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Shakespeare: Othello

10. Act 2, Scenes 2-3: A Drunken Brawl

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About this Lecture


In this module, we look briefly at the (very short) Act 2, Scene 2, before spending some time on the first half of Act 2, Scene 3, up the point where Cassio is dismissed from Othello’s service (“Cassio, I love thee, | But never more be officer of mine”, 244-45). In particular, we think about: (i) the joyful nature of the drunken revelry, a high point of positive emotion in the play; (ii) Iago’s role in the action as it unfolds; (iii) Othello’s assertion of power after he enters the scene; and (iv) Iago’s manipulation of Othello to secure to dismissal of Cassio.


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, Scenes 2-3: A Drunken Brawl [Video]. MASSOLIT.

MLA style

McRae, J. "Shakespeare: Othello – Act 2, Scenes 2-3: A Drunken Brawl." MASSOLIT, uploaded by MASSOLIT, 27 Jan 2019,

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