William Shakespeare

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Othello Characters

Read our modern English translation.


A Christian Moor who has earned a high reputation as a general in the Venetian army and has recently married Desdemona, daughter of the Venetian senator Brabantio. Othello is characterized by his plainspoken… read analysis of Othello


Othello's disloyal standard-bearer and the villain of the play. Angry at having been passed over by Othello for promotion to the rank of lieutenant, and also because he seems to enjoy creating mayhem for its… read analysis of Iago


The Daughter of the Venetian senator Brabantio. Having been charmed by Othello's tales of exotic lands and military exploits, Desdemona elopes with him before the play begins (although they do not consummate their… read analysis of Desdemona

Michael Cassio

A young, charming, and handsome soldier, whom Othello promotes to the rank of lieutenant, over the more experienced Iago. Cassio is loyal to Othello and friendly with Desdemona, though he's unkind to the prostitute… read analysis of Michael Cassio


A senator in Venice and Desdemona's father. At first enraged by Desdemona's elopement with Othello, he does eventually grant a grudging blessing to their marriage. But his blessing never seems heartfelt, and he… read analysis of Brabantio
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Iago's wife and Desdemona's friend and serving woman. Although Emilia is far less idealistic about marriage and the world in general than Desdemona is, she is loyal to her mistress. Though she steals… read analysis of Emilia

Duke of Venice

The official authority in Venice, the Duke has great respect for Othello as a military man and, unlike the other residents of Venice, does not betray any racial prejudice against Othello and, in fact, is… read analysis of Duke of Venice
Minor Characters
A long-rejected suitor of Desdemona, who seeks to woo her with jewels through the Iago as. Like Othello, Roderigo trusts Iago and is duped by him. Otherwise, Roderigo shares none of Othello's noble characteristics.
A prostitute in Cyprus, who expresses real affection for Cassio. He, however, only mocks her.
A relative of Brabantio's, Lodovico acts as an emissary, bringing letters from Venice to Cyprus. He is present on the island for the full unfolding of the tragedy.
The governor or Cyprus before Othello's arrival.
A kinsman of Brabantio who accompanies Lodovico from Venice to Cyprus.
Othello's fool/servant. Although he appears in only two short scenes, his riddling language reflects Othello's own language as the Moor descends into jealous madness.