentary on Act 5 Scene 1
Wear thy good rapier bare, and put it home. - Iago has to tell Roderigo every little detail, even to unsheathe his sword for killing Cassio because Roderigo is too scared and cowardly to do it alone. However it suits Iago to have others bear the blame for his evil plans.
Quick, quick – Iago’s plot only works if there is no time to think properly or discussion to take place.
I have no great devotion to the deed, - Roderigo is completely lacking in courage or principle. He is scared to kill Cassio and recognises it is morally wrong, but has not the intelligence to see through Iago’s arguments nor the backbone to follow his own conscience.
young quat – Iago disparagingly refers to Roderigo as a boil that’s inflamed from being rubbed.
He hath a daily beauty in his life / That makes me ugly; - Iago voices his envy, recognising the moral superiority in Cassio’s life compared to his, and suffering from the comparison.
brave Iago, honest and just – Shakespeare adds to the dramatic irony as each character upholds Iago’s ‘virtues’.
unsafe / To come in to the cry – Shakespeare’s audience would recognise this scene as an inversion of Jesus’ parable of the Good Samaritan (see Luke 10:25-37, Famous stories from the Bible > The Good Samaritan). Whilst Lodovico and Gratiano are like those who observe the victim(s) but do not help, the one who goes to help (Iago) is actually treacherous and the cause of the attack in the first place.
what villains have done this? – Even whilst sympathetic to the victims, the audience might enjoy Iago’s bare-faced audacity.
Kill him i’ the dark? – Iago’s ‘dark deeds’ prefigure the literal and moral darkness of Desdemona’s forthcoming murder.
O my dear Cassio, my sweet Cassio, - Bianca here shows real distress at Cassio’s injuries, which confirms that her love for him is more than just sexual passion.
I do suspect this trash / To be a party in this injury. – Iago diverts attention from Bianca’s obvious distress by insulting her, and cynically turns her arrival to his own advantage by accusing her of Cassio’s stabbing.
O, a chair, a chair! - Iago is the consummate hypocrite, pretending to be the one to rescue Cassio by calling for help.
guiltiness / Will speak, though tongues were out of use. – Iago pretends to see guilt written across Bianca’s face, so they won’t even need to question her or make her answer the accusations against her.
This is the night / That either makes me or fordoes me quite. – The rhyming couplet sums up Iago’s situation as well as creating anticipation as to how events will turn out.
Investigating Act 5 Scene 1
- Study Iago’s speech starting from ‘I have rubbed this young quat’…until ‘he must die.’ Make notes on the following:
- What is the consequence to Iago if Roderigo lives?
- What is the consequence to Iago if Cassio lives?
- How would you describe Iago’s conscience or moral compass?
- How could any of the other characters have resisted Iago’s evil lies and wicked plans?
- Say aloud Othello’s parting line about his intentions: ‘Thy bed lust-stain’d shall with lust’s blood be spotted.’ What impact does it have dramatically?
- English Standard Version
- King James Version
1After this the Lord appointed seventy-two others and sent them on ahead of him, two by two, into every town and place where he himself was about to go. 2And he said to them, The harvest is plentiful, but the laborers are few. Therefore pray earnestly to the Lord of the harvest to send out laborers into his harvest. 3Go your way; behold, I am sending you out as lambs in the midst of wolves. 4Carry no moneybag, no knapsack, no sandals, and greet no one on the road. 5Whatever house you enter, first say, Peace be to this house! 6And if a son of peace is there, your peace will rest upon him. But if not, it will return to you. 7And remain in the same house, eating and drinking what they provide, for the laborer deserves his wages. Do not go from house to house. 8Whenever you enter a town and they receive you, eat what is set before you. 9Heal the sick in it and say to them, The kingdom of God has come near to you. 10But whenever you enter a town and they do not receive you, go into its streets and say, 11Even the dust of your town that clings to our feet we wipe off against you. Nevertheless know this, that the kingdom of God has come near. 12I tell you, it will be more bearable on that day for Sodom than for that town. 13Woe to you, Chorazin! Woe to you, Bethsaida! For if the mighty works done in you had been done in Tyre and Sidon, they would have repented long ago, sitting in sackcloth and ashes. 14But it will be more bearable in the judgment for Tyre and Sidon than for you. 15And you, Capernaum, will you be exalted to heaven? You shall be brought down to Hades. 16The one who hears you hears me, and the one who rejects you rejects me, and the one who rejects me rejects him who sent me. 17The seventy-two returned with joy, saying, Lord, even the demons are subject to us in your name! 18And he said to them, I saw Satan fall like lightning from heaven. 19Behold, I have given you authority to tread on serpents and scorpions, and over all the power of the enemy, and nothing shall hurt you. 20Nevertheless, do not rejoice in this, that the spirits are subject to you, but rejoice that your names are written in heaven. 21In that same hour he rejoiced in the Holy Spirit and said, I thank you, Father, Lord of heaven and earth, that you have hidden these things from the wise and understanding and revealed them to little children; yes, Father, for such was your gracious will. 22All things have been handed over to me by my Father, and no one knows who the Son is except the Father, or who the Father is except the Son and anyone to whom the Son chooses to reveal him. 23Then turning to the disciples he said privately, Blessed are the eyes that see what you see! 24For I tell you that many prophets and kings desired to see what you see, and did not see it, and to hear what you hear, and did not hear it. 25And behold, a lawyer stood up to put him to the test, saying, Teacher, what shall I do to inherit eternal life? 26He said to him, What is written in the Law? How do you read it? 27And he answered, You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your strength and with all your mind, and your neighbor as yourself. 28And he said to him, You have answered correctly; do this, and you will live. 29But he, desiring to justify himself, said to Jesus, And who is my neighbor? 30Jesus replied, A man was going down from Jerusalem to Jericho, and he fell among robbers, who stripped him and beat him and departed, leaving him half dead. 31Now by chance a priest was going down that road, and when he saw him he passed by on the other side. 32So likewise a Levite, when he came to the place and saw him, passed by on the other side. 33But a Samaritan, as he journeyed, came to where he was, and when he saw him, he had compassion. 34He went to him and bound up his wounds, pouring on oil and wine. Then he set him on his own animal and brought him to an inn and took care of him. 35And the next day he took out two denarii and gave them to the innkeeper, saying, Take care of him, and whatever more you spend, I will repay you when I come back. 36Which of these three, do you think, proved to be a neighbor to the man who fell among the robbers? 37He said, The one who showed him mercy. And Jesus said to him, You go, and do likewise. 38Now as they went on their way, Jesus entered a village. And a woman named Martha welcomed him into her house. 39And she had a sister called Mary, who sat at the Lord's feet and listened to his teaching. 40But Martha was distracted with much serving. And she went up to him and said, Lord, do you not care that my sister has left me to serve alone? Tell her then to help me. 41But the Lord answered her, Martha, Martha, you are anxious and troubled about many things, 42but one thing is necessary. Mary has chosen the good portion, which will not be taken away from her.
1After these things the LORD appointed other seventy also, and sent them two and two before his face into every city and place, whither he himself would come. 2Therefore said he unto them, The harvest truly is great, but the labourers are few: pray ye therefore the Lord of the harvest, that he would send forth labourers into his harvest. 3Go your ways: behold, I send you forth as lambs among wolves. 4Carry neither purse, nor scrip, nor shoes: and salute no man by the way. 5And into whatsoever house ye enter, first say, Peace be to this house. 6And if the son of peace be there, your peace shall rest upon it: if not, it shall turn to you again. 7And in the same house remain, eating and drinking such things as they give: for the labourer is worthy of his hire. Go not from house to house. 8And into whatsoever city ye enter, and they receive you, eat such things as are set before you: 9And heal the sick that are therein, and say unto them, The kingdom of God is come nigh unto you. 10But into whatsoever city ye enter, and they receive you not, go your ways out into the streets of the same, and say, 11Even the very dust of your city, which cleaveth on us, we do wipe off against you: notwithstanding be ye sure of this, that the kingdom of God is come nigh unto you. 12But I say unto you, that it shall be more tolerable in that day for Sodom, than for that city. 13Woe unto thee, Chorazin! woe unto thee, Bethsaida! for if the mighty works had been done in Tyre and Sidon, which have been done in you, they had a great while ago repented, sitting in sackcloth and ashes. 14But it shall be more tolerable for Tyre and Sidon at the judgment, than for you. 15And thou, Capernaum, which art exalted to heaven, shalt be thrust down to hell. 16He that heareth you heareth me; and he that despiseth you despiseth me; and he that despiseth me despiseth him that sent me. 17And the seventy returned again with joy, saying, Lord, even the devils are subject unto us through thy name. 18And he said unto them, I beheld Satan as lightning fall from heaven. 19Behold, I give unto you power to tread on serpents and scorpions, and over all the power of the enemy: and nothing shall by any means hurt you. 20Notwithstanding in this rejoice not, that the spirits are subject unto you; but rather rejoice, because your names are written in heaven. 21In that hour Jesus rejoiced in spirit, and said, I thank thee, O Father, Lord of heaven and earth, that thou hast hid these things from the wise and prudent, and hast revealed them unto babes: even so, Father; for so it seemed good in thy sight. 22All things are delivered to me of my Father: and no man knoweth who the Son is, but the Father; and who the Father is, but the Son, and he to whom the Son will reveal him. 23And he turned him unto his disciples, and said privately, Blessed are the eyes which see the things that ye see: 24For I tell you, that many prophets and kings have desired to see those things which ye see, and have not seen them; and to hear those things which ye hear, and have not heard them. 25And, behold, a certain lawyer stood up, and tempted him, saying, Master, what shall I do to inherit eternal life? 26He said unto him, What is written in the law? how readest thou? 27And he answering said, Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy strength, and with all thy mind; and thy neighbour as thyself. 28And he said unto him, Thou hast answered right: this do, and thou shalt live. 29But he, willing to justify himself, said unto Jesus, And who is my neighbour? 30And Jesus answering said, A certain man went down from Jerusalem to Jericho, and fell among thieves, which stripped him of his raiment, and wounded him, and departed, leaving him half dead. 31And by chance there came down a certain priest that way: and when he saw him, he passed by on the other side. 32And likewise a Levite, when he was at the place, came and looked on him, and passed by on the other side. 33But a certain Samaritan, as he journeyed, came where he was: and when he saw him, he had compassion on him, 34And went to him, and bound up his wounds, pouring in oil and wine, and set him on his own beast, and brought him to an inn, and took care of him. 35And on the morrow when he departed, he took out two pence, and gave them to the host, and said unto him, Take care of him; and whatsoever thou spendest more, when I come again, I will repay thee. 36Which now of these three, thinkest thou, was neighbour unto him that fell among the thieves? 37And he said, He that shewed mercy on him. Then said Jesus unto him, Go, and do thou likewise. 38Now it came to pass, as they went, that he entered into a certain village: and a certain woman named Martha received him into her house. 39And she had a sister called Mary, which also sat at Jesus' feet, and heard his word. 40But Martha was cumbered about much serving, and came to him, and said, Lord, dost thou not care that my sister hath left me to serve alone? bid her therefore that she help me. 41And Jesus answered and said unto her, Martha, Martha, thou art careful and troubled about many things: 42But one thing is needful: and Mary hath chosen that good part, which shall not be taken away from her.
The name given to the man believed by Christians to be the Son of God. Also given the title Christ, meaning 'anointed one' or Messiah. His life is recorded most fully in the Four Gospels.
In the Bible, the term given to stories that Jesus told as part of his teaching.
A parable told by Jesus which shows a member of a despised group caring for someone in need.
An image or action which demonstrates a future event before it occurs
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