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Character Roles (Protagonist, Antagonist...)
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Othello is the first great black protagonist in Western literature, and still one of the most famous. The play dramatizes this hero's fall from grace – Othello begins as a noble guy (he's a c...
Iago is one of the most notorious and mysterious villains of all time. He spends all of his time plotting against Othello and Desdemona, eventually convincing Othello that his wife has b...
Desdemona is a beautiful, young, white, Venetian debutante, her father's pride and joy. But she refuses to marry any of the rich, handsome Venetian men that everyone expects her to marry. Instead,...
Older and more cynical than Desdemona, Emilia develops a close relationship with the young married woman. Emilia and Desdemona bond over husband trouble: Emilia's bitter take on her married life wi...
When we begin, Cassio is one of Othello's soldiers, and is recently appointed the general's second-in-command. This infuriates Iago, as he wanted to be lieutenant, and Cassio is a math (not muscle)...
Roderigo is a rich, unintelligent guy who thinks that if he sends Desdemona enough expensive presents, she'll fall in love with him. He's hired Iago to be his wingman, but Iago basically uses him a...
Desdemona's father, Brabantio, is a rich and important Venetian politician. He likes Othello and invites him to visit his house a lot — but he never expected Othello "to steal" his daughter....
Bianca is a Venetian courtesan who is in love with Cassio, who sees her as a laughable nuisance. Shakespeare's portrayal of Bianca is sympathetic – when Cassio treats her like garbage, it's c...
The important men in charge of Venice. They think Othello's pretty great – even that he might make a pretty great son-in-law.
Desdemona's cousin and a member of Venice's diplomatic service, Lodovico arrives in Cyprus just in time to see Desdemona get slapped by her new husband, and then witness the deaths of all the main...
Governor of Cyprus before Othello showed up to take command, Montano ends up getting in a fight with Cassio, and in turn gets Cassio in serious trouble.
Desdemona's uncle – when he finds out that Desdemona is dead, he says something lame like "Gee, it's a good thing her dad is dead, otherwise he would have been really upset by all this."