OTHELLO 2013 random stuff for lessons KEK

The Play (some more general notes)
• Tragedy of a man who kills the person he loves
• The Moor: for dramatic impact and to heighten/create drama had
to have nobility and greatness
• This earned tragic sympathy from the audience
• Primarily achieved through the poetry of O
• Noble, exotic, royal, “valiant”, courageous
• The threat to Cyprus by the Turks gives dramatic tension in the
plotline and shows O’s indispensible to the Venetian State
• Autobiography of O – travels history and partly by references
throughout the play to past life incidents, been in camp since 7,
death of brother, slavery, killing Turk in Aleppo
• Shakespeare convinces us that O always loves his bride
O commits murder then executes justice on himself when finding out D is innocent
Iago is the villain who directs his hatred against O. Racial hatred, mad that Cassio
was promoted over him, and a weak belief that O slept with his wife, fuels his
Roderigo is Iago’s fool. Iago promises him D. Once married had to infer that she
would take a lover
Cassio and Bianca: not quite a mercenary relationship. Does give the
handkerchief to B which gives Iago a useful instrument for arousing O’s fury
Iago easily brings down C by being able to incite C into drinking and then fighting.
C poor head for drinking. Iago suggests to C that he should ask D to intercede for
C privy to O’s courtship of D
D drops handkerchief and Emilia picks it up and gives it to Iago. D forgets about it
(O’s first gift and used to be his mothers) until she is worried about O’s headache.
Forgetfulness is a sign of love not carelessness.
Emilia is deceived by her husband and turns against him when discovers the truth
D an innocent murdered
• O a hero degraded and destroyed by his subordinate
• Honesty: It is essential thing that Iago appears honest
right until he is unmasked
• It is ironic that D the most honest and open character
should have these characteristics rejected by O in
favour of Iago’s false cover of honesty
• Iago deceives O, D, C, Montano, Lodovico, Emilia, and
even Roderigo who knows that Iago is dishonest
• Iago is the consummate villain entrapping a noble
nature. Methods: intricate/clever. Purpose: dark.
Language Activity
• Act III,iii, 92: "Chaos is come again"
Act III,iii, 93–280: Iago preys upon Othello
• Catalogue the number of times Iago uses
repetition, leading questions, hesitation,
intimation, and rhetorical appeals to unsettle
Othello's mind in III,iii,93-280. For each device,
students should note the effect it is having on
Othello's state of mind.
• Note Iago's introduction of the words "jealousy,"
"cuckold" and "monster" into his rhetoric. How
do these words affect a man such as Othello?
The language of Othello is of great beauty and at the same time contributes
significantly to the structure of the play and the development of the plot and
Imagery is perhaps the most important language feature of the play.
In the early acts of the play, O’s imagery reflects his noble, frank and open
character. He refers to the natural forces of storms, seas and winds; of celestial
bodies “you chaste stars” and of heaven and the unexplained. When meeting D in
Cyprus O speaks of tempests and “hills of seas Olympus-high” II,i,185. Such
images arise naturally from his emotions and his rich imagination.
O’s language at the beginning of the play shows his noble, heroic and calm nature.,
such as in I,ii “Keep up your bright swords for the dew will rust them”. He has such
confidence and skill in his speech that he can claim that he is “rude” in his speech
knowing that no-one will possibly believe him.
However Iago in contrast is more calculating and rational. He uses fewer images
because of this and often his images seem forced and artificial. When he does use
images they reflect his cold and hate filled nature. Images of lower order animals,
such as in “old black ram”, which he describes O as to Brabantio in I, and devilish
and lustful images are what he uses to express himself.
• The changes from poetry (blank verse) to prose is also another important
structural device to emphasise character differences and developments.
• The prose is dominated by Iago who in turn causes others, particularly O
and R to speak in prose.
• Compare O’s speech in I,i “keep up your bright swords” where O shows
clarity of thought to his fragmented language and repetition when his
coherence and clarity have deteriorated badly as Iago’s poison takes
• Throughout Act III ,iii, O speaks in short, clipped exclamations and halfsentences such as “Ha”, “O Misery” and “Dost thou say so?”.
• Also notable repetition as in “Not a jot, not a jot”,
“O,monstrous,monstrous”, “O, blood, blood, blood” and “Damn her, lewd
minx! O, damn her, damn her!”.
• Such moments, when O shifts from his typical seemingly effortless verse
to near inarticulateness, demonstrate the extent to which O’s passion has
broken down his self-control.
• In act III,iii, he is still mostly speaking in coherent sentences or phrases;
but this is no longer the case in Act IV,i. This scene begins with Iago saying
“will you think so?” and O can only echo “think so Iago?”.
• Iago then introduces the word “lie” into the conversation, which sends O
into a frenzy as he attempts to sort out the semantic differences between
C “lying on” (lying about) D and “lying with” (have
sex with D) IV,i,33-35.
• The various words and images Iago has planted in
O’s mind over the course of the play are
transformed into sporadic eruptions out of O’s
mouth: “lie with her? Swounds, that’s fulsome!
Handkerchief, confessions, handkerchief” IV,i,3636.
• These eruptions culminate in the nonsense of
“Pish! Noses, ears and lips!” IV,i,40.
• Ultimately, O’s inability to articulate seems to
overcome his physically, as he collapses “in a
At the end is there some reminder of
O’s former status and power? YES!
• Because for the last 3 acts we see him as undignified,
uncontrolled and even mad we need this reminder for
him to be a tragic hero.
• In the final act after he has killed D and realised the
truth, O regains some of his old character and returns
to poetry.
• The speech V, ii,i “It is the cause, it is the cause, my
soul....” is a good example of his return to clear thought
and his old ‘noble’ imagery. “Speak as one that loved
not too wisely, but too well...like the base Indian,
threw a pearl away...” IV,ii,340-343
The final Act!
• Act V, ii,300: "Demand me nothing; what you
know, you know"
• Act V, ii, 337–338: "When you shall these unlucky
deeds relate,/ Speak of me as I am" (V, ii,) Act V,ii,
296–301 and 334–352
• Re-read the passages cited above.
• Why does Iago choose silence in lines 296–301?
Does Othello's final speech redeem him?
Examine the speech for the metaphors and
images he uses. To what extent has Othello
become a tragic hero?
• At the end of the play Iago discovers that even his
verbal sparring cannot save him, he resorts to
silence:"Demand me nothing. What you know,
you know. From this time forth I never will speak
word" (V, 2, 302–303). Ironically, it is his refusal to
speak that inevitably enmeshes him in his own
web of deceit; it is his silence that elicits O's
tragic recognition of his crime and of what he has
become. Indeed, in terms of eloquence, O-not
Iago—has the final word.
• O does not blame the devil or I, he blames
• He has ignobly destroyed a priceless “pearl” and
therefore gives himself the death penalty.
Character Activity
One way in which Shakespeare develops characters is through their speech—not only what
they say, but how they say it.
Look at forms of dramatic speech (i.e.: dialogue, monologue, soliloquy) and discuss the
differing purposes and functions of each.
Look at the construction and content of several individual speeches in Othello. Understand
how what is said and how it is said develops character.
For example, Othello’s final speech is an important index of his character. It is an address to
the political leaders who commissioned him, rather than a diatribe against Iago—a public
speech, rather than an anguished private monologue. It tells us about who he was and who
he has become through his unchecked passion. It reveals what he feels in the aftermath of
slaying Desdemona.
Iago’s speeches, on the other hand, are most often in the form of soliloquys; he talks to
himself about his plans and his evaluation of the other characters. This tendency to talk to
himself may be an indication of both his madness and his malevolence.
• Read this example to the students:
I have rubbed this young quat (Roderigo) almost to
the sense,
And he grows angry. Now whether he kill Cassio,
Or Cassio him, or each do kill the other,
Every way makes my gain. Live Roderigo,
He calls me to a restitution large
Of gold and jewels that I bobbed from him
As gifts to Desdemona.
It must not be. If Cassio do remain,
He hath a daily beauty in his life
That makes me ugly; and besides, the Moor
May unfold me to him; there I stand in much peril.
No he must die. But so, I hear him coming.
(V, i, 11-21)
• Desdemona, on the other hand, is only heard
talking naturally with other people. Yet, she
too is developed through both the content
and form of her speech. For example,
Desdemona’s conversations with Emilia,
particularly at the end of the play (IV, iii,60),
reveal aspects of her character as well as
Emilia’s character. Have students look at these
and discuss what they reveal about each of
the characters.
• Once students are aware of how speech
reveals character, divide the class into small
• Have each group draw the name of one of the
major characters and an act number. From this
act the group should select one speech and
discuss what its content and form reveals
about the character. Then the group should
dramatically read or recite the speech to the
class and discuss with the class how the
character is developed through the speech.
Character Questions
1. Discuss how the character of Othello develops. What
is he like at the beginning of the play? The end?
2. To what extent can Iago be said to be an evil
character, embodying evil for evil’s sake?
3. Does Othello deserve our sympathy?
4. Compare and contrast Desdemona and Emilia.
5. Why is Othello so taken in by Iago?
6. What is Roderigo’s motivation and role in the play?
7. Why was Othello so jealous? Explain his motivation
for killing Desdemona.
You must use quotation and scene numbers for evidence!
Structure Questions
• Describe the development of Othello’s jealousy
as it relates to the structure of the play.
• What are the links and turning points in the play
giving it unity?
• What is the relationship between conflict and
structure in the play?
• What is the relationship between the outer and
inner world in the play. When is the outside
world important? When is it not?
• You must use quotation and scene numbers for
Meaning Questions
• What is the basic meaning of Othello?
• To what extent is jealousy the central theme of the play?
• What connections are made between jealousy and
reasoning? Why?
• How and why is the theme of deception used in the play?
• Explain ‘honour’ and ‘reputation’ as they are used in the
play (check the speeches where these are discussed).
• How far does Othello fulfil the requirements of the tragic
• You must use quotation and scene numbers for evidence!
Style Questions
• Does Shakespeare concentrate too much on jealousy
rather than on other themes?
• Explain the basic imagery of magic and witchcraft as it
is used in the play.
• Discuss other patterns of imagery in Othello that reveal
characterisation, social setting, theme etc.
• How is dramatic irony used in the play?
• To what extent does the language of the play drive it?
How important is what the characters say and how
they say it?
• You must use quotation and scene numbers for
How will you be tested on your
knowledge of Othello (or the novel) for
Achievement Standard 3.1?
• You will be answering an essay question in
your external exam for 4 credits.
Respond critically to specified aspects
of studied written text(s), with
supporting evidence, means clearly
developing the focus and scope of an
argument when discussing specified
aspects of the text(s), then integrating
a range of relevant points supported
by accurate and relevant evidence. The
response should be communicated
clearly and coherently, in a structured
written answer that follows the
conventions of an essay format.
Achievement with Merit
Respond critically and convincingly to
specified aspect(s) of studied written
text(s), with supporting evidence
includes making discerning, informed
critical responses to specified aspects
supported by accurate and relevant
Achievement with Excellence
Respond critically and perceptively
to specified aspect(s) of studied
written text(s), with supporting
evidence includes making
sophisticated and insightful or
original critical responses to
specified aspects, integrated with
accurate and relevant evidence. It
may include explaining how
significant aspects of the text(s)
communicate ideas about contexts,
such as human experience, society
and the wider world.
• Respond critically involves developing the focus and scope of an
argument when discussing specified aspect(s) of the text(s), and
integrating a range of relevant points. The argument is
communicated clearly and coherently, in a structured written
answer that follows the conventions of an essay format.
• Respond critically and convincingly involves making a discerning and
informed argument relating to the specified aspect(s) of the text(s).
• Respond critically and perceptively involves making a sophisticated
and insightful and/or original argument relating to the specified
aspect(s) of the text(s).
• Specified aspect(s) of written text(s) are selected
– purposes and audiences
– ideas (eg character, theme, setting)
– language features (eg figurative language, syntax,
style, symbolism, diction, vocabulary, sound devices)
– structures (eg narrative sequence, beginnings and
• Supported by evidence refers to the use of specific
and relevant details to support an argument. This
may include examples, quotations, and/or references
to the studied text(s) and/or other sources.
Put Simply…..
• Your essay should be AT LEAST 500 words
• Your essay should include:
• an introduction
• key points related to the question, supported
by examples and quotations
• a conclusion that focuses on the main idea.
Writing at Level 8 of the curriculum
you should be able to demonstrate:
• Why authors use different techniques to develop
aspects such as character, themes, and setting
• Why different people understand and interpret
different texts in different ways
• Why the audience of the text is being positioned
(encouraged to adopt a particular point of view)
• Why the author created the text and identifying the
means by which texts are created
• Why and how a text relates to other texts and contexts
(for example, historical, cultural, social, political)
• The wider significance of the text for the student and
for society
Types of questions you will be asked
“Major characters can find themselves in collision with forces beyond their control, and in
many cases their responses to the collision can be described as morally questionable.”
To what extent do you agree with this statement?
Respond to this question with close reference to one or more text(s) you have studied.
“Forget the big players in the world; it is the people in the margins of our society whose
stories are most compelling.”
To what extent do you agree with this statement?
Respond to this question with close reference to one or more text(s) you have studied.
“The setting that is most accessible and relevant to the reader is the one that is grounded in
To what extent do you agree with this statement?
Respond to this question with close reference to one or more text(s) you have studied.
“While the conclusion of a text is important, what really matters is the foundation of a good
To what extent do you agree with this statement?
Respond to this question with close reference to one or more text(s) you have studied.
• “The use of symbolism can transform the most straightforward theme.”
To what extent do you agree with this statement?
Respond to this question with close reference to one or more text(s) you have studied.
“A successful text will be one in which the reader is asked to be more than a
spectator, in fact they are encouraged to be involved.”
To what extent do you agree with this statement?
Respond to this question with close reference to one or more text(s) you have studied.
“In order to be informative, the shape and / or style of a text must always be
To what extent do you agree with this statement?
to this question with close reference to one or more text(s) you have studied.
• “An exceptional text will be one that handles facts and opinion with care.”
To what extent do you agree with this statement?
Respond to this question with close reference to one or more text(s) you have studied.
Planning tips…
Answering a question
The Question - Choose a question that suits your text and targets what you have studied.
Questions are more specific than last year so choose carefully. If you start planning and
realise that the question is not working for your text, change questions.
Underline keywords in the essay question – these words will keep you on track and point to
the sections of your study notes you need to use in your answer. Think of other words that
mean the same so you have a group of useful words to use in your answer. Use these words
over and over in your essay.
Use the wording of your question - in your introduction and conclusion. Use the key words
and synonyms throughout your answer. Stay conceptually focused on what your question is
asking throughout your answer. Don’t just put things in because you know them.
Remember that all questions are theme questions - If you are writing about character it is
primarily to show how they develop the themes. You can interweave different sorts of
evidence, but direct all your evidence towards answering the particular slant of your
Thesis Statement - Try to form an argument around the quotation or statement so you focus
on the question.
• Planning your answer
• PLAN your answer briefly - This will focus your
answer. You should know your entire argument
before you begin writing. Your answer is not a
surprise twist for the end of your essay; it should
be in the introduction.
• Plans should be either in bullet point or mind
map form - After you have brainstormed what
you want to include go through and number
points so that you have a clear structure. Your
plan could include brief references to quotations
to remind yourself where to use them.
• Outline of an essay plan
• Begin with a quotation, question, thesis
statement, or opinion to sum up the question.
• Focus on a 4–5 key points.
• Develop a logical argument or explanation for
each point.
• Conclude by reinforcing a main idea from your
thesis statement.
• Paragraphs
A standard paragraph will organise your thoughts and have these things:
• Statement or topic sentence – stating the main idea to be developed
within the paragraph – use keywords from the question
• Explain – expanding the idea through discussion of evidence and detail.
Quotations examples, and details to illustrate the idea should be woven
into your sentence.
• Explain - the effect of any techniques used and acknowledge the author’s
• Develop - your paragraph idea with another statement that attacks the
essay question.
• Explain – expanding the idea through discussion of evidence and detail.
Quotations examples, and details to illustrate the idea should be woven
into your sentence.
• Explain - the effect of any techniques used and acknowledge the author’s
• Link - back to the question by using keywords to answer the question and
draw conclusions that go beyond the text (theme can be great here).
Analyse Iago’s motivations in Othello.
Shakespeare’s Othello hinges on the motivation behind the manipulation and the destruction of it’s
tragic hero Othello. Samuel Taylor Coleridge and many other critics have argued that Iago the man who
brings down Othello has a “motiveless malignancy”; however closer examination of the play and in
particular, Iago’s soliloquys, reveals that Iago is motivated by something more than the mere desire to
do harm. In fact he spends a considerable amount of time attempting to justify his actions to himself.
For example, when Iago says at the beginning of the play “I know my price I am worth no less a place”
we see how he is motivated by a sense of injustice, in that he believes that he not Cassio should have
been made lieutenant, and in fact he is better qualified. Iago is also motivated by a need to show his
superiority over someone who is held in higher rank and esteem than he is when he believes that he in
fact is superior. This can be seen when he says “I follow him to serve my turn upon him”. Disturbingly,
Iago goes on to reveal that “Pleasure and sport make the hours seem short”, showing how he actually
enjoys using his skills to manipulate others and this enjoyment is what propels him along. It would be
diminishing Shakespeare’s great skill of understanding human nature to make Iago pure evil, when he
could create a very psychologically complex character. Jealousy also motivates Iago to ruin Othello and
Cassio. In Act 2, Scene 1, Iago talks of an unfounded rumour that there was once a sexual encounter
between Othello and Emilia, “for that I do suspect the lusty Moor Hath leaped into my seat. The
thought whereof doth like a poisonous mineral gnaw my inwards”. Léone Teyssandier a modern critic
supports my opinion that a possible motive for Iago's actions towards Cassio, Desdemona and Othello is
envy. She claims that Iago sees them as more noble, generous and, in the case of Cassio, more
handsome than he is. In particular, he sees the death of Cassio as a necessity, saying of him that "He
hath a daily beauty in his life that makes me ugly". In the end, none of these motivations seem to be the
primary motivation and none of them stand alone. Perhaps, they are not “real” motivations, but
Shakespeare has cleverly used them as justifications for Iago’s desire to be in charge of the lives of
others and the thrill he receives from such power. This is mirrored in real life by many corrupt third
world political leaders.
Thesis Statements
Thesis statement
Establishing a thesis statement in your introduction
is an easy way to ensure your essay is attacking the
• Include key words from the question in your
thesis statement and use it to drive your essay.
• Your 4 or 5 body paragraphs should all relate
back to your thesis statement.
To what extent is the concept of
reputation central to Othello as a
An untrained, anxious and naïve, student would simply write an essay describing how all the
characters care about their reputations. A likely essay plan for this student would look like
the following:
To what extent is the concept of reputation
central to Othello as a whole?
The student has identified and described how reputation
appears in the play. However, that is not what the question is
asking. This student has failed to explain why they believe
reputation is central to the play.
Why would the concept of reputation be central to the play?
• It develops the main themes of appearance vs. reality and
human frailty
• It drives the plot
• It develops the audience’s understanding of the characters
• It is what influences and ultimately controls the actions of
the characters.
To what extent is the concept of reputation central
to Othello as a whole?
Include key words from the question to create a thesis statement that
will drive your essay.
If you believe reputation is central to the play, your thesis statement
may be similar to this:
Reputation is the central concept in Othello. It drives the characters
and plot, and ultimately reveals the tragedy’s major theme of human
Alternatively, if you believe reputation is not the central concept in the
play your thesis statement may be similar to this:
Although reputation is significant in the play, hubris (extreme pride or
arrogance) is the central concept.
To what extent is deciept central to
Othello as a whole?
• Look at how Sam Vincent in his Excellent essay
cleverly answers this question.
Magic Sentences to encourage a
critical response
The reader/writer is being positioned to feel/think/sympathise with…through…
Because the text is set in…
The author/director/playwright
has created the character of …to…
The text’s time setting has a major influence on…
The use of the third person narrator in this text…
The use of …in this text effectively allows us to understand the significance of…
The author/director/playwright has been successful in…because…
The use of…is vital to our understanding of the key ideas in the text because…
The way the text deals with the issue of…means that the reader/viewer…
The text conveys the idea of…convincingly because…
The author/director/playwright has deliberately used….to….
The technique of …is ideally suited to …
…is also effective in the ability to show…
The use of …is well suited to…
Using Criticism in
your essays
Magic Sentences for using critic’s
The critic…believes that…
….’s theory about this is that…
According to…
…’s view on this is quite different. He says that…
I believe that this argument is not valid because…
…suggests that…
On the other hand…believes that…
This idea is supported by…when she says…
In my view, however,….
This idea supports my opinion…
This idea contradicts my opinion…
Use magic sentences to respond to
these critic’s views
• Use the worksheet to do this 