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Shakespeare: Othello

11. Act 2, Scene 3: Iago Comforts Cassio … and Plots

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About this Lecture


In this module, we explore the second half of Act 2, Scene 3, in which Iago comforts Cassio after his dismissal from Othello’s service, before speaking Roderigo and outlining the next phase of his plot. In particular, we think about: (i) Iago’s reflections on the concept of reputation (262-72); (ii) Iago’s famous soliloquy after Cassio has left (“And what’s he then that says I play the villain?”, 331-57); and (iii) the development of the audience’s sympathies for Iago.


In this twenty-one part course, Professor John McRae (University of Nottingham) explores Shakespeare’s Othello. We begin with a broad introduction to the historical, political and intellectual context of early 17th-century England, before going through the play scene-by-scene, providing close reading and detailed analysis, with commentary on character, plot, themes and motifs, language, symbolism, and more.

Note: We used the Arden edition of the play (Third Series, Revised Edition, ed. E. A. J. Honigmann). Students using a different version of the play may encounter slight differences in both the text and line numbers.


John McRae is Special Professor of Language in Literature Studies and Teaching Associate in the School of English at Nottingham University, and holds Visiting Professorships in China, Malaysia, Spain and the USA. He is co-author of The Routledge History of Literature in English with Ron Carter, and also wrote The Language of Poetry, Literature with a Small 'l' and the first critical edition of Teleny by Oscar Wilde and others.

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Cite this Lecture

APA style

McRae, J. (2019, January 27). Shakespeare: Othello - Act 2, Scene 3: Iago Comforts Cassio … and Plots [Video]. MASSOLIT.

MLA style

McRae, J. "Shakespeare: Othello – Act 2, Scene 3: Iago Comforts Cassio … and Plots." MASSOLIT, uploaded by MASSOLIT, 27 Jan 2019,

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