AP English: Othello

List of all the major characters -Othello-Desdemona-Iago
List all the secondary characters -Cassio-Roderigo-Emilia
List all the minor characters -Brabantio-Duke-Bianca-Lodovico-Montano
Identify the relationships in the play -Othello and Desdemona-Brabantio and Desdemona-Brabantio and Othello-Iago and Othello-Iago and Othello and Cassio-Iago and Cassio-Iago and Emilia-Emilia and Desdemona-Iago and Roderigo-Duke and Othello-Duke and Desdemona-Desdemona and Cassio
Identify the time period and setting of the play -First Act: Venice-Rest of Acts: Cyprus-1604
Identify symbols and motifs -The handkerchief is a symbol of commitment and betrayal-The wedding she is a symbol of Desdemona’s virginity and love for Othello-Dreams symbolize foreshadowing-Limited vision-Darkness symbolizes what we don’t know-Light symbolizes the good-Animals (Othello being compared to rams and beasts)-Black represents evil and white represents naïveté
Identify three ironies in the play -“honest” Iago-Othello thinks Desdemona cheats when she is the most loyal-Emilia thinking she’s doing Iago a favor by giving him the handkerchief
List some theme statements for Othello -sometimes people say one thing but mean another-jealousy can instigate evil strategy-it is difficult to know the truth of a person-a good or a bad reputation may or may not be gotten honestly-reputation is not always the best or true judgement of a person-people are not always who they appear to be-sexual love can create uncertainty and excessive; it can be the enemy of rational thinking
A situation in the play in which the spoken word falls to accomplish what the speaker desires -Desdemona tells Othello she didn’t cheat, but he doesn’t believe her and kills her
A situation in the play in which the spoken word has power to accomplish what the speaker desires -Desdemona says she wants to go to Cyprus with Othello and is granted permission
What idea does Shakespeare might have been trying to convey about the power of the spoken word? -sometimes spoken word is powerful and sometimes it is not
Identify 4 examples of losses characters in the play experience and comment on how the character deals with his/her loss -Brabantio: loses daughter to Othello and then dies-Cassio: loses his reputation and is ripped of title, cries and begs -Othello: loses his logic/reasoning and becomes a madman-Desdemona: loses Othello’s confidence in her and becomes inward and subdued
What thematic point does Shakespeare seem to be making with examples of characters with losses? -he says everyone is impacted by losses in a different way, which could cause insanity or goodness-example of good is Desdemona loses her handkerchief which gives her power to stand up for herself to Othello
How does the play address any of the given questions we have listed on the syllabus for our theme this year: what’s in a name? -Othello gives into his insecurities (race, age) and goes crazy
How does the play address racism? -Othello is addressed as a black ram, thick lips, and the Moor-against Turks (who they’re fighting)
How does the play address sexism? -Women are referred to as whores and hoes-men don’t think there is an in between for virgins and whores-Women had no rights
How does the play address jealousy? -Othello is jealous because he is black and old-Iago is jealous of Cassio for getting title he wanted and jealous of Othello marrying Desdemona-Bianca is jealous that Cassio does not want her-Emilia is jealous of Desdemona for getting love from her husband
That I did love the Moor to live with him,My downright violence and storm of fortunesMay trumpet to the world: my heart’s subduedEven to the very quality of my lord: -Desdemona-this is important because it is the first time she stands up for herself and says what she wants
I hate the Moor;And it is thought abroad, that ‘twixt my sheetsHe 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. -Iago-We discuss this passage in “Jealousy,” but it’s important to the theme of marriage as well. Here, Iago suggests that his wife, Emilia, has cheated on him with Othello. Now, we know this is completely untrue. What we don’t know is whether or not Iago actually believes that Othello has slept with Emilia. As we know, Iago lists multiple (and incompatible) motives for seeking to destroy Othello (elsewhere, he says he hates Othello because he was passed up for a promotion), so it’s entirely possible that Iago’s the one who makes up the rumor about Othello and Emilia. On the other hand, most men in the play assume that all women are promiscuous and unfaithful in general, so it’s not so surprising that Iago would believe Emilia has been untrue
I do perceive here a divided duty -Desdemona-Her speech shows her thoughtfulness, as she does not insist on her loyalty to Othello at the expense of respect for her father, but rather acknowledges that her duty is “divided.” Because Desdemona is brave enough to stand up to her father and even partially rejects him in public, these words also establish for the audience her courage and her strength of conviction.
When remedies are past, the griefs are ended/By seeing the worst,/which late on hopes depended./ To mourn a mischief that is past and gone / Is the next way to draw new mischief on. -The Duke -The Duke is talking to Brabantio, Desdemona, and Othello. The Duke is trying to smooth things out between Brabantio and the young couple after Brabantio publically disowned Desdemona. The Duke is saying that it’s useless to hold onto a grudge, and if something happened in the past, then leave it in the past and move on.
Look to her moor, if thou hast eyes to see/She has deceived her father and may thee -Brabantio-this foreshadows to when Othello believes that Desdemona deceived him by cheating with Cassio
The Moor is of a free and open nature,That thinks men honest that but seem to be so,And will as tenderly be led by the noseAs asses are. -Iago-Iago shares his plot to destroy Othello with the audience – since Othello is so gullible, Iago will lead him “by the nose,” making Othello believe that his, Othello’s, wife is having an affair with Cassio. Iago plans to plant the seeds of jealousy in Othello
If after every tempest come such calms,May the winds blow till they have waken’d death! -Othello-it represents the high point of Othello and Desdemona’s love and Othello foreshadows his own death
Reputation, reputation, reputation! O, I have lost my reputation! I have lost the immortal part of myself, and what remains is bestial -Cassio-he worries about the loss of his “reputation,” which is tied up in his military service and his public behavior. Cassio feels that, without his “reputation” as an upstanding soldier, he’s nothing more than a “beast.”
Excellent wretch! Perdition catch my soul,But I do love thee; and when I love thee not,Chaos is come again. -Othello-this foreshadows Othello’s death because when he believes that Desdemona has cheated on him, chaos arrives and kills him and Desdemona
Good name in man and woman, dear my lord,Is the immediate jewel of their souls:Who steals my purse steals trash; ’tis something, nothing;’Twas mine, ’tis his, and has been slave to thousands;But he that filches from me my good name,Robs me of that which not enriches him,And makes me poor indeed. -Iago-he says that if you steal my reputation, you’re robbing me of something that doesn’t make you richer, but makes me much poorer. he tells this to Othello because it will make Othello think less of Cassio sinc Iago was the one who planned the loss of Cassio’s reputation
Villian, be sure thou prove my love a *****,Be sure of it; give me the ocular proof;Or, by the worth of mine eternal soul,Thou hadst been better have been born a dogThan answer my wak’d wrath -Othello-Othello’s demand for ocular proof, that is, tangible evidence of his wife’s adultery, is the turning point in the play. It places Iago in a perilous position. He has to produce physical evidence to support all his false accusations or die
Tis not a year or two shows us a man:They are all but stomachs, and we all but food;They eat us hungerly, and when they are full,They belch us -Emilia-Emilia’s “‘Tis not a year or two shows us a man” probably means that a woman can’t understand a man in a year or two, which would explain why newly-married Desdemona hasn’t seen this side of Othello before. Emilia has a low opinion of men, and therefore isn’t particularly surprised at Othello’s outburst.
Now by yond marble heaven, / In the due reverence of a sacred vow/ I hee engage my words -Othello-this is important because it is the part where Othello swears he will only get revenge from that point forward
Who would not make her husband a cuckold to make him a monarch -Emilia-Emilia is really saying that she would cheat on her husband if they had something to gain from it. Desdemona can’t understand this reasoning; she’s forever devoted to her husband. This exchange highlights the differences in moral codes between the two women. Throughout the play, Desdemona is presented as virtuous and innocent. The scene adds to the image of Desdemona being innocent and makes her death even more tragic
Upon my knee, what doth your speech import?I understand a fury in your wordsBut not the words -Desdemona-She means that she doesn’t know why she is being treated as a wh*re, not that she doesn’t understand the significance of what Othello has just said
O,thou weedWho art so lovely fair, and smell’st so sweet,That the sense aches at thee, would thou hadst never been born -Othello-Othello is telling Desdemona that he wishes she’d never been born
Put out the light, and then put out the light -Othello-he is using Desdemona as a metaphor. Othello is holding a candle and says he will put out the candle’s light (flame) and then will put out Desdemona’s light (kill her)
Commend me to my kind lord./ O, farewell! -Desdemona-Desdemona is conversing with Emilia in this scene before Desdemona is killed. Emilia asks Desdemona who has done this to her and she innocently says that she did it to herself and to give her love to husband. Desdemona is aware that Othello is the one who has attempted to kill her, but she shows how faithful she is by blaming it on herself. Desdemona is a martyr for Othello’s love
I hold my peace, sir? no;No, I will speak as liberal as the north;Let heaven and men and devils, let them all,All, all, cry shame against me, yet I’ll speak -Emilia-Emilia demonstrates the potency of female rage in the face of violence. The injustice of Desdemona’s death almost chokes her, yet she still manages to speak. Once she realizes what he’s done, she exposes Iago’s plot to turn Othello against Desdemona, separating herself from her husband and aligning herself with her female friend
Demand me nothing: what you know, you know:From this time forth I never will speak word -Iago-even though he has been taken prisoner and revealed as a villian, iago holds satisfaction in knowing no one knows why he had this entire plan
Speak of me as I am; nothing extenuate,Nor set down aught in malice: then, must you speakOf one that lov’d not wisely but too well;Of one not easily jealous, but, being wrought,Perplex’d in the extreme; of one whose hand,Like the base Indian, threw a pearl awayRicher than all his tribe -Othello-Othello begs to be spoken of as a man so “perplex’d” that he didn’t know what he was doing when he accused Desdemona of infidelity and murdered her. He doesn’t want to be remembered as a man who was “easily jealous.”