In act I of Othello, what is Brabantio's reaction to the news brought by lago and Roderigo?

Expert Answers

An illustration of the letter 'A' in a speech bubbles

In act one, scene one, of Shakespeare's Othello, Iago and Roderigo call the senator Brabantio to his window by falsely claiming that Brabantio is being robbed. From the beginning of their exchange, then, Brabantio is in a foul mood. His mood only gets worse when Iago tells him that

I am one, sir, that comes to tell you your daughter
and the Moor are now making the beast with two backs.

In other words, he is telling Brabantio that his daughter Desdemona and the moor Othello are having sex. Brabantio reacts by calling his servants to

Strike on the tinder, ho!
Give me a taper! call up all my people!
This accident is not unlike my dream:
Belief of it oppresses me already.
Light, I say! light!

Moments later, he is outside his house with his servants carrying torches and asking for someone "to raise all my kindred.” We can tell how upset he is by his frantic speech, which jumps from one thought to the other.

Where didst thou see her? O unhappy girl!
With the Moor, say'st thou? Who would be a father!
How didst thou know 'twas she? O she deceives me
Past thought! What said she to you? Get more tapers:

When Roderigo tells him that Othello and Desdemona are probably married, he becomes furious, stating that it is a "treason of the blood." Brabantio calls for weapons and vows to stop and search every house for his once good friend.

Approved by eNotes Editorial Team
An illustration of the letter 'A' in a speech bubbles

First, let's examine what news Iago and Roderigo brought to Brabanzio in Act One of Othello, by William Shakespeare.  Roderigo, who is in love with Brabanzio's daughter, Desdemona, is enraged to hear that Desdemona has just married Othello.  Both men hate Othello, and so they decided to misinform Brabanzio of what Desdemona has done.  They go to him and tell him that she and Othello are having sex (or "making the beast with two backs", as Iago so eloquently puts it).  Brabanzio is enraged and angered beyond belief.  He sets out at once in search of his daughter.  When he does not find her, he beings to believe that Othello has somehow managed to trick Desdemona and has her under some sort of spell.

Approved by eNotes Editorial Team
Soaring plane image

We’ll help your grades soar

Start your 48-hour free trial and unlock all the summaries, Q&A, and analyses you need to get better grades now.

  • 30,000+ book summaries
  • 20% study tools discount
  • Ad-free content
  • PDF downloads
  • 300,000+ answers
  • 5-star customer support
Start your 48-Hour Free Trial