He marries a beautiful woman named Desdemona, wooing her through his tales of war and adventure.
A man named Lago is upset that he was passed over for a position as lieutenant, which was given to a man named Cassio, and vows to get his revenge against Othello.
Roderigo, who is in love with Desdemona, befriends Lago, who begins to manipulate him in his plan for revenge.
As the Venetians are at war with the Turks, Othello is sent to Cyprus and accompanied by Lago, Desdemona, Roderigo, Cassio, and Emilia, Lago’s wife.
Noticing how friendly Cassio is with Desdemona, Lago decides that his plan of revenge is to make Othello mad with jealousy by lying about an affair between Cassio and Desdemona.
Lago manipulates Roderigo, asking him to start a fight with Cassio. Later that evening Lago gets Cassio drunk and Cassio gets into a fight with Montano, a Cyprus official.
Othello strips Cassio of his official position and Cassio is depressed that his reputation is tarnished.
Lago advises Cassio to talk to Desdemona alone and have her speak on his behalf to Othello to have him reinstated.
Cassio thinks this is a good idea, even though Lago uses the situation to create a wedge between Desdemona and Othello.
As Cassio and Desdemona talk in the distance, Lago speaks to Othello and implies that he suspects there might be something going on between Cassio and Desdemona.
Desdemona accidentally drops a handkerchief that Othello gave her and Emilia picks it up and gives it to Lago, who plants it in Cassio’s room for him to find.
Othello asks Lago if he knows of any proof of the affair between Desdemona and Cassio and Lago lies that he heard Cassio call out Desdemona’s name in his sleep.
Othello is furious and asks Lago to kill Cassio, to which he agrees. The tension rises between Othello and Desdemona as he asks her to show him the handkerchief, but she cannot.
Cassio talks to Bianca, a prostitute, and he gives her the handkerchief before dismissing her. Lago further lies to Othello about the affair, which sends Othello into epileptic shock.
When Othello recovers, he sees Lago and Cassio talking and thinks that Cassio is laughing about the affair.
As Othello and Lago plan Cassio’s death, Desdemona’s cousin, Lodovico, arrives to recall Othello back to Venice.
Othello questions Emilia about the interactions between Cassio and Desdemona and learns that they have never been inappropriate.
Still, Othello accuses Desdemona of being unfaithful and her feelings are hurt in the accusation. Roderigo confronts Lago and begins to suspect that Lago has been lying to him.
Lago convinces Roderigo to help him kill Cassio so that Othello and Desdemona will not return to Venice.
Roderigo and Lago wait for Cassio that evening and in the fight, Roderigo is wounded by Cassio, and Lago wounds Cassio before running away.
Lago reappears and kills Roderigo and Cassio is carted away for medical attention. Enraged, Othello kills Desdemona in bed, even though she pleads that she is innocent.
Othello tells Emilia why he killed Desdemona and Emilia tells him that Lago has been lying the entire time.
Lago appears, kills Emilia as she unravels his lies, and runs away. Lago and the wounded Cassio are brought before Lodovico and Othello, who confesses that he had arranged Cassio’s murder.
After Roderigo’s involvement is revealed by a series of letters, Othello sees his mistakes, stabs himself, and dies.
In the end, Cassio is responsible for punishing Lago and Lodovico goes back to Venice to share the news of what happened.