ACT III – Scene.i
The scene opens outside the castle where Cassio introduces some
musicians who are to entertain in the castle next day.
Cassio asks the clown to deliver a message to Emilia (Desdemona’s attendant) requesting that she speak to him. Cassio is confident that he will be able to reinstate his position, not suspecting for one moment that he is being manipulated by Iago.
Iago enters and Cassio advises him what he has done and he
volunteers to assist Cassio by ensuring that Othello is kept out of the way so that he can pursue his reinstatement.
Emilia leaves the castle to speak to Cassio and she shows
genuine regret for the trouble that he has faced.
She confirms that Othello still regards Cassio highly, but dismissed him because it was in Cassio’s best interest, and also he had to demonstrate some discipline because Montano had been wounded. Emilia suggests that Othello will soon come round and reinstate him, but Cassio wishes to be sure and still asks Emilia to request Desdemona to intercede on his behalf. Emilia advises that she will arrange a meeting between Desdemona and Cassio.
Shakespeare cleverly lifts the oppression that the audience must
feel arising from Iago’s soliloquy in the previous scene. This is done through the musicians and clown who are standard characters in many of Shakespeare’s tragedies.
The dialogue in this scene seems for a moment to suggest that
Iago’s plan will unravel, for Emilia indicates that a meeting between Cassio and Desdemona will not be necessary and that Cassio will be reinstated in due course.
However, the headstrong Cassio ignores this and still wishes to have a meeting with Desdemona. Fatally, he has decided to stick with Iago’s advice and disregard’s Emilia’s.
Towards the end of the scene, the suspense builds again as the
audience realize that a private meeting between Cassio and Desdemona is set.