Othello and Frankenstein review

Othello and Frankenstein
Written by William Shakespeare
Othello – the Moor, a general (tragic hero)
Desdemona – the fair and virtuous (wife of Othello)
Cassio – the flirt, (Othello’s best friend)
Bianca – Cassio’s girlfriend
Emilia – friends with Desdemona (Iago’s wife)
Iago – the villain (jealous of Othello, thinks his wife had
an affair with Othello, angry because he didn’t get the
promotion given to Cassio)
• Roderigo – wants Desdemona (Iago’s fool)
Othello themes
• Jealousy – Iago’s jealousy of Cassio and
Othello; Othello’s jealousy leads to D.’s death
• Racism – inherent distrust of Othello since he
is black (a Moor)
• Identity - how an individual's sense of identity
(which can break down and be manipulated
by others) shapes his or her actions.
Othello motifs
• Sight and blindness – seeing truly or being
blinded by jealousy
– Lodovico says to Iago, “Look on the tragic loading
of this bed. / This is thy work. The object poisons
sight. / Let it be hid” (V.ii.373–375).
– Othello, though he demands “ocular proof”
(III.iii.365), is frequently convinced by things he
does not see:
Othello motifs
• Animals
– Iago calls Othello a “Barbary horse,” an “old black
ram,” and also tells Brabanzio that his daughter and
Othello are “making the beast with two backs”
– In Act I, scene iii, Iago tells Roderigo, “Ere I would say I
would drown myself for the love of a guinea-hen, I
would change my humanity with a baboon” (I.iii.312–
– these references to animals convey a sense that the
laws of nature, rather than those of society, are the
primary forces governing the characters in this play.
Othello symbols
• The Handkerchief
– The handkerchief symbolizes different things to different
characters. Since the handkerchief was the first gift
Desdemona received from Othello, she keeps it about her
constantly as a symbol of Othello’s love. Iago manipulates
the handkerchief so that Othello comes to see it as a
symbol of Desdemona herself—her faith and chastity.
• The Song “Willow”
– The song’s lyrics suggest that both men and women are
unfaithful to one another. To Desdemona, the song seems
to represent a melancholy and resigned acceptance of her
alienation from Othello’s affections, and singing it leads
her to question Emilia about the nature and practice of
Othello plot
• MAJOR CONFLICT · Othello and Desdemona marry and attempt to build a
life together, despite their differences in age, race, and experience. Their
marriage is sabotaged by the envious Iago, who convinces Othello that
Desdemona is unfaithful.
• RISING ACTION · Iago tells the audience of his scheme, arranges for Cassio
to lose his position as lieutenant, and gradually insinuates to Othello that
Desdemona is unfaithful.
• CLIMAX · The climax occurs at the end of Act III, scene iii, when Othello
kneels with Iago and vows not to change course until he has achieved
bloody revenge.
• FALLING ACTION · Iago plants the handkerchief in Cassio’s room and later
arranges a conversation with Cassio, which Othello watches and sees as
“proof” that Cassio and Desdemona have slept together. Iago
unsuccessfully attempts to kill Cassio, and Othello smothers Desdemona
with a pillow. Emilia exposes Iago’s deceptions, Othello kills himself, and
Iago is taken away to be tortured.
Othello quotes
• Iago - I hate the Moor:
And it is thought abroad, that 'twixt my sheets
He has done my office: I know not if't be true;
But I, for mere suspicion in that kind,
Will do as if for surety. (1.3.12)
– O, beware, my lord, of jealousy;
It is the green-eyed monster which doth mock
The meat it feeds on; (3.3.15)
• Othello - Why, why is this?
Think'st thou I'ld make a life of jealousy,
To follow still the changes of the moon
With fresh suspicions?
• Cassio - Reputation, reputation, reputation! O, I have lost
my reputation! I have lost the immortal part of
myself, and what remains is bestial. My reputation,
Iago, my reputation! (2.3.24)
Written by Mary Shelley, published 1818
Epistolary novel, frame narrative
Victor Frankenstein (possible tragic hero) – obssessed with
death and defeating death due to his mother’s demise
• The Creature (antagonist, possible tragic hero) – created
“child” of Frankenstein, faces isolation, rejection, and
prejudice that leads to his vengeance – wants a wife to
overcome that rejection and loneliness
• Robert Walton – sailor in the frame that writes to his sister
of the tale of Victor Frankenstein as he goes on his own
obsessive journey to the North Pole
Frankenstein themes
• Dangerous knowledge of science (making the
• Sublime nature (mountain cliff/Frankenstein’s
childhood home)
• Alienation and rejection
• Feminism – loss of motherhood
Frankenstein motifs
• Letters – from Frankenstein, from Walton
• Literary references
• Passive women – Caroline (Frankenstein’s
mother), Justine, Elizabeth
Frankenstein symbols
• Light
– In Frankenstein, light symbolizes knowledge,
discovery, and enlightenment.
• Fire
– light and fire represent the duality of progress and
innovation: a fire might keep you warm, but you
sure don't want to get too close.
Frankenstein plot
NARRATOR · The primary narrator is Robert Walton, who, in his letters, quotes
Victor Frankenstein’s first-person narrative at length; Victor, in turn, quotes the
monster’s first-person narrative; in addition, the lesser characters Elizabeth
Lavenza and Alphonse Frankenstein narrate parts of the story through their letters
to Victor.
CLIMAX · The murder of Elizabeth Lavenza on the night of her wedding to Victor
Frankenstein in Chapter 23
PROTAGONIST · Victor Frankenstein ANTAGONIST · Frankenstein’s monster
SETTING (TIME/PLACE) · Eighteenth century; Geneva; the Swiss Alps; Ingolstadt;
England and Scotland; the northern ice
POINT OF VIEW · The point of view shifts with the narration, from Robert Walton
to Victor Frankenstein to Frankenstein’s monster, then back to Walton, with a few
digressions in the form of letters from Elizabeth Lavenza and Alphonse
FALLING ACTION · After the murder of Elizabeth Lavenza, when Victor
Frankenstein chases the monster to the northern ice, is rescued by Robert Walton,
narrates his story, and dies
Frankenstein quotes
• The Creature - I, the miserable and the abandoned, am an abortion,
to be spurned at, and kicked, and trampled on.
– "I continued for the remainder of the day in my hovel in a state of
utter and stupid despair. My protectors had departed and had broken
the only link that held me to the world. For the first time the feelings
of revenge and hatred filled my bosom, and I did not strive to control
them, but allowing myself to be borne away by the stream, I bent my
mind towards injury and death. (16.12)
• Walton - One man's life or death were but a small price to pay for
the acquirement of the knowledge which I sought, for the dominion
I should acquire and transmit over the elemental foes of our race.
(Letter 4.21)
• Victor - "No one can conceive the variety of feelings which bore me
onwards, like a hurricane, in the first enthusiasm of success. Life and
death appeared to me ideal bounds, which I should first break
through, and pour a torrent of light into our dark world."