The story begins when a heroic Moorish general in the service of
Othello, appoints (chooses = nomina) Cassio and not Iago as his chief lieutenant (=luogotenente capo). Jealous of Othello’s success and envious (jealous = invidioso) of Cassio, Iago plans Othello’s downfall (ruin = rovina): he falsely suggests to Othello that his wife, Desdemona, and Cassio are having a love affair. Desdemona cannot show a handkerchief (= fazzoletto) once given her by Othello; due to (thanks to, =dovuto a) Iago’s machinations, it will be later found among Cassio’s possessions. Iago drives Othello mad (to drive mad = far impazzire) and Othello, livid with jealousy, kills Desdemona. When he learns, too late, that his wife is innocent, he asks to be remembered as one who “loved not wisely (prudently = saggiamente) but too well”, and stabs (kills himself with a knife = si pugnala) himself. The other characters of the play that were in some way Iago’s accomplices (= complici) are all punished. Emilia, Iago’s wife, and Roderigo, his friend, are killed by Iago, and he is at last punished for his many crimes. Only Cassio, though wounded (hurt = ferito), is rewarded (given a prize = premiato) and takes power and command in Venice, . Cyprus
The source of this story derives from an Italian novella by G. B. Giraldi Cinthio of 1565.