Cast of Characters

Othello—Hero of the play, Othello is a noble mercenary, general of the Venetian army. He is seduced by the evil Iago into suspecting his wife of infidelity. His tragic fall culminates in his murdering of his wife and slaughtering of himself.

Desdemona—Othello’s faithful wife, Desdemona represents a side of Othello that is at once willful, considerate, loving, and generous.

Brabantio—Desdemona’s father, he is a Venetian Senator who is at first badly startled to hear of his daughter’s elopement with Othello. Convinced that Othello has bewitched his daughter through charms and spells, his concerns are put to rest when he sees Othello and Desdemona’s affection for one another displayed before the Duke’s council.

Iago—Often described by critics as the incarnation of evil for the extremity to which he goes to satisfy his spite, Iago is a character of bizarrely concocted elements: reason, wit, humor, artistry (for he can act) and cruel spite. He is best characterized by Psalm 52, which identifies the man of deceitful tongue who “loves evil more than good.” Iago is the play’s villain but also serves as a representation of Othello’s self-centered, unloving self—the jealously obsessive, vain self who puts himself before all others.

Emilia—Iago’s wife, she is also Desdemona’s attendant. Her view of love is not quite so deadly as Iago’s but is certainly less noble than Desdemona’s. She becomes a tool in Iago’s plot to destroy Othello, and afterward the murder of her mistress confesses her husband’s treachery to Othello.

Michael Cassio—Othello’s second-in-command, he is the most balanced of all the characters (in spite of his weaknesses). For that reason, perhaps, he is hated by Iago and used to convince Othello that Desdemona is unfaithful. Cassio is innocent of charges of adultery with Othello’s wife...

Sign up to continue reading Cast of Characters >

Essays About Othello