Lodovico, a Venetian noble

Lodovico is a gentleman whose perspective helps to emphasize the monstrosity of Othello's jealousy.

After Iago has gotten Othello to decide on the time, place, and method of Desdemona's murder, trumpets are heard, and Lodovico appears, accompanied by Desdemona, to deliver letters from the Senate of Venice. Saying, "God save you, worthy general!"(4.1.216), Lodovico greets Othello and hands him the letters. Then, while Othello reads (or pretends to read) a letter, Lodovico converses with Desdemona, who is some kind of cousin to him. He mentions that Othello has been called home to Venice and that Cassio has been appointed governor of Cyprus. Hearing this, Desdemona exclaims, "By my troth, I am glad on't" (4.1.238), which provokes Othello so much that he slaps her and sends her away.

Shocked, Lodovico says, "Truly, an obedient lady: / I do beseech your lordship, call her back" (4.1.248-249). At this, Othello, who has just struck his wife, proceeds to humiliate her. "Mistress!" he shouts, and she stops and turns, asking "My lord?" (4.1.250). Then Othello asks Lodovico what he wants with her. Dumbfounded, Lodovico asks, "Who, I, my lord?" (4.1.251), and Othello sarcastically implies that Desdemona is available to Lodovico -- or any other man -- because she can turn any which way and because she is so obedient. Then Othello again sends Desdemona away, invites Lodovico to supper, and storms out. Wonderingly, Lodovico asks, "Is this the noble Moor whom our full senate / Call all in all sufficient? Is this the nature / Whom passion could not shake?" (4.1.264-266). [Scene Summary]

Following Othello's orders, Desdemona prepares for bed. As she does so, she happens to think of Lodovico and says, "This Lodovico is a proper [good-looking] man" (4.3.35). Emilia answers that he is very handsome, and Desdemona adds, "He speaks well"(4.3.37). Apparently trying to encourage Desdemona to think about someone other than Othello, Emilia says, "I know a lady in Venice would have walked barefoot to Palestine for a touch of his nether lip" (4.3.38-39), but Desdemona drops the subject and begins to sing, leaving us to wonder why Lodovico came to mind. Did she remember that Lodovico had taken her part when Othello slapped her and humiliated her in public? Or did she wonder, just for a moment, what her life would have been like married to someone like Lodovico, rather than Othello? [Scene Summary]

After being set upon by Roderigo and wounded from behind by Iago, Cassio cries out, "What, ho! no watch? no passage? murder! murder!" (5.1.37). Cassio wants help, and he is hoping that the night watchmen (the "watch") or passers-by ("passage") will come to his aid. Two passers-by, Lodovico and Gratiano, have heard him, but they also hear the cries of Roderigo, and they are afraid to follow the voices into the dark. Lodovico thinks some thugs might be trying to lure them into danger, and he advises Gratiano, "let's think't unsafe / To come in to the cry without more help" (5.1.43-44).

As Lodovico and Gratiano are trying to decide what to do, Iago reappears, looking as though he has just arisen from bed. Lodovico recognizes him, but when Iago calls out, "What are you there? come in, and give some help" (5.1.59), the two gentlemen still hang back. This gives Iago the chance to kill Roderigo under the pretence of punishing the villain who wounded Cassio. After finishing off Roderigo, Iago makes a show of looking for more villains and calling out for help. Then he asks Lodovico and Gratiano who they are. Lodovico identifies himself, and they begin to tend to Cassio's wound. [Scene Summary]

After Iago has killed Emilia and Othello realizes that Desdemona was innocent, Lodovico enters at the head of a group of men and asks, "Where is this rash and most unfortunate man?" (5.2.283). He means Othello, who answers, "That's he that was Othello: here I am" (5.2.284). Lodovico, who was attending Cassio, has now taken charge. Behind him are Montano, Cassio, and Iago, who is guarded by the officers. As we learn a little later, Lodovico has already learned much about the events from things that Iago has said and from letters found on the body of Roderigo. Lodovico's business is now to get the rest of the story by questioning Othello, and to decide what is to be done with Othello and Iago.

Lodovico decides that Othello will be taken as a prisoner to Venice for the final determination of his fate. Cassio is appointed governor of Cyprus. Iago will be tortured. Having made these announcements, Lodovico is ready to wrap things up. He says, "Come, bring away" (5.2.337), which is an order to the officers to follow him out of the room with the prisoners, Iago and Othello. But Othello stops everything by committing suicide.

In the last speech of the play, Lodovico ties up all the loose ends. He denounces Iago as a "Spartan dog" (5.2.361). (Spartan dogs were known to be ferocious and silent.) Lodovico then orders the bodies to be hid, which is done by closing the curtains of the bed. Gratiano, Desdemona's uncle, is to have all of Othello's possessions. Cassio, now governor of Cyprus, is given the responsibility of torturing Iago (to death, presumably). Lodovico himself will return to Venice to deliver news of this tragedy. [Scene Summary]