Love Through the Ages<br />A2 Level Coursework<br />Othello by <br />William Shakespeare<br />
Long Term Aims<br /><ul><li>To read and analyse Shakespeare’s Othello, looking closely at characters, relationships and the theme of love.
To prepare to write a comparison piece of coursework about the destructive nature of desire.</li></li></ul><li>Discussion<br />Before we begin to study Othello you must discuss your previous knowledge of Shakespeare with the people next to you.<br /><ul><li>What do you know about Shakespeare and his writing?
What other Shakespeare plays have you read or studied? Were they tragedies or comedies? What do they have in common?
Just by looking at the title Othello what does it appear to have in common with other Shakespeare plays?
What do you know about the play Othello already?</li></li></ul><li>Understanding the Tragedy Genre<br />Othello is part of the tragedy genre and is one of Shakespeare’s greatest tragedies. Read the handout supplied called ‘Tragedy and Othello’ and complete the tasks below.<br /><ul><li>Where does the literary tradition surrounding tragedy originate?
Summarise the conventions of traditional tragedy in five points.
How does Anouilh’s definition of tragedy compare with Aristotle’s? What are the key points of similarity and difference?
Refer back to a text you have studied (could be Shakespeare, but Miller also uses the tragedy genre in his writing) and explain how it conforms to the requirements of a tragedy.</li></li></ul><li>Final Thought…<br />A critic once said: “Tragedy is the most interesting of the Shakespearean genres. The plays have more depth and the characters are more developed. Even though we inevitably know that the conclusion of the play will end with the ultimate downfall of the protagonist; the audience are far more intrigued because we are curious to observe how their tragedy unfolds.”<br />To what extent do you agree with this comment?<br />
Women and Marriage<br />As you are waiting for the lesson to begin, discuss the following questions with the people next to you:<br />Do you think women have a different role in society to men?<br />What different roles do women play in society?<br />What is the key to a happy marriage?<br />Do you think families / parents should be able to express an opinion or influence a person’s judgement about who their life partner will be?<br />
Lesson Objectives<br />To consider the role of women and marriage in Elizabethan times.<br />To begin to analyse women in Shakespeare’s plays.<br />
Elizabethan Women<br />Read through the handout ‘Elizabethan Women’ in pairs and answer the following questions:<br />How would you summarise a woman’s role during this period?<br />What were society’s views on marriage?<br />Think about a Shakespeare play you have previously studied. Did the central female character conform or subvert the expectations of the period?<br />
Watch this clip from Shakespeare’s Richard III. In this scene Lady Anne is mourning the death of her husband, who has been killed by Richard. Richard enters and convinces her that he killed him because he loves her and wants to marry her himself (really he thinks marrying her will help him in his bid to become King of England). By the end of the scene Anne agrees to the marriage with Richard.<br />Do you think Anne conforms to or subverts the expectations of an Elizabethan woman?<br />Do you think she is a typical Shakespearean female character?<br />How do the audience respond to her?<br />
Read the following scene from Romeo and Juliet and discuss with the people next to you – what does this further add to our understanding about the role of women and marriage in Elizabethan times?<br />LADY CAPULET Marry, my child, early next Thursday morn,The gallant, young and noble gentleman,The County Paris, at Saint Peter's Church,Shall happily make thee there a joyful bride.JULIETHe shall not make me there a joyful bride.I wonder at this haste; that I must wedEre he, that should be husband, comes to woo.I pray you, tell my lord and father, madam,I will not marry yet; and, when I do, I swear,It shall be Romeo, whom you know I hate,Rather than Paris. These are news indeed!LADY CAPULETHere comes your father; tell him so yourself,CAPULETHow now! a conduit, girl? what, still in tears?Evermore showering? How now, wife!Have you deliver'd to her our decree?CAPULETSoft! take me with you, take me with you, wife.How! will she none? doth she not give us thanks?Is she not proud? doth she not count her blest,Unworthy as she is, that we have wroughtSo worthy a gentleman to be her bridegroom? <br />JULIETGood father, I beseech you on my knees,Hear me with patience but to speak a word.<br />CAPULETHang thee, young baggage! disobedient wretch!I tell thee what: get thee to church o' Thursday,Or never after look me in the face:Speak not, reply not, do not answer me;My fingers itch. Wife, we scarce thought us blestThat God had lent us but this only child;But now I see this one is one too much,And that we have a curse in having her:Out on her, hilding!…CAPULETGod's bread! it makes me mad:Day, night, hour, tide, time, work, play,Alone, in company, still my care hath beenTo have her match'd: and having now providedA gentleman of noble parentage,Of fair demesnes, youthful, and nobly train'd,Stuff'd, as they say, with honourable parts,Proportion'd as one's thought would wish a man;And then to have a wretched puling fool,A whining mammet, in her fortune's tender,To answer 'I'll not wed; I cannot love,I am too young; I pray you, pardon me.'But, as you will not wed, I'll pardon you:Graze where you will you shall not house with me:Look to't, think on't, I do not use to jest.Thursday is near; lay hand on heart, advise:An you be mine, I'll give you to my friend;And you be not, hang, beg, starve, die inthe streets,For, by my soul, I'll ne'er acknowledge thee,Nor what is mine shall never do thee good:Trust to't, bethink you; I'll not be forsworn.<br />
What do the following images of Desdemona in Othello suggest about her role in the play and the type of character she is?<br />
What different types of love could we analyse in our unit ‘Love Through the Ages’?<br />
Lesson Objectives<br />To begin to analyse Shakespeare’s different presentations of love.<br />To become more familiar with Shakespeare’s choice of form and language.<br />
TASK<br />In groups you will be given two of Shakespeare’s love sonnets (116 and 129). Each of these sonnets conveys a different presentation of love. You must:<br />Match the sonnet with the analysis you have been given of the poem.<br />You must find evidence and explain it to support the points in bold in the analysis.<br />From what we have discussed about Othello so far, which one of these sonnets do you think most aptly describes the presentation of love in the play?<br />
Sonnet 116<br />Let me not to the marriage of true mindsAdmit impediments. Love is not loveWhich alters when it alteration finds,Or bends with the remover to remove:O no! it is an ever-fixed markThat looks on tempests and is never shaken;It is the star to every wandering bark,Whose Worth's unknown, although his height be taken.Love's not Time's fool, though rosy lips and cheeksWithin his bending sickle's compass come;Love alters not with his brief hours and weeks,But bears it out even to the edge of doom:If this be error and upon me proved,I never writ, nor no man ever loved.<br />
Sonnet 129<br />The expense of spirit in a waste of shame Is lust in action; and till action, lust Is perjured, murderous, bloody, full of blame, Savage, extreme, rude, cruel, not to trust, Enjoy'd no sooner but despised straight, Past reason hunted, and no sooner had Past reason hated, as a swallow'd bait On purpose laid to make the taker mad; Mad in pursuit and in possession so; Had, having, and in quest to have, extreme; A bliss in proof, and proved, a very woe; Before, a joy proposed; behind, a dream. All this the world well knows; yet none knows well To shun the heaven that leads men to this hell.<br />
Analysis 1<br />The situation of the speaker of this poem is that of a person who has experienced each stage of lust, and who is therefore able to articulate the shame he now feels with reference to his past desire and its consummation. Though the lust of this poem is not explicitly sexual, it is described in highly carnal language. The most important device of this poem is its rapid oscillation between tenses and times; it jumps between the stages of lust almost uncontrollably, and in so doing creates a composite picture of its subject from all sides--each tinged by the shameful "hell" the speaker now occupies.<br /> <br />Another important device, and a rare one in the sonnets, is the poem's impersonal tone. The speaker never says outright that he is writing about his own experience; instead, he presents the poem as an impersonal description, a catalogue of the kinds of experience offered by lust. But the ferocity of his description belies his real, expressive purpose, which is to rue his own recent surrender to lustful desire.<br />
Analysis 2 <br />Along with Sonnets 18 ("Shall I compare thee to a summer's day?") and 130 ("My mistress' eyes are nothing like the sun"), this sonnet is one of the most famous poems in the entire sequence. The definition of love that it provides is among the most often quoted and anthologized in the poetic canon. Essentially, this sonnet presents the extreme ideal of romantic love: it never changes, it never fades, it outlasts death and admits no flaw. What is more, it insists that this ideal is the only love that can be called "true”. The basic division of this poem's argument into the various parts of the sonnet form is extremely simple: the first quatrain says what love is not, the second quatrain says what it is, the third quatrain says more specifically what it is, and the couplet announces the speaker's certainty. What gives this poem its rhetorical and emotional power is not its complexity; rather, it is the force of its linguistic and emotional conviction.<br /> <br />The language is not remarkable for its imagery or metaphoric range. In fact, its imagery, particularly in the third quatrain, is rather standard within the sonnets, and its major metaphor is hardly startling in its originality. But the language is extraordinary in that it frames its discussion of the passion of love within a very restrained, very intensely disciplined rhetorical structure. With a masterful control of rhythm and variation of tone the speaker makes an almost legalistic argument for the eternal passion of love, and the result is that the passion seems stronger and more urgent for the restraint in the speaker's tone.<br />
"No one can make us love love as much as Shakespeare, and no one can make us despair of it as effectively as he does."<br />How far do you agree with this statement based on your knowledge so far? <br />You should consider his poetry as well as his plays. <br />
Who am I?<br />I am the father of Othello’s wife. I am an important man and people look up to me. I am disheartened at the fact that my daughter lied to me about her marriage; I am concerned that she may do it again.<br />
Who am I?<br />I am an angry and jealous man and am annoyed that I have been overlooked. I am also jealous of Othello and Desdemona’s relationship. I cannot sit by and watch whilst people take what I believe is rightfully mine…<br />
Who am I?<br />I am a forceful and determined character, even though my gender and position suggests I should not be. I am in love with Othello and will do anything to be with him. I will not listen to anyone who says I should not be with him…<br />
Who am I?<br />I am a competent and respected soldier although I have had to fight doubly hard to get where I am today. I am in love with Desdemona and want to be with her every minute of the day. I can get jealous, especially when I see her with other men.<br />
Who am I?<br />I am Othello’s friend and second in command. However, some people believe I should not be there. I am used by Iago to further his career and as a pawn in his game with Othello.<br />
What happens in Act one, scene one of the play?<br />The opening scene takes place in a street in Venice, at night. Iago and Roderigo enter and are deep in conversation. Roderigo is annoyed at hearing the news that Othello and Desdmona have married; he paid Iago to promote a marriage between himself and Desdemona and feels that Iago has not worked hard enough to make this happen. Iago attempt to restore faith by explaining that he hates Othello himself, particularly because Iago has been passed over for promotion in favour of Othello. Othello has made Michael Cassio his second in command. Iago believes that Cassio is a lesser man than he is. <br />Iago urges Roderigo to tell Brabantio about the marriage between Othello and his daughter, Desdemona. However, Brabantio is less than pleased to see Roderigo as he has already told Roderigo that he is not a good match for Desdemona. Roderigo perseveres and explains that the marriage has taken place – Brabantio finds evidence when he checks to see if Desdemona is still in her bed. <br />Iago takes the opportunity to leave and tells Roderigo that he must return to Othello. Brabantio reappears, annoyed that he has been duped by his daughter. The scene ends with his determining to find his daughter.<br />
Decide whether these statements are true or false. If they are true then you must find evidence to support the point.<br />Iago supports Othello in the opening of the play.<br />Roderigo is a significant character. <br />Roderigo is angry as he wants to become more important in the Venetian army and Iago promised to help him. <br />Roderigo uses ‘racist’ slurs against Othello. <br />Iago uses powerful and determined language against Othello. <br />Brabantio is angry as the two men have interrupted an important meeting. <br />Brabantio discovers that his daughter has been lying by contacting a close friend.<br />At the end of the scene, Iago sends Roderigo to kill Othello.<br />
‘I know my price, I am worth no worse a place.<br />But he, as loving his own pride and purposes,<br />Evades them with bombast circumstance,<br />Horribly stuffed with epithets of war<br />And in conclusion,<br />Non-suits my mediators. For ‘Certes’ says he,<br />‘I have already chosen my officer.’<br />And what was he?<br />Forsooth, a great arithmetician, a Florentine<br />A fellow almost damned in a fair wife,<br />That never set a squadron in the field<br />Nor the division of battle knows <br />More than a spinster, unless the bookish theoric…<br />The following extract comes from the very beginning of the play. Iago is explaining why he does not like Othello.<br /><ul><li>What impression do we get of Othello from this extract?
What does this speech tell us about the character of Iago?
Why do you think Shakespeare begins the play in this way?
Which one of our key themes have been established in this opening?</li></li></ul><li>We have begun to explore Act one, scene one and think about the way in which Shakespeare introduced us to the play, characters and themes of the play. <br />Think back to what you have learned…<br /><ul><li>Is the opening of the play effective?
Why do you think Shakespeare does not use Othello’s name in the opening of the play?
Why do you think Shakespeare does not introduce us to Desdemona in the opening of the play?
Why is it important that we dislike Iago from the very beginning of the play?
What do you think Shakespeare was trying to achieve with the opening of the play?</li></li></ul><li>Group task<br />You will be given an brief extract from Act one, scene one. In your groups, you will need to read and analyse the extract carefully, thinking about the following questions…<br /><ul><li>What is happening in your extract? Why is your extract important?
How does Shakespeare use language to create an effect? What words are particularly important?
How does this extract contribute towards the overall effect of the scene? What does it add to the development of character, plot and theme.</li></ul>Be prepared to feedback your points to the rest of the group. <br />
IAGO O, sir, content you; I follow him to serve my turn upon him: We cannot all be masters, nor all masters Cannot be truly follow'd. You shall mark Many a duteous and knee-crooking knave, That, doting on his own obsequious bondage, Wears out his time, much like his master's ass, For nought but provender, and when he's old, cashier'd: Whip me such honest knaves. Others there are Who, trimm'd in forms and visages of duty, Keep yet their hearts attending on themselves, And, throwing but shows of service on their lords, Do well thrive by them and when they have lined their coats Do themselves homage: these fellows have some soul; And such a one do I profess myself. <br />
IAGO Call up her father, Rouse him: make after him, poison his delight, Proclaim him in the streets; incense her kinsmen, And, though he in a fertile climate dwell, Plague him with flies: though that his joy be joy, Yet throw such changes of vexation on't, As it may lose some colour. <br />…<br />Do, with like timorous accent and dire yell As when, by night and negligence, the fire Is spied in populous cities. <br />
RODERIGO Sir, I will answer any thing. But, I beseech you, If't be your pleasure and most wise consent, As partly I find it is, that your fair daughter, At this odd-even and dull watch o' the night, Transported, with no worse nor better guard But with a knave of common hire, a gondolier, To the gross clasps of a lascivious Moor-- If this be known to you and your allowance, We then have done you bold and saucy wrongs; But if you know not this, my manners tell me We have your wrong rebuke. Do not believe That, from the sense of all civility, I thus would play and trifle with your reverence: Your daughter, if you have not given her leave, I say again, hath made a gross revolt; Tying her duty, beauty, wit and fortunes In an extravagant and wheeling stranger Of here and every where. Straight satisfy yourself: If she be in her chamber or your house, Let loose on me the justice of the state For thus deluding you. <br />
IAGO Farewell; for I must leave you: It seems not meet, nor wholesome to my place, To be produced--as, if I stay, I shall-- Against the Moor: for, I do know, the state, However this may gall him with some cheque, Cannot with safety cast him, for he's embark'd With such loud reason to the Cyprus wars, Which even now stand in act, that, for their souls, Another of his fathom they have none, To lead their business: in which regard, Though I do hate him as I do hell-pains. Yet, for necessity of present life, I must show out a flag and sign of love, Which is indeed but sign. That you shall surely find him, Lead to the Sagittary the raised search; And there will I be with him. So, farewell. <br />
BRABANTIO It is too true an evil: gone she is; And what's to come of my despised time Is nought but bitterness. Now, Roderigo, 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: Raise all my kindred. Are they married, think you? <br />…<br />O heaven! How got she out? O treason of the blood! Fathers, from hence trust not your daughters' minds By what you see them act. Is there not charms By which the property of youth and maidhood May be abused? Have you not read, Roderigo, Of some such thing? <br />
And to finish the lesson…<br />Learning to articulate your opinions about characters is an essential part of success at A2 Literature.<br />Think about the three key characters we have been discussing this lesson – Iago, Roderigo and Brabantio – what three words would you use to describe them. Based on what you have learned this lesson, what evidence would you have to support your choices. <br />Be prepared to feedback to the rest of the group.<br />
As you are waiting for the lesson to begin…<br />Look at the following quotes and decide whether they are spoken by Othello, Iago or Brabantio. Explain your reasons.<br /><ul><li>‘I lack iniquity (wickedness)/ Sometimes to do me service.’
‘Nay, but he prated,/ And spoke such scurvy and provoking terms/ Against your honour,/ That, with the little godliness I have,/ I did forbear him.’
‘My parts, my title, and my perfect soul/ Shall manifest me rightly.’
‘Damn’d as thou art, thou hast enchanted her,’
‘Hold your hands…Were it my cue to fight, I should have known it/ Without a prompter.’</li></ul>Iago<br />Iago<br />Othello<br />Brabantio<br />Othello<br />
Lesson Objectives<br />To read, understand and analyse Act one, scene two<br />To analyse the treatment of Othello and how this shapes our understanding of his character.<br />To begin to consider how the theme of love has been presented in the play so far.<br />
What happens in Act one, scene two of the play?<br />Iago arrives at Othello’s lodgings, where he warns the general that Brabantio will not hesitate to attempt to force a divorce between Othello and Desdemona. Othello sees a party of men approaching, and Iago, thinking that Brabantio and his followers have arrived, counsels Othello to retreat indoors. Othello stands his ground, but the party turns out to be Cassio and officers from the Venetian court. They bring Othello the message that he is wanted by the duke of Venice about a matter concerning Cyprus, an island in the Mediterranean Sea controlled by Venice. <br />As Cassio and his men prepare to leave, Iago mentions that Othello is married, but before he can say any more, Brabantio, Roderigo, and Brabantio’s men arrive to accost Othello. Brabantio orders his men to attack and subdue Othello. A struggle between Brabantio’s and Othello’s followers seems imminent, but Othello brings the confrontation to a halt by calmly and authoritatively telling both sides to put up their swords. Hearing that the duke has summoned Othello to the court, Barbantio decides to bring his cause before the duke himself. <br />
Iago creates a very different impression of Othello in Act one, scene one to the actual man we meet in scene two. Complete the following table, considering how your view of Othello changes with each scene.<br /><ul><li> Why do you think Shakespeare creates one impression of Othello in Scene 1 and a different one when he actually appears in Scene 2?
How does this influence your view of Iago and his relationship with Othello?
At what point in scene two does the audience realise Othello is not the pompous man previously described?</li></li></ul><li>What different manifestations of love have been presented in the play so far? Justify your response with evidence from Act One, scene one and Act One, scene two.<br />
To end the lesson …<br />Othello has been described as “a man of mystery, exoticism and intense feeling, trustful, open, passionate but self-controlled: so noble...”<br />To what extent do you feel we have already witnessed this of his character? Support your response with examples from the text.<br />
To begin the lesson...<br />Summarise the events of Act One, Scene Three in five bullet points.<br />
Act One, Scene Three<br />The duke’s meeting with his senators about the imminent Turkish invasion of Cyprus takes an unexpected turn when a sailor arrives and announces that the Turks seem to have turned toward Rhodes, another island controlled by Venice. One of the senators guesses that the Turks’ change of course is intended to mislead the Venetians, because Cyprus is more important to the Turks and far more vulnerable than Rhodes. This guess proves to be correct, as another messenger arrives to report that the Turks have joined with more forces and are heading back toward Cyprus.<br />This military meeting is interrupted by the arrival of Brabanzio, Othello, Cassio, Iago, Roderigo, and officers. Brabanzio demands that all state business be put aside to address his own grievance—his daughter has been stolen from him by spells and potions purchased from charlatans. The duke is initially eager to take Brabanzio’s side, but he becomes more skeptical when he learns that Othello is the man accused. The duke gives Othello the chance to speak for himself. Othello admits that he married Desdemona, but he denies having used magic to woo her and claims that Desdemona will support his story. He explains that Brabanzio frequently invited him to his house and questioned him about his remarkable life story, full of harrowing battles, travels outside the civilized world, and dramatic reversals of fortune. Desdemona overheard parts of the story and found a convenient time to ask Othello to retell it to her. Desdemona was moved to love Othello by his story.<br /> <br />The duke is persuaded by Othello’s tale, dismissing Brabanzio’s claim by remarking that the story probably would win his own daughter. Desdemona enters, and Brabanzio asks her to tell those present to whom she owes the most obedience. Brabanzio clearly expects her to say her father. Desdemona, however, confirms that she married Othello of her own free will and that, like her own mother before her, she must shift her primary loyalty from father to husband. Brabanzio reluctantly resigns himself to her decision and allows the court to return to state affairs.<br /> <br />The duke decides that Othello must go to Cyprus to defend the island from the Turks. Othello is willing and ready to go, and he asks that appropriate accommodations be provided for his wife. The duke suggests that she stay with her father, but neither Desdemona nor Brabanzio nor Othello will accept this, and Desdemona asks to be allowed to go with Othello. The couple then leaves to prepare for the night’s voyage.<br /> <br />The stage is cleared, leaving only Roderigo and Iago. Once again, Roderigo feels that his hopes of winning Desdemona have been dashed, but Iago insists that all will be well. Iago mocks Roderigo for threatening to drown himself, and Roderigo protests that he can’t help being tormented by love. Iago contradicts him, asserting that people can choose at will what they want to be. “Put but money in thy purse,” Iago tells Roderigo repeatedly in the paragraph that spans lines 329–351, urging him to follow him to Cyprus. Iago promises to work everything out from there. When Roderigo leaves, Iago delivers his first soliloquy, declaring his hatred for Othello and his suspicion that Othello has slept with his wife, Emilia. He lays out his plan to cheat Roderigo out of his money, to convince Othello that Cassio has slept with Desdemona, and to use Othello’s honest and unsuspecting nature to bring him to his demise.<br />
BRABANTIO : A maiden never bold; Of spirit so still and quiet, that her motion Blush'd at herself; and she, in spite of nature, Of years, of country, credit, every thing, To fall in love with what she fear'd to look on! It is a judgment maim'd and most imperfect That will confess perfection so could err Against all rules of nature, and must be driven To find out practises of cunning hell, Why this should be. I therefore vouch again That with some mixtures powerful o'er the blood, Or with some dram conjured to this effect, He wrought upon her. <br />OTHELLO : Her father loved me; oft invited me; Still question'd me the story of my life, From year to year, the battles, sieges, fortunes, That I have passed. I ran it through, even from my boyish days, To the very moment that he bade me tell it; Wherein I spake of most disastrous chances, Of moving accidents by flood and field Of hair-breadth scapes i' the imminent deadly breach, Of being taken by the insolent foe And sold to slavery, of my redemption thence And portance in my travels' history: Wherein of antres vast and deserts idle, Rough quarries, rocks and hills whose heads touch heaven It was my hint to speak,--such was the process; And of the Cannibals that each other eat, The Anthropophagi and men whose heads Do grow beneath their shoulders. This to hear Would Desdemona seriously incline: But still the house-affairs would draw her thence: Which ever as she could with haste dispatch, She'ld come again, and with a greedy ear Devour up my discourse: which I observing, Took once a pliant hour, and found good means To draw from her a prayer of earnest heart That I would all my pilgrimage dilate, Whereof by parcels she had something heard, But not intentively: I did consent, And often did beguile her of her tears, When I did speak of some distressful stroke That my youth suffer'd. My story being done, She gave me for my pains a world of sighs: She swore, in faith, twas strange, 'twas passing strange, 'Twas pitiful, 'twas wondrous pitiful: She wish'd she had not heard it, yet she wish'd That heaven had made her such a man: she thank'd me, And bade me, if I had a friend that loved her, I should but teach him how to tell my story. And that would woo her. Upon this hint I spake: She loved me for the dangers I had pass'd, And I loved her that she did pity them. This only is the witchcraft I have used: Here comes the lady; let her witness it. <br />Branbantio and Othello convey different messages about the development of Othello and Desdemona’s relationship.<br /><ul><li>What are the key differences in their stories?
Which one do you feel presents the most convincing argument about the relationship? Justify your decision.
Which one of the two men do you feel loves Desdemona the most? Explain your decision.</li></li></ul><li>Different interpretations can be made about Othello and Desdemona’s relationship from the information we are given in Act One, Scene Three. For each of the alternative interpretations below, in pairs you must find evidence from the scene to verify the point - then look closely at language or structure and explain how this supports the statement. <br /><ul><li>Desdemona and Othello clearly have a strong affection for each other.
Desdemona was seduced by Othello’s story-telling powers.
Othello and Desdemona are not really in love, but instead fell in love with an idea or image about each other.
Othello is inexperienced in love.</li></li></ul><li>The back drop of this scene is a discussion about the war between the Turks and Venice. Why do you think Shakespeare includes this additional plot line in the play? <br />
As you are waiting for the lesson to begin, unscramble these key words...<br />rtkdu<br />natssoer<br />loyjaseu<br />amtridac iyorn<br />lolohte<br />icvnee<br />ddmaseean<br />arigrmea<br />
As you are waiting for the lesson to begin, unscramble these key words...<br />Turks<br />Senators<br />Jealousy<br />Dramatic irony<br />Othello<br />Venice<br />Desdemona<br />Marriage<br />
Two key characters in Act One, Scene Three are Desdemona and Iago: we meet Desdemona for the first time and we witness Iago’s first soliloquy.<br />Half of the class will be examining Iago’s character and half will be looking at Desdemona. <br /><ul><li>With the people next to you, you will need to firstly look through the speeches made by your character and make a judgement about them and their involvement in the scene.
You must then create three questions about your character that you will set for the other half of the room.
Your questions must encourage close analysis of language or structure.
You must be able to answer your own questions to ensure that when you set it you know if it has been answered correctly! </li></ul>Example Questions <br />Why does Shakespeare change Iago’s speech from poetic verse to prose?<br />Brabantio warns Othello about Desdemona’s possible deception – do you think Shakespeare presents Desdemona as a honest or deceptive character? Justify your response.<br />
Select one word from the list below to describe Iago and one to describe Desdemona. Be prepared to explain your choice...<br />
How does Shakespeare introduce the theme of jealous love in the first Act of Othello?<br />
Othelloby William Shakespeare<br />Year 13<br />
Summer Homework!How does Shakespeare introduce the theme of jealous love in the first Act of Othello?<br />
Lesson Objectives<br />To recap our understanding of Act One.<br />To investigate Othello and Desdemona’s relationship – and Iago’s involvement. <br />
Othello – What can you remember?<br /><ul><li>Who is Desdedmona’s father?
What one word would you use to describe Othello?
What one word would you use to describe Desdemona?</li></li></ul><li>Othello – What happens in Act Two, Scene One?<br />On the shores of Cyprus, Montano, the island’s governor, watches a storm with two gentlemen. Just as Montano says that the Turkish fleet of ships could not survive the storm, a third gentlemen comes to confirm his prediction: as his ship travelled from Venice, Cassio witnessed that the Turks lost most of their fleet in the tempest. It is still uncertain whether Othello’s ship has been able to survive the storm. Hope lifts as voices offstage announce the sighting of a sail offshore, but the new ship turns out to be carrying Iago, Emilia, Desdemona, and Roderigo. Desdemona disembarks, and no sooner does Cassio tell her that Othello has yet to arrive than a friendly shot announces the arrival of a third ship. While the company waits for the ship, Cassio and Desdemona tease Emilia about being a chatterbox, but Iago quickly takes the opportunity to criticize women in general as deceptive and hypocritical, saying they are lazy in all matters except sex: “You rise to play and go to bed to work” (II.i.118). Desdemona plays along, laughing as Iago belittles women, whether beautiful or ugly, intelligent or stupid, as equally despicable. Cassio takes Desdemona away to speak with her privately about Othello’s arrival. Iago notices that Cassio takes Desdemona’s hand as he talks to her, and, in an aside, Iago plots to use Cassio’s hand-holding to frame him so that he loses his newly gained promotion to lieutenant. “With as little a web as this I will ensnare as great a fly as Cassio,” he asserts (II.i.169).<br />Othello arrives safely and greets Desdemona, expressing his devotion to her and giving her a kiss. He then thanks the Cypriots for their welcome and hospitality, and orders Iago to unload the ship. All but Roderigo and Iago head to the castle to celebrate the drowning of the Turks. Iago tells the despondent Roderigo that Desdemona will soon grow tired of being with Othello and will long for a more well-mannered and handsome man. But, Iago continues, the obvious first choice for Desdemona will be Cassio, whom Iago characterizes over and over again as a “knave” (II.i.231–239). Roderigo tries to argue that Cassio was merely being polite by taking Desdemona’s hand, but Iago convinces him of Cassio’s ill intentions and convinces Roderigo to start a quarrel with Cassio that evening. He posits that the uproar the quarrel will cause in the still tense city will make Cassio fall out of favour with Othello. Left alone onstage again, Iago explains his actions to the audience in a soliloquy. He secretly lusts after Desdemona, partially because he suspects that Othello has slept with Emilia, and he wants to get even with the Moor “wife for wife” (II.i.286). But, Iago continues, if he is unable to get his revenge by sleeping with Desdemona, Roderigo’s accusation of Cassio will make Othello suspect his lieutenant of sleeping with his wife and torture Othello to madness.<br />How is love and desire represented in this scene?<br />
Othello and Desdemona are united after their separate journeys to Cyprus through the storm. Read through this extract carefully and then answer the questions that follow. <br />DESDEMONA : My dear Othello! (line 174)<br />OTHELLO : It gives me wonder great as my content To see you here before me. O my soul's joy! If after every tempest come such calms, May the winds blow till they have waken'd death! And let the labouring bark climb hills of seas Olympus-high and duck again as low As hell's from heaven! If it were now to die, 'Twere now to be most happy; for, I fear, My soul hath her content so absolute That not another comfort like to this Succeeds in unknown fate. <br />DESDEMONA : The heavens forbid But that our loves and comforts should increase, Even as our days do grow! <br />OTHELLO : Amen to that, sweet powers! I cannot speak enough of this content; It stops me here; it is too much of joy: And this, and this, the greatest discords be Kissing her That e'er our hearts shall make! <br />IAGO : [Aside] O, you are well tuned now! But I'll set down the pegs that make this music, As honest as I am. <br />OTHELLO : Come, let us to the castle. News, friends; our wars are done, the Turks are drown'd. How does my old acquaintance of this isle? Honey, you shall be well desired in Cyprus; I have found great love amongst them. O my sweet, I prattle out of fashion, and I dote In mine own comforts. I prithee, good Iago, Go to the bay and disembark my coffers: Bring thou the master to the citadel; He is a good one, and his worthiness Does challenge much respect. Come, Desdemona, Once more, well met at Cyprus. (line 204)<br /><ul><li>What effect does setting this scene against the backdrop of a storm have on its meaning?
How does Shakespeare create a sense of foreboding in this scene?
How would you describe Othello and Desdemona’s reunion – and relationship from the evidence in this extract?
What metaphor does Iago use to describe their relationship – and what does he suggest he is going to do?
What are the key differences between Iago and Othello’s characters in this scene?</li></li></ul><li>Othello and Desdemona are united after their separate journeys to Cyprus through the storm. Read through this extract carefully and then answer the questions that follow. <br />DESDEMONA : My dear Othello! (line 174)<br />OTHELLO : It gives me wonder great as my content To see you here before me. O my soul's joy! If after every tempest come such calms, May the winds blow till they have waken'd death! And let the labouring bark climb hills of seas Olympus-high and duck again as low As hell's from heaven! If it were now to die, 'Twere now to be most happy; for, I fear, My soul hath her content so absolute That not another comfort like to this Succeeds in unknown fate. <br />DESDEMONA : The heavens forbid But that our loves and comforts should increase, Even as our days do grow! <br />OTHELLO : Amen to that, sweet powers! I cannot speak enough of this content; It stops me here; it is too much of joy: And this, and this, the greatest discords be Kissing her That e'er our hearts shall make! <br />IAGO : [Aside] O, you are well tuned now! But I'll set down the pegs that make this music, As honest as I am. <br />OTHELLO : Come, let us to the castle. News, friends; our wars are done, the Turks are drown'd. How does my old acquaintance of this isle? Honey, you shall be well desired in Cyprus; I have found great love amongst them. O my sweet, I prattle out of fashion, and I dote In mine own comforts. I prithee, good Iago, Go to the bay and disembark my coffers: Bring thou the master to the citadel; He is a good one, and his worthiness Does challenge much respect. Come, Desdemona, Once more, well met at Cyprus. (line 204)<br />
Othello and Desdemona are united after their separate journeys to Cyprus through the storm. Read through this extract carefully and then answer the questions that follow. <br />What effect does setting this scene against the backdrop of a storm have on its meaning?<br />How does Shakespeare create a sense of foreboding in this scene?<br />How would you describe Othello and Desdemona’s reunion – and relationship from the evidence in this extract?<br />What metaphor does Iago use to describe their relationship – and what does he suggest he is going to do?<br />What are the key differences betweeen Iago and Othello’s characters in this scene?<br />
Iago’s Soliloquy<br />IAGO That Cassio loves her, I do well believe it; That she loves him, 'tis apt and of great credit: The Moor, howbeit that I endure him not, Is of a constant, loving, noble nature, And I dare think he'll prove to Desdemona A most dear husband. Now, I do love her too; Not out of absolute lust, though peradventure I stand accountant for as great a sin, But partly led to diet my revenge, For that I do suspect the lusty Moor Hath leap'd into my seat; the thought whereof Doth, like a poisonous mineral, gnaw my inwards; And nothing can or shall content my soul Till I am even'd with him, wife for wife, Or failing so, yet that I put the Moor At least into a jealousy so strong That judgment cannot cure. Which thing to do, If this poor trash of Venice, whom I trash For his quick hunting, stand the putting on, I'll have our Michael Cassio on the hip, Abuse him to the Moor in the rank garb-- For I fear Cassio with my night-cap too-- Make the Moor thank me, love me and reward me. For making him egregiously an ass And practising upon his peace and quiet Even to madness. 'Tis here, but yet confused: Knavery's plain face is never seen tin used. <br />In this speech Iago talks in detail about love and hate. What important information is relayed to the audience through this soliloquy? <br />
Which character/s would you associate these images with?<br />
Lesson Objectives<br />To investigate the character’s different desires in the play. <br />
Othello – What happens in Act Two, Scene Three?<br />Othello leaves Cassio on guard during the revels, reminding him to practice self-restraint during the celebration. Othello and Desdemona leave to consummate their marriage. Once Othello is gone, Iago enters and joins Cassio on guard. He tells Cassio that he suspects Desdemona to be a temptress, but Cassio maintains that she is modest. Then, despite Cassio’s protestations, Iago persuades Cassio to take a drink and to invite some revelers to join them.<br />Once Cassio leaves to fetch the revelers, Iago tells the audience his plan: Roderigo and three other Cypriots, all of whom are drunk, will join Iago and Cassio on guard duty. Amidst all the drunkards, Iago will lead Cassio into committing an action that will disgrace him. Cassio returns, already drinking, with Montano and his attendants. It is not long before he becomes intoxicated and wanders offstage, assuring his friends that he isn’t drunk. Once Cassio leaves, Iago tells Montano that while Cassio is a wonderful soldier, he fears that Cassio may have too much responsibility for someone with such a serious drinking problem. Roderigo enters, and Iago points him in Cassio’s direction. As Montano continues to suggest that something be said to Othello of Cassio’s drinking problem, Cassio chases Roderigo across the stage, threatening to beat him. Montano steps in to prevent the fight and is attacked by Cassio. Iago orders Roderigo to leave and “cry a mutiny” (II.iii.140). As Montano and others attempt to hold Cassio down, Cassio stabs Montano. An alarm bell is rung, and Othello arrives with armed attendants.<br />Immediately taking control of the situation, Othello demands to know what happened, but both Iago and Cassio claim to have forgotten how the struggle began. Montano insists that he is in too much pain to speak and insists that Iago tell the story. At first Iago feigns reluctance to incriminate Cassio, emphasizing the fact that he was chasing after Roderigo (to whom Iago does not refer by name) when the fight between Cassio and Montano began, and suggesting that the unknown man must have done something to upset Cassio. Othello falls into Iago’s trap, stating that he can tell that Iago softened the story out of honest affection for Cassio. Othello dismisses Cassio from his service.<br />Desdemona has been awakened by the commotion, and Othello leads her back to bed, saying that he will look to Montano’s wound. Iago and Cassio remain behind, and Cassio laments the permanent damage now done to his reputation by a quarrel whose cause he cannot even remember. Iago suggests that Cassio appeal to Desdemona, because she commands Othello’s attention and goodwill. Iago argues that Desdemona’s kindheartedness will prompt her to help Cassio if Cassio entreats her, and that she will persuade Othello to give Cassio back his lieutenantship.<br />When Cassio leaves, Iago jokes about the irony of the fact that his so-called villainy involves counselingCassio to a course of action that would actually help him. He repeats what he told Cassio about Desdemona’s generosity and Othello’s devotion to her. However, as Iago reminds the audience, he does the most evil when he seems to do good. Now that Cassio will be spending time with Desdemona, Iago will find it all the easier to convince Othello that Desdemona is having an affair with Cassio, thus turning Desdemona’s virtue to “pitch” (II.iii.234).<br />Roderigo enters, upset that he has been beaten and angry because Iago has taken all his money and left Roderigo nothing to show for it. Iago counsels him to be patient and not to return to Venice, reminding him that they have to work by their wits. He assures Roderigo that everything is going according to plan. After telling Roderigo to go, Iago finishes telling the audience the plot that is to come: he will convince Emilia to speak to Desdemona on Cassio’s behalf, and he will arrange for Othello to witness Cassio’s suit to Desdemona.<br />
All of the character’s in this scene have a different focus or DESIRE. In groups you will investigate one character’s desires in AII, siii.<br />
Our coursework question is about the destructive nature of desire.Which character’s desires do you think have: A) the most destructive force on themselves?B) on other characters?Justify your responses.<br />
Bell Work: Summarise the events of Act Three, Scene One, Two and Three in 10 or less bullet points.<br />
Lesson Objectives<br />To understand the key events of Act Three, Scene Three.<br />To analyse the character of Desdemona and her role in the scene.<br />
Act Three, Scene Three Focus on Desdemona <br />In this scene Desdemona pleads with Othello to reinstate Cassio which allows Iago to set his plan in motion unbeknownst to the other characters.<br />What you first need to decide is: <br />Why does Desdemona persistently support Cassio’s desire to become Othello’s lieutenant again? <br />What judgements can we make about her intentions and her character?<br />Discuss your ideas and evidence with the people next to you and then write an individual response to this question with evidence and analysis.<br />
Act Three, Scene Three Focus on Desdemona <br />AO1 - Articulate creative, informed and relevant responses to literary texts, using appropriate terminology and concepts, and coherent, accurate written expression<br />AO2 - Demonstrate detailed critical understanding in analysing the ways in which structure, form and language shape meanings in literary texts<br />These are two of the four assessment objectives you will be marked against in this unit. <br />Swap your paragraph with the person next to you and decide if you think your partner’s response addresses all aspects of these objectives and pinpoint where they address them. <br />
Act Three, Scene Three Focus on Desdemona <br />Desdemona believes that because Othello loves her she will be able to talk to him on Cassio’s behalf – however this only triggers Othello’s jealousy which is encouraged by Iago. In Act Three, Scene Three both Desdemona and Iago exercise their powers of persuasion – however they employ very different tactics.<br />Look carefully at the scene and decide why Iago’s persuasive techniques are successful and why Desdemona is only successful at supporting Iago’s plan.<br />
Act Three, Scene Three Focus on Desdemona <br />Othello: Excellent wretch! Perdition catch my soul<br />But I do love thee! And when I love then not<br />Chaos is come again (lines 90 – 92)<br />These lines suggest that Othello will be utterly lost if his love for Desdemona is destroyed. Discuss: if he loves Desdemona so much – why does he give into feelings of doubt and jealousy so swiftly?<br />
Bellwork<br />What is dramatic irony and where have we seen it so far in the play?<br />
Lesson Objectives<br />To examine the use of dramatic irony in A3, s3.<br />To begin to examine Othello’s decline.<br />
Dramatic Irony<br />A feature of many plays: it occurs when the development of the plot allows the audience to possess more information about what is happening than some of the characters themselves have. Iago is the source of much of the dramatic irony in Othello, informing the audience of his intentions. Characters may also speak in a dramatically ironic way, saying something that points to events to come without understanding the significance of their words. <br />
Dramatic Irony<br />The progress of Act III, scene 3 is painful to behold. Everything proceeds exactly as Iago wishes. The audience knows from the outset that Desdemona will doom herself with every utterance. <br />With a partner re-read the scene and look for and annotate all the examples of dramatic irony. <br />
Othello: Character Focus <br />The inclusion of dramatic irony in the scene creates a sense of foreboding in the play. <br />In Act III, scene 3 this feeling is increased by Othello’s reactions to the events in the scene.<br />Look back over Othello’s speeches in the scene and examine them for evidence about why we now know there is no way back for him from this point onwards.<br />
Final Task<br />How do the events of Act Three, Scene Three contribute to the theme – the destructive nature of desire?<br />
As you are waiting for the lesson to begin…<br />Iago<br />Othello<br />Bianca<br />Consider your knowledge of the above characters. In your opinion, who is the odd one out? Why? What links could you make between the characters?<br />
Lesson Objectives<br />To analyse language <br /> To consider how the development of Othello<br />
Task One<br />At the start of Act III Scene iv, we see Desdemona and Emilia discussing the missing handkerchief, with Desdemona feeling guilty for losing it. Desdemona feels blessed that Othello is “true of mind”.<br />Consider the implications of Desdemona’s words at this point. How would the audience be feeling about her at this moment?<br />How does Othello contradict this statement as soon as he enters?<br />What does he imply about Desdemona in his first few lines to her?<br />Why do you think he acts as though everything is normal rather than ask her for the truth?<br />
Othello – What happens in Act Three, Scene Four?<br />Desdemona orders the clown to find Cassio and bring him the message that she has made her suit to Othello. As the clown departs, Desdemona wonders to Emilia where her handkerchief might be. Othello enters and tells Desdemona to give him her hand. She does so, and he chastises her for her hand’s moistness, which suggests sexual promiscuity. He then asks her to lend him her handkerchief. When Desdemona cannot produce the handkerchief he wants to see, Othello explains the handkerchief’s history. An Egyptian sorceress gave it to his mother and told her that it would make her desirable and keep Othello’s father loyal, but if she lost it or gave it away, Othello’s father would leave her. Othello’s mother gave him the magic handkerchief on her deathbed, instructing him to give it to the woman he desired to marry. Desdemona is unsettled by the story and says that she has the handkerchief, but not with her. Othello does not believe her. As he accuses her, demanding “The handkerchief!” with increasing vehemence, she entreats for Cassio as a way of changing the subject.<br />After Othello storms off, Emilia laments the fickleness of men. Cassio and Iago enter, and Cassio immediately continues with his suit to Desdemona for help. Desdemona tells Cassio that his timing is unfortunate, as Othello is in a bad humor, and Iago promises to go soothe his master. Emilia speculates that Othello is jealous, but Desdemona maintains her conviction that Othello is upset by some political matter. She tells Cassio to wait while she goes to find Othello and bring him to talk with his former lieutenant.<br />While Cassio waits, Bianca, a prostitute, enters. She reprimands him for not visiting her more frequently, and he apologizes, saying that he is under stress. He asks her to copy the embroidery of a handkerchief he recently found in his room onto another handkerchief. Bianca accuses him of making her copy the embroidery of a love gift from some other woman, but Cassio tells her she is being silly. They make a plan to meet later that evening.<br />
OTHELLOGive me your hand: this hand is moist, my lady.DESDEMONAIt yet hath felt no age nor known no sorrow.OTHELLOThis argues fruitfulness and liberal heart:Hot, hot, and moist: this hand of yours requiresA sequester from liberty, fasting and prayer,Much castigation, exercise devout;For here's a young and sweating devil here,That commonly rebels. 'Tis a good hand,A frank one.DESDEMONAYou may, indeed, say so;For 'twas that hand that gave away my heart.OTHELLOA liberal hand: the hearts of old gave hands;But our new heraldry is hands, not hearts.DESDEMONAI cannot speak of this. Come now, your promise.OTHELLOWhat promise, chuck?DESDEMONAI have sent to bid Cassio come speak with you.OTHELLOI have a salt and sorry rheum offends me;Lend me thy handkerchief.DESDEMONAHere, my lord.DESDEMONAI have sent to bid Cassio come speak with you.OTHELLOI have a salt and sorry rheum offends me;Lend me thy handkerchief. <br />DESDEMONAHere, my lord.OTHELLOThat which I gave you. <br />DESDEMONAI have it not about me.OTHELLONot?DESDEMONANo, indeed, my lord.<br />OTHELLOThat is a fault.That handkerchiefDid an Egyptian to my mother give;She was a charmer, and could almost readThe thoughts of people: she told her, whileshe kept it,<br /> 'Twould make her amiable and subdue my father Entirely to her love, but if she lost itOr made gift of it, my father's eyeShould hold her loathed and his spirits should huntAfter new fancies: she, dying, gave it me;And bid me, when my fate would have me wive,To give it her. I did so: and take heed on't;Make it a darling like your precious eye;To lose't or give't away were such perditionAs nothing else could match.DESDEMONAIs't possible?OTHELLO'Tis true: there's magic in the web of it:A sibyl, that had number'd in the worldThe sun to course two hundred compasses,In her prophetic fury sew'd the work;The worms were hallow'd that did breed the silk;And it was dyed in mummy which the skilfulConserved of maidens' hearts.<br />DESDEMONAIndeed! is't true?OTHELLOMost veritable; therefore look to't well.DESDEMONAThen would to God that I had never seen't!OTHELLOHa! wherefore?DESDEMONAWhy do you speak so startingly and rash?OTHELLOIs't lost? is't gone? speak, is it outo' the way?DESDEMONAHeaven bless us!OTHELLOSay you?DESDEMONAIt is not lost; but what an if it were?OTHELLOHow!DESDEMONAI say, it is not lost.OTHELLOFetch't, let me see't.<br />In groups, closely analyse the above section between Othello and Desdemona. (line 32 – 80)<br /><ul><li> Analyse the significance of the language used by Othello. What does this shows us about his character and how does it develop throughout the section.
Consider the story he tells Desdemona regarding the handkerchief. What is the effect of this story? Why do you think he chooses to tell Desdemona the story now, rather than when he gave her the handkerchief?
How do you think the audience would respond to Othello at this point?</li></li></ul><li>Discussion point …<br />Act Three portrays Othello in a new light to the honourable Moor we have seen previously.<br />Do you consider him at this point to be a victim of Iago or not?<br />How do you feel the opinion of the audience may have changed given his plans for Cassio and Desdemona?<br />
To end the lesson …<br />Is Iago a character to be hated or enjoyed? <br />Explain your reasons.<br />
Which of the following images do you think best represents Othello at this point in the play? What reasons do you have for your choice?<br />What aspects of Othello’s character does each image represent?<br />
In groups of three (one Othello, one Iago and one director) you must re-read (and perform!) lines 1 – 46 of Act Four, Scene One: therefore you must pay close attention to the stage directions. (TIME: 12 minutes)<br />One group will be performing their lines to the rest of the class. <br />
Lesson Objectives<br />To analyse the start of Act IV, Scene i.<br /> To consider the vulnerability of characters.<br />
Othello – What happens in Act Four, Scene One?<br />Othello and Iago enter in mid-conversation. Iago goads Othello by arguing that it is no crime for a woman to be naked with a man, if nothing happens. Iago then remarks that if he were to give his wife a handkerchief, it would be hers to do as she wished with it. These persistent insinuations of Desdemona’s unfaithfulness work Othello into an incoherent frenzy. He focuses obsessively on the handkerchief and keeps pumping Iago for information about Cassio’s comments to Iago. Finally, Iago says that Cassio has told him he has lain with Desdemona, and Othello “[f]alls down in a trance” (IV.i.41 stage direction). <br />Cassio enters, and Iago mentions that Othello has fallen into his second fit of epilepsy in two days. He warns Cassio to stay out of the way but tells him that he would like to speak once Othello has gone. Othello comes out of his trance, and Iago explains that Cassio stopped by and that he has arranged to speak with the ex-lieutenant. Iago orders Othello to hide nearby and observe Cassio’s face during their conversation. Iago explains that he will make Cassio retell the story of where, when, how, and how often he has slept with Desdemona, and when he intends to do so again. When Othello withdraws, Iago informs the audience of his actual intention. He will joke with Cassio about the prostitute Bianca, so that Cassio will laugh as he tells the story of Bianca’s pursuit of him. Othello will be driven mad, thinking that Cassio is joking with Iago about Desdemona.<br />The plan works: Cassio laughs uproariously as he tells Iago the details of Bianca’s love for him, and even makes gestures in an attempt to depict her sexual advances. Just as Cassio says that he no longer wishes to see Bianca, she herself enters with the handkerchief and again accuses Cassio of giving her a love token given to him by another woman.<br />Bianca tells Cassio that if he doesn’t show up for supper with her that evening, he will never be welcome to come back again. Othello has recognized his handkerchief and, coming out of hiding when Cassio and Bianca are gone, wonders how he should murder his former lieutenant. Othello goes on to lament his hardheartedness and love for Desdemona, but Iago reminds him of his purpose. Othello has trouble reconciling his wife’s delicacy, class, beauty, and allure with her adulterous actions. He suggests that he will poison his wife, but Iago advises him to strangle her in the bed that she contaminated through her infidelity. Iago also promises to arrange Cassio’s death.<br />Desdemona enters with Lodovico, who has come from Venice with a message from the duke. Lodovico irritates Othello by inquiring about Cassio, and Desdemona irritates Othello by answering Lodovico’s inquiries. The contents of the letter also upset Othello—he has been called back to Venice, with orders to leave Cassio as his replacement in Cyprus. When Desdemona hears the news that she will be leaving Cyprus, she expresses her happiness, whereupon Othello strikes her. Lodovico is horrified by Othello’s loss of self-control, and asks Othello to call back Desdemona, who has left the stage. Othello does so, only to accuse her of being a false and promiscuous woman. He tells Lodovico that he will obey the duke’s orders, commands Desdemona to leave, and storms off. Lodovico cannot believe that the Othello he has just seen is the same self-controlled man he once knew. He wonders whether Othello is mad, but Iago refuses to answer Lodovico’s questions, telling him that he must see for himself.<br />
During the course of Act IV Scene I, both Othello and Desdemona are vulnerable as a result of Othello’s reactions.<br />How far can Othello’s reactions be seen as reasonable?<br />How does this alter the way you view him?<br />Consider when Othello was written. Does this change your views in any way?<br />Does Othello’s reactions change the way the audience respond to Iago?<br />
Read the section of the scene, from lines 1-94. <br />Iago preys on Othello’s weaknesses and vulnerable spots in order to manipulate him. How is he able to do this so effectively?<br />In your response, you may want to consider: <br />The language Iago uses.<br />The images Iago plants in Othello’s mind.<br />Othello’s language<br />The structure of Othello’s responses.<br />
Finally<br />Why does Othello allow himself to be manipulated by Iago, thus considering Iago to be more trustworthy than Desdemona?<br />How has Othello’s conception of himself been challenged in this scene?<br />
As you are waiting for the lesson to begin…<br /><ul><li>IETBTR
MURDER</li></ul>The words above relate to elements of Act IV, Scene i. Unscramble them and then decide how, or who, they relate to<br />
To start …<br />Upon Lodovico’s arrival from Venice, Desdemona comments that he “shall make all well.” line 214 <br /> What is the impact of his arrival?<br /> Why do you think Desdemona feels this way? <br /> Is her hope reinforced or shattered throughout the rest of the scene?<br />
Analysis of Key QuotationsAct Four, Scene One<br />You firstly must locate the quotations below and who is saying them in the scene and then must analyse its importance. How could we use these in an essay based on the destructive nature of desire?<br />“I marry her? What! A customer! I Prithee, bear some charity to my wit. Do not think it so unwholesome. Ha, ha, ha!”<br />“I have not deserved this”<br />“Sir, she can turn, and turn and yet go on, / And turn again”<br />“I obey the mandate, / And will return to Venice... Cassio shall have my place”<br />“Is this the noble Moor whom our full senate / Call all-in-all sufficient? Is this the nature / Whom passion could not shake? Whose solid virtue / Th shot of accident nor dart of chance / Could neither graze nor pierce?”<br />
Analysis of Key QuotationsAct Four, Scene One<br />You firstly must locate the quotations below and who is saying them in the scene and then must analyse its importance. How could we use these in an essay based on the destructive nature of desire?<br />“I marry her? What! A customer! I Prithee, bear some charity to my wit. Do not think it so unwholesome. Ha, ha, ha!” (Cassio 117-118)<br />“I have not deserved this” (Desdemona 231)<br />“Sir, she can turn, and turn and yet go on, / And turn again” (Othello 244)<br />“I obey the mandate, / And will return to Venice... Cassio shall have my place” (Othello 250 – 252)<br />“Is this the noble Moor whom our full senate / Call all-in-all sufficient? Is this the nature / Whom passion could not shake? Whose solid virtue / Th shot of accident nor dart of chance / Could neither graze nor pierce?” (Lodovico 255-9)<br />
Group Task<br />In groups, you will be developing questions to analyse Act IV, Scene i in greater detail, and with reference to three of the Assessment Objectives.<br /><ul><li> In your groups, consider areas of this scene that we have not yet discussed in detail.
You must then create three questions that require answers relating to the different Assessment Objectives. (One question per AO).
You must be able to answer your own questions to ensure that when you set it you know if it has been answered correctly! </li></ul>AO1 - Articulate creative, informed and relevant responses to literary texts, using appropriate terminology and concepts, and coherent, accurate written expression<br />AO2 - Demonstrate detailed critical understanding in analysing the ways in which structure, form and language shape meanings in literary texts<br />AO4 - Demonstrate understanding of the significance and influence of the contexts in which literary texts are written and received.<br />
To finish the lesson…<br />Act IV opens in an alarming way. The audience becomes increasingly aware of the downward spiral Othello is on. Using the table above, write down three things you have learned about Othello this lesson, two things you want to find out him and one prediction as to what might happen for him. <br />
Starter<br />Consider the characters below. Think of one word to describe each character. Why have you chosen this word? <br />Desdemona<br />Othello<br />Iago<br />
As you are waiting for the lesson to begin consider which of the characters below do you enjoy the most in the play and why...<br />Desdemona<br />Othello<br />Iago<br />
To end the lesson…<br />Now we have considered different ideas about these characters – pick alternative words you would use to describe them.<br />Desdemona<br />Othello<br />Iago<br />
Othello – What happens in Act Four, Scene Two?<br />Othello interrogates Emilia about Desdemona’s behavior, but Emilia insists that Desdemona has done nothing suspicious. Othello tells Emilia to summon Desdemona, implying while Emilia is gone that she is a “bawd,” or female pimp (IV.ii.21). When Emilia returns with Desdemona, Othello sends Emilia to guard the door. Alone with Desdemona, Othello weeps and proclaims that he could have borne any affliction other than the pollution of the “fountain” from which his future children are to flow (IV.ii.61). When Desdemona fervently denies being unfaithful, Othello sarcastically replies that he begs her pardon: he took her for the “cunning whore of Venice” who married Othello (IV.ii.93). Othello storms out of the room, and Emilia comes in to comfort her mistress. Desdemona tells Emilia to lay her wedding sheets on the bed for that night.<br />At Desdemona’s request, Emilia brings in Iago, and Desdemona tries to find out from him why Othello has been treating her like a whore. Emilia says to her husband that Othello must have been deceived by some villain, the same sort of villain who made Iago suspect Emilia of sleeping with Othello. Iago assures Desdemona that Othello is merely upset by some official business, and a trumpet flourish calls Emilia and Desdemona away to dinner with the Venetian emissaries.<br />Roderigo enters, furious that he is still frustrated in his love, and ready to make himself known in his suit to Desdemona so that she might return all of the jewels that Iago was supposed to have given her from him. Iago tells Roderigo that Cassio is being assigned to Othello’s place. Iago also lies, saying that Othello is being sent to Mauritania, in Africa, although he is really being sent back to Venice. He tells Roderigo that the only way to prevent Othello from taking Desdemona away to Africa with him would be to get rid of Cassio. He sets about persuading Roderigo that he is just the man for “knocking out [Cassio’s] brains” (IV.ii.229).<br />
After Othello’s exchange with Emilia, Desdemona and Othello are alone at last. He takes this opportunity to confront Desdemona and tries to make her admit to her guilt. She bravely declares her honesty and misinterprets his rage for something other than jealousy. After he leaves, Desdemona is left to reflect upon Othello’s treatment of her and asks Emilia to fetch Iago, whom she asks to help her win Othello back.<br />Why do you think Othello questions Emilia before Desdemona? Why does he then refuse to believe what he has been told?<br />Consider the interaction between lines 30-63. What is the significance of the religious imagery used here? <br />How does Othello view the implication of Desdemona’s actions? What is the significance of Desdemona’s response to his speech?<br />During their interaction, Othello refers to himself in the third person. Why do you think he does this? What effect does this have on what he is saying and the way he seems to be feeling?<br />Lines 100-170 is laden with dramatic irony. Re-read this section, annotating examples of dramatic irony. What is the effect of this section?<br />
At the end of this scene we observe Roderigo – previously manipulated by Iago – become the first person to question his honesty and motives. However, through their interaction, Iago manages to find someone willing to kill Cassio for him.<br />What effect does this have on the rest of the play? Do you find the end of the scene unsettling or another example of Iago’s <br />
As you are waiting for the lesson to begin, decide…<br />Which character is…<br />The most virtuous?<br />The most forgiving?<br />The most deplorable?<br />The most pathetic?<br />The most powerful?<br />The most manipulated?<br />The most misunderstood?<br />The most likely to rouse our sympathy at the end of the play?<br />
Learning objectives for the lesson… <br />To explore the dramatic significance of Act five, scene one. <br />To review Iago’s manipulation of the female characters in the play<br />To highlight the ways in which Shakespeare prepares us for the final moments of the play.<br />
What happens in Act five, scene one?<br />Iago and Roderigo wait outside the brothel where Cassio visits Bianca. Iago positions Roderigo with a rapier in a place where he will be able to ambush Cassio. Iago then withdraws,, although Roderigo asks him not to go too far in case he needs help killing Cassio. Cassio enters, and Roderigo stabs at him but fails to pierce Cassio’s armor. Cassio stabs and wounds Roderigo. Iago darts out in the commotion, stabs Cassio in the leg, and exits. Not knowing who has stabbed him, Cassio falls. At this moment, Othello enters. Hearing Cassio’s cries of murder, Othello believes that Iago has killed him. Inspired by what he believes to be Iago’s successful vengeance, Othello returns to his bedroom to kill Desdemona.<br />Lodovico and Graziano enter and hear Cassio’s and Roderigo’s cries. They can see nothing because of the darkness, and they are wary of helping the crying men in case it is a trap. Iago enters carrying a light. He first pretends to discover Cassio, who begs him for help, and then stumbles upon Cassio’s assailant, Roderigo, whom Iago stabs without hesitation. Graziano and Lodovico are still unable to see Iago, and they are unaware of what he is doing. Finally, the three men come face-to-face, and they question Cassio about his injuries.<br />Bianca enters and begins to cry out when she sees the wounded Cassio. Iago questions Cassio, but Cassio can provide no explanation for what has happened. Iago suggests that Roderigo is to blame. Cassio says that he does not know Roderigo. Attendants carry off Cassio and Roderigo’s corpse. Emilia enters, and Iago tells her what has happened. He and Emilia chastise Bianca, at whose house Cassio had dined that evening. Iago takes Bianca under arrest, and sends Emilia to tell Othello and Desdemona what has happened. Iago ends the scene sharing his intentions with the audience once again.<br />
As we approach the final scenes of the play, Shakespeare prepare us for the inevitable tragic ending. This scene is dramatic and fast paced and builds the tension for the final, shocking conclusion… <br />In small groups, read lines 37 – 94 again.<br /><ul><li>How do you think these lines should be read? What effect is Shakespeare trying to create?
What would the dramatic implications of this scene be? How would this be best presented on an Elizabethan – and modern – stage?
Why does Shakespeare get rid of so many characters at this point in the play? What is the purpose in pre-empting the final death scene with the death and injury of Roderigo and Cassio?</li></li></ul><li>As we near the end of the play, Othello appears briefly. However, although his appearance may be fleeting, his words make a clear impression. <br />OTHELLO<br />'Tis he:--O brave Iago, honest and just,That hast such noble sense of thy friend's wrong!Thou teachest me. Minion, your dear lies dead,And your unblest fate hies: strumpet, I come.Forth of my heart those charms, thine eyes, are blotted;Thy bed, lust-stain'd, shall with lust's blood be spotted.<br />What are Othello’s intentions as a result of this speech? In what way has he changed as a character since the beginning of the play? In what way might we see his love for Desdemona as destructive and deadly at this point in the play?<br />
The presentation of women in the play is controversial; not only are they used to further the ambition of the male characters but they are powerful, seductive and manipulative in their own right…<br />Read lines 104 – 123 again. <br /><ul><li>What do we already know about the character of Bianca? What relevance does she have as we move towards the close of the play.
Review Iago’s treatment of her in this scene. In what way does he treat her differently to the other female characters? What does this suggest?
Why do you think Emilia chooses to side with her husband in this scene? What does this suggest about the position of women?
What do you think Shakespeare is trying to suggest through his various presentations of women in the play? </li></li></ul><li>And to finish the lesson… <br />Iago<br />‘This is the nightThat either makes me or fordoes me quite.’<br />This is the final line of Act five, scene one. In what way does this create a sense of foreboding for the final scene? Based on what we have learned this lesson, what do we expect from the final scene of the play?<br />
As you are waiting for the lesson to begin…<br />Think back to what we have learned in previous lessons about the relationship between Othello and Desdemona. In your wordsearch, find the ten key words which you may use to describe their passion.<br />Once you have done so, think about the words themselves, trying to find evidence for their justification in the play itself.<br />Be prepared to feedback your ideas to the class. <br />
Learning objectives for the lesson… <br />To explore the presentation of the murder of Desdemona in Act five, scene two.<br />To explore Shakespeare’s dramatic intentions.<br />Do review the presentation of Desdemona, evaluating our opinion of her. <br />
What happens in the first part of Act five, scene two?<br />Holding a candle, Othello stands over the sleeping Desdemona and prepares to kill her. He bends down to kiss her once before he does the deed, she wakes, and he tells her to prepare to die. Growing frightened, Desdemona asks her husband why he means to kill her, and Othello responds that she has been unfaithful to him with Cassio—he has seen the proof in the handkerchief. Othello refuses to believe Desdemona’s denial of the charge, saying that Cassio has confessed but will speak no more, since he has been killed by Iago. Desdemona begins to weep for Cassio, which only drives Othello into a greater rage. Wrestling with her as she begs to be allowed to live just a little longer, Othello finally succeeds in smothering his wife. Emilia calls from outside the door, and Othello, apparently delirious, confuses her cries with his wife’s and concludes that Desdemona is not yet dead. Thinking himself to be merciful, and not wanting to have his wife linger in pain, he smothers her again.<br />Othello draws the bed curtains and lets Emilia in. Emilia informs Othello that Cassio has killed Roderigo. Othello asks if Cassio has been killed as well, and Emilia informs him that Cassio is alive. As Othello begins to realize that his plans have gone awry, Desdemona cries out that she has been murdered. She stays alive long enough to recant this statement, telling Emilia that she was not murdered but killed herself. She dies. Othello triumphantly admits to Emilia that he killed Desdemona, and when she asks him why, Othello tells her that Iago opened his eyes to Desdemona’s falsehood. Unfazed by Othello’s threat that she “were best” to remain silent, Emilia calls out for help, bringing Montano, Graziano, and Iago to the scene.<br />
As the scene begins, we see a tortured version of Othello. Although he regrets his plan to kill his wife, he cannot control the destructive nature of his desire. <br />In your pairs, analyse Othello’s opening speech carefully.In your discussions, think about the following points…<br /><ul><li>Why does Othello choose to kill Desdemona on the way that he does? Why is he so keen not to ‘shed her blood’?
Othello mentions ‘light’ several times. What might this represent? How might the metaphor been seen in various ways?
It is debateable whether Othello and Desdemona have actually consummated their marriage yet. In what way might the final lines of the first section allude to this?
How does Shakespeare present the torture that Othello feels in the second section? What does this reveal about the resolve of Othello and how he has changed since the beginning of the play?</li></li></ul><li>P<br />AO1 - Articulate creative, informed and relevant responses to literary texts<br />Although many of our questions are answered as we move towards the end of the play, the reasons behind some of Shakespeare’s decisions are still ambiguous. In your groups, discuss the following questions, aiming to deliver ‘creative, informed and relevant’ responses. Be prepared to justify your answers and feedback to the rest of the group.<br /><ul><li>Why does Shakespeare have Othello kill Desdemona in their marital bed? Is it significant that their wedding sheets are on the bed?
Why does Shakespeare have Othello strangle Desdemona?
Why is the relatively insignificant character of Emilia the first character on the scene of the crime?</li></li></ul><li>And to finish the lesson… <br />Desdemona: A guiltless death I die.<br />Emilia: O, who hath done this deed?<br />Desdemona: Nobody; I myself. Farewell.<br /> Commend me to my kind Lord.<br />As Desdemona dies, she still does not reveal the name of her murderer. Based on what we have learned about her this lesson, what are our lasting impression of Desdemona? Do we admire her faithfulness? Does she get what she deserves? Is she the rea; victim of the Iago?<br />
To reach informed opinions as to the success of the ending of the play.</li></li></ul><li>What happens in the second part of Act five, scene two?<br />As the truth of Iago’s villainy begins to come out through Emilia’s accusations, Othello falls weeping upon the bed that contains the body of his dead wife. Almost to himself, Graziano expresses relief that Brabanzio is dead—the first news the audience has heard of this—and has not lived to see his daughter come to such a terrible end. Othello still clings to his belief in Iago’s truth and Desdemona’s guilt, mentioning the handkerchief and Cassio’s “confession.” When Othello mentions the handkerchief, Emilia erupts, and Iago, no longer certain that he can keep his plots hidden, attempts to silence her with his sword. Graziano stops him and Emilia explains how she found the handkerchief and gave it to Iago. Othello runs at Iago but is stopped by Montano. In the commotion, Iago stabs his wife, who falls, apparently dying. Iago flees but is pursued. Left alone onstage with the bodies of the two women, Othello searches for another sword. She tells Othello that Desdemona loved him.<br />Graziano returns to find Othello armed and defiant, mourning the loss of his wife. They are joined shortly by Montano, Lodovico, Cassio, and Iago, who is being held prisoner. Othello stabs Iago, wounding him, and Lodovico orders some soldiers to disarm Othello. Iago sneers that he bleeds but is not killed. He refuses to say anything more about what he has done, but Lodovico produces a letter found in Roderigo’s pocket that reveals everything that has happened. Seeking some kind of final reconciliation, Othello asks Cassio how he came by the handkerchief, and Cassio replies that he found it in his chamber.<br />Lodovico tells Othello that he must come with them back to Venice, and that he will be stripped of his power and command and put on trial. Refusing to be taken away before he has spoken, Othello reminds his captors of battles he has won, finishing with a dramatic moment where he draws his sword and stabs himself. Pledging to “die upon a kiss,” Othello falls onto the bed with his wife’s body (V.ii.369).<br />Lodovico tells Iago to look at the result of his devious efforts, names Graziano as Othello’s heir, and puts Montano in charge of Iago’s execution. Lodovico prepares to leave for Venice to bear the news from Cyprus to the duke and senate.<br />
To start the lesson…<br />EMILIA<br />Nay, lay thee down and roar;For thou hast kill'd the sweetest innocentThat e'er did lift up eye.<br />Based on what you have learned in previous lessons about the character of Desdemona, do you agree with Emilia’s assertion of her character? What evidence do you have for your opinions?<br />
The final lines from our protagonist are crucial; Shakespeare will be keen to leave us with a lasting impression – good or bad – of Othello.<br />Look closely at Othello’s last speech on the following slide. What lasting impression does Shakespeare try to create of Othello? Think carefully about the quotations underlined – in what way are they important to our understanding of Othello at the end of the play?<br />
OTHELLO<br />Soft you; a word or two before you go.I have done the state some service, and they know't.No more of that. I pray you, in your letters,When you shall these unlucky deeds relate,Speak of me as I am; nothing extenuate,Nor set down aught in malice: then must you speakOf one that loved not wisely but too well;Of one not easily jealous, but being wroughtPerplex'd in the extreme; of one whose hand,Like the base Indian, threw a pearl awayRicher than all his tribe; of one whose subdued eyes,Albeit unused to the melting mood,Drop tears as fast as the Arabian treesTheir medicinal gum. Set you down this;And say besides, that in Aleppo once,Where a malignant and a turban'd TurkBeat a Venetian and traduced the state,I took by the throat the circumcised dog,And smote him, thus.<br />
As we have discussed, Othello is an ambiguous character. Although he has many qualities to be admired, he also has many flaws.<br />Othello<br />‘…of one whose hand,Like the base Indian, threw a pearl awayRicher than all his tribe’<br />To what extent does Shakespeare present Othello as an outsider? How do his ‘differences’ influence our opinion of him at the close of the play?<br />Read the enclosed essay carefully and use it to help you reach conclusions as to your overall opinion of Othello. Aim to supplement your opinion with quotations from the text. Be prepared to feedback your ideas to the rest of the group.<br />
And to finish the lesson… <br />Who is to blame for the blood bath that heralds the end of the play? Be prepared to justify and feedback your answers…<br />
As you are waiting for the lesson to begin…<br />How much do you know about the play?<br />As you are waiting for the lesson to begin, try to complete the final quiz which you have been given. Try to decide what you already know about the play and what you still need further clarification on. <br />
Learning objectives for the lesson… <br /><ul><li>To review what we have already learned about Othello
To explore key themes and ideas from the play and reach considered conclusions
To begin to think about the coursework question and set targets for future development.</li></li></ul><li>To start the lesson…<br />Love<br />Power<br />War<br />Think back to what you have learned about the play, Othello. In your opinion, which of the above ideas is the odd eon out? What evidence do you have for your opinions?<br />
Reviewing the play…<br />As you are now aware, your coursework question will focus on the destructive nature of and desire. However, before you begin to prepare for this question, you need to have a complete overview of the play and reach clear conclusions as to your judgements and opinions of the play itself. <br />In your groups, you will be given an element of the play to explore. Your aim is to reach clear judgements in response to the question and justify your opinions with close reference to the text. <br />Be prepared to feedback your answers to the group.<br />
To what extent are the female characters of the play portrayed as weak and powerless?<br />
To what extent is Othello a victim in the play? To what extent is he the villain?<br />
To what extent is Iago the malevolent villain? To what extent is he clever and shrewd?<br />
How is the theme of ambition and the quest for power presented in the play?<br />
How is the theme of love and desire presented in the play?<br />
And to finish the lesson…<br />‘Othello’s romantic adoration for Desdemona reflects his fundamental inability to love her as human being. He views his wife as an icon of perfection towards which he directs his highest esteem … Othello regards his wife as “a thousand times” worse for her supposed infidelity because the image of ethereal perfection which Othello has superimposed on his wife has crumbled. Othello no longer loves his wife, whom he discovers is made of mere flesh and blood—fallible like the rest of humanity.’<br />Your next step in your study of Othello is to begin to prepare for your coursework question. Based on what you have learned so far, to what extent do you agree with this statement? What else do we need to explore in future lessons to help us reach considered and informed opinions? <br />
Bellwork<br />Othello is a play about opposites and opposition, and the many contradictions in the play are embodied in the tragic hero.<br />Make a list of all of the contradictions associated with Othello’s character.<br />
Othello’s Contradictions<br />Hero / Attractive vs Villain / Abhorent<br />Military Man vs Lover/Husband vs Murderer<br />An Outsider vs Equal Member of Society<br />Self- Confidence vs Modesty<br />Powerful vs Powerless<br />A Black Man vs A White World<br />Hated by Iago vs Loved by Iago<br />
Learning objectives for the lesson… <br /><ul><li>To understand and analyse the key contradictions in Othello’s character.
To produce a handout for the rest of the class considering alternative interpretations and your own opinions.</li></li></ul><li>Look at this extract below from Act One, Scene Three (46-93) and decide what contradictions about Othello’s character are present in the scene.<br />First Senator : Here comes Brabantio and the valiant Moor. Enter BRABANTIO, OTHELLO, IAGO, RODERIGO, and Officers DUKE OF VENICE : Valiant Othello, we must straight employ you Against the general enemy Ottoman. To BRABANTIO I did not see you; welcome, gentle signior; We lack'd your counsel and your help tonight. BRABANTIO : So did I yours. Good your grace, pardon me; Neither my place nor aught I heard of business Hath raised me from my bed, nor doth the general care Take hold on me, for my particular grief Is of so flood-gate and o'erbearing nature That it engluts and swallows other sorrows And it is still itself. DUKE OF VENICE :Why, what's the matter? BRABANTIO :My daughter! O, my daughter! DUKE OF VENICE :Dead?<br /> BRABANTIO : Ay, to me; She is abused, stol'n from me, and corrupted By spells and medicines bought of mountebanks; For nature so preposterously to err, Being not deficient, blind, or lame of sense, Sans witchcraft could not. <br />DUKE OF VENICE : Whoe'er he be that in this foul proceeding Hath thus beguiled your daughter of herself And you of her, the bloody book of law You shall yourself read in the bitter letter After your own sense, yea, though our proper son Stood in your action. BRABANTIO: Humbly I thank your grace. Here is the man, this Moor, whom now, it seems, Your special mandate for the state-affairs Hath hither brought. DUKE OF VENICE :We are very sorry for't. DUKE OF VENICE : [To OTHELLO] What, in your own part, can you say to this? BRABANTIO :Nothing, but this is so. OTHELLO : Most potent, grave, and reverend signiors, My very noble and approved good masters, That I have ta'en away this old man's daughter, It is most true; true, I have married her: The very head and front of my offending Hath this extent, no more. Rude am I in my speech, And little bless'd with the soft phrase of peace: For since these arms of mine had seven years' pith, Till now some nine moons wasted, they have used Their dearest action in the tented field, And little of this great world can I speak, More than pertains to feats of broil and battle, And therefore little shall I grace my cause In speaking for myself. Yet, by your gracious patience, I will a round unvarnish'd tale deliver Of my whole course of love; what drugs, what charms, What conjuration and what mighty magic, For such proceeding I am charged withal, I won his daughter. <br />
TASK: In pairs you must pick one contradiction and create a handout for the rest of the class. It must include evidence and analysis about both sides of his character but it must also include your opinion (with evidence and analysis) about which side of his character is more dominant.This must be typed up using the format on the example and you must hand this in on Wednesday’s lesson. These will all then be photocopied so everyone has a detailed analysis of Othello’s character<br />
EXAMPLE RESPONSEAn OutsiderOthello is shown to be an outsider throughout the play, and this is particularly evident in the opening scenes where initial prejudices against him are discussed. Prior to A1,S3 Iago has already informed the audience of his hatred towards him “I do hate him as I do hell’s pain” (A1,S1 – 153) and he has refered to him as a ‘black ram’ (A1, S1 – 89) implying because he is black he therefore possesses animalistic qualities and ones that cannot be controlled especially when linked to sex . In addition to this Roderigo and Branbantio both include racial prejudices in their descriptions of him ‘thick-lips’ (A1,S1 – 67) and ‘sooty bosom’ (A1,S2 – 70) further emphasising his differences and therefore placing him on the outside of society. In Act One, Scene Three we see Brabantio publically express his opinions on Othello as an outsider. “She is abused, stol'n from me, and corrupted / By spells and medicines bought of mountebanks; / For nature so preposterously to err, / Being not deficient, blind, or lame of sense, /Sans witchcraft could not.” Reference to ‘spells’ and ‘witchcraft’ again show a lack of understanding Othello’s different background and again highlight the underlying prejudices of Venentian society which means Othello could never be accepted despite his best efforts for the state. Othello himself also states his differences from the rest of the characters: “Rude am I in my speech, / And little bless'd with the soft phrase of peace” could imply he lacks the formal upbringing that the other characters may have been given. Furthermore he goes on to say that it is the fact that he is different and that he could tell Desdemona stories about his exotic journeys that helped to woo her – therefore confirmer his role as the outsider.An Equal Member of SocietyIn Act One, Scene Three we see for the first time that Othello is refered to by his own name by the Duke: “Valiant Othello, we must straight employ you / Against the general enemy Ottoman.” The Duke is clearly a very important man in the Venetian society and Othello is shown respect and admiration from him. The Duke recognises him as valiant and states that he is needed to assist in the war with the Turks, therefore suggesting their dependence on him and their respect. In this scene Othello is also given a public hearing about his relationship with Desdemona – if was a complete outsider and people were only prejudiced against him then this perhaps would not have been allowed and he instead would have been imprisoned as suggested by Brabantio. Opinion I believe that Othello is treated as an equal member of society by the majority of the characters in the play. He is a respected general in the army, which is the highest position and shows that the colour of his skin has not restricted his success. Iago sets about creating his downfall, but Iago does not only manipulate and destroy Othello’s life, he attempts to do this to all the characters in the play. It could also be argued that Iago is not prejudiced against Othello because he is ‘different’ but instead is fully in love with and admires Othello and this is why he sets to destroy his life – because he is jealous of his relationship with Desdemona.Finally, Brabantio is against Othello’s marriage to Desdemona, but again we can argue that this isn’t because he is an outsider. Prior to the marriage Brabantio also liked and admired Othello “Her father loved me, oft invited me”; showing that he was treated as an equal member of society in his household. Branbantio’s objections to the marriage are due to the fact that he feels Desdemona was ‘stolen’ and the correct protocol for the period was not followed with this marriage as his permission was not sought. Therefore revealing that Branbantio’s anger is because of the lack of respect shown to him rather than because his daughter has married someone who is ‘different’.<br />
Final Discussion...<br />Do you think Othello is...<br />Hated by Iago or Loved by Iago?<br />