Othello Act I-III

What is Iago’s complaint in scene I? He wants to be the lieutenant but Othello gave the job to Cassio.
Who is Brabantio and why do Iago and Roderigo awaken him in the middle of the night? Desdemona’s father; they wake him up to tell him that Desdemona has run off and gotten married to Othello.
Why does Iago leave Roderigo at Brabantio’s house? He needs to keep his identity hidden so he can stay on Othello’s good side.
What is Roderigo’s previous relationship with Brabantio and Desdemona? He asked Brabantio for Desdemona’s hand in marriage but Brabantio said no and told Roderigo to never come back.
What is Brabantio’s reaction to Othello’s marriage to Desdemona? He doesn’t believe it at first, then he assumes that Othello must have used witchcraft on Desdemona.
Why does the Duke send for Othello? There is word of a Turkish invasion at either Cyprus or Rhodes and he needs to meet with Othello, the general of the army.
Brabantio complains to the Duke about Othello’s marriage to Desdemona. After listening to both sides of the story, what is the Duke’s reply? Brabantio says there must have been witchcraft involved, but Othello says that it was his stories that made Desdemona fall in love with him. The Duke calls for Desdemona and she says she loves Othello. The Duke then allows her to go to Cyprus to be with Othello.
What is Roderigo’s complaint, and what is Iago’s reply to it? He complains that Othello is married to Desdemona and he threatens to commit suicide. Iago tells Roderigo to sell all of his land and belongings, give him the money, then go to Cyprus to pursue Desdemona.
What warning does Brabantio give to Othello? He tells Othello that Desdemona deceived her own father and she could very well be deceiving Othello too.
What does Iago say will happen to Desdemona? He says that she will see Othello’s old body and realize that she should exchange him for a younger man.
For when my outward action doth demonstrateThe native act and figure of my heartIn compliment extern, ’tis not long afterBut I will wear my heart upon my sleeveFor daws to peck at: I am not what I am.-Act I scene i Speaker: IagoContext: To Roderigo at the very beginning when he’s explaining his bitterness about the lieutenancy and explaining why he hates but still follows OthelloTranslation: When my actions reflect what I feel on the inside, soon enough I’ll be wearing my heart on my sleeve for birds to peck at. I am not who I appear to beFigurative Language: Metaphor (heart on my sleeve)
Even now, now, very now, and old black ramIs tupping your white ewe.-Act I scene i Speaker: IagoContext: To Brabantio when they are informing him about Desdemona and Othello’s marriageTranslation: An old black man is sleeping with your little white daughter.Figurative Language: Juxtaposition (black ram, white ewe)
Your daughter and the Moor are now making the beast with two backs.-Act I scene i Speaker: IagoContext: To Brabantio when they are informing him about Desdemona and Othello’s marriageTranslation: Your daughter and Othello are sleeping together.Figurative Language: Metaphor (making the beast with two backs)
Though in the trade of war I have slain men,Yet do I hold it very stuff o’ the conscienceTo do not contrived murder: I lack iniquitySometimes to do me service.-Act I scene ii Speaker: IagoContext: To Othello when he’s telling him of bad things Brabantio said about OthelloTranslation: I have killed a lot of men in war, but I still believe it is wrong. Sometimes I think I’m not cruel enough to do this job.Figurative Language: Irony (Iago saying he’s nice)
Thus do I ever make my fool my purse.-Act I scene iii Speaker: IagoContext: In soliloquy after he convinced Roderigo to sell his land and give Iago the moneyTranslation: I always use Roderigo for money.Figurative Language: Metaphor (making Roderigo his purse)
The robbed that smiles, steals something from the thief.-Act I scene iii Speaker: DukeContext: To Brabantio in an effort to console him after the Duke has just agreed to let Desdemona go to Cyprus to be with OthelloTranslation: A robbery victim that smiles is superior to the thief.Figurative Language: Aphorism (teaching a life lesson)
But words are words; I never yet did hearThat the bruised heart was pierced through the ear.-Act I scene iii Speaker: BrabantioContext: To the Duke after the Duke after the Duke tries to give him adviceTranslation: Words are just words and can only do so much. I’ve never heard of someone’s heart being cured by someone’s words.Figurative Language: Verbal irony (Brabantio says this because he is hurt)
What has happened to the Turkish fleet? It was destroyed in a storm.
Which ship from Venice arrives first? The ship with Cassio.
Which ship arrives second? Why is it surprising that it arrives before Othello’s? The ship with Iago, Desdemona, Emilia, and Roderigo. This is surprising because it is assumed that Othello would have been ready to go and left first, whereas the others would have needed to pack their things.
What does the discussion between Desdemona and Iago tell us about their relationship? Desdemona and Iago hate each other, but have some level of respect for each other.
How does Cassio greet Desdemona and Emilia? He is very welcoming and flirtatious.
Why does Iago want Roderigo to anger Cassio? If Cassio gets mad and out of control, his qualifications may be called into question and Iago may be given the lieutenant position.
What evidence is Iago using to rationalize his plan? Is his evidence solid? He has observed that Desdemona and Cassio have “chemistry,” so he plans to use this against them. It is not very solid because Cassio is flirtatious with every woman because that is his nature.
What keeps Roderigo from seeing the truth instead of Iago’s lies? He is deeply in love with Desdemona.
What emotion seems to be governing Iago’s thoughts and actions? He is seeking revenge and is jealous and bitter.
How does Iago see Desdemona and how does Cassio see Desdemona? Iago sees her as sexual and promiscuous. Cassio sees her as beautiful and has a genuine respect and admiration for her.
Why does Iago want Cassio to drink more wine? He knows that Cassio gets out of control when he is drunk, so he is trying to make sure that Cassio gets to that point.
What is the outcome of Cassio’s drinking? He gets into a fight with Roderigo, then with Montano, a very important man in Cyprus.
What lie does Iago tell Montano about Cassio? He tells him that Cassio is always drunk and is a very heavy drinker.
Why does Iago want Cassio to ask Desdemona for help in restoring Othello’s faith in Cassio? If Cassio seeks Desdemona’s help, the two of them will have to spend lots of time together. Also, if Desdemona begins to defend Cassio to Othello, it will be suspicious.
How does Iago plan to get back in Othello’s good graces? He is going to report to Othello that Cassio is sleeping with Desdemona. He wants to seem like he feels bad for ratting Cassio out, but also that he has Othello’s best interest in mind.
What is Roderigo’s complaint and how does Iago answer it? He complains that he has no money, was beaten up by Cassio, and hasn’t gotten Desdemona yet. Iago tells him to be patient and that they’ve already gotten Cassio stripped of his rank, which is the first step in the plan.
Knavery’s plain face is never seen till us’d.-Act 2 scene i Speaker: IagoContext: In soliloquy after he had just convinced Roderigo to stick to his planTranslation: Foolery/evil is never noticed until it’s used.Figurative Language: Aphorism******
O! I have lost my reputation! I have lost the immortal part of myself, and what remains is bestial.-Act 2 scene ii Speaker: CassioContext: To Iago after he was stripped of his positionTranslation: I have lost my reputation! I have lost the only part of myself that would remain after I die, and what is left is barbaric.Figurative Language: hyperbole******
O thou invisible spirit of wine, if thou hast no name to be known by, let us call the devil!-Act 2 scene ii Speaker: CassioContext: To Iago after he was stripped of his positionTranslation: Spirit of wine, if you don’t already have a name, let us call you the devil!Figurative Language: Metaphor (comparing wine to the devil)
Come, come, good wine is a good familiar creature, if it be well used; exclaim no more against it.-Act 2 scene ii Speaker: IagoContext: To Cassio when he is trying to console him after he has lost his jobTranslation: Wine is a good thing when used properly; stop saying bad things about it.Figurative Language: Personification (wine is a creature)
Reputation is an idle and most false imposition; oft got without merit and lost without deserving.-Act 2 scene iii Speaker: IagoContext: To Cassio when he is trying to console him after he has lost his jobTranslation: Reputation isn’t a true indication of someone’s character; reputations are often boosted for no good reason and lost without deserving it.Figurative Language: Irony (Iago is obsessed with reputation)
Why does Cassio bring musicians? What is Othello’s response to them? Cassio is trying to get back on Othello’s good side. Othello is not in the mood and he pays them to stop playing and leave.
What does Emilia tell Cassio that Desdemona is already doing for him? She tells him that Desdemona is already defending him to Othello.
What responses do Iago and Othello have to seeing Cassio leave Desdemona? Othello brushes it off and doesn’t think much of it, but Iago makes a big deal out of it.
How successfully does Desdemona plead for Cassio? What is Othello’s response to Desdemona as she leaves? Desdemona isn’t very successful, and she mainly just annoys Othello. As he leaves, he says that she annoys him but he still loves her.
Why doesn’t Iago simply tell Othello right away that Desdemona and Cassio are having an affair? He wants to get inside Othello’s head first and make him paranoid and worked up. He also has no proof yet and doesn’t want to make himself look bad.
Othello’s love for Desdemona is solid, as can be seen through line 93 of Act III scene iii. Why does he become a man in “misery” in his next speech (III.iii.190)? What has moved him from love to jealousy? In between these two moments, it can be assumed Othello goes to dinner, where he sits and completely overthinks and overanalyzes the situation. He makes the decision himself to give into the rumors that Iago had planted.
How can anyone provide proof of fidelity? It can’t be proven; love is blind trust.
What thing does Emilia find and give to Iago? What does Iago intend to do with it? She finds Desdemona’s handkerchief that Othello had given to her. Iago plans to plant it in Cassio’s room to make it seem as though he slept with Desdemona.
What is Iago’s reply when Othello demanded proof of his wife’s disloyalty? Iago says that he heard Cassio say something in his sleep about Desdemona, and that he also saw Cassio wipe his beard with Desdemona’s handkerchief.
What does Othello decide and command at the end of scene iii? He wants Cassio dead within three days, and he vows to kill Desdemona. He also makes Iago his lieutenant.
What is Emilia’s relationship with Iago? Desdemona? She is married to Iago but knows nothing of his intentions or evil plans, as the two of them are not close at all. She is good friends with Desdemona.
What, according to Othello, is the history behind the handkerchief? Is Othello telling the truth here? What else might he be doing? The handkerchief was given to his dying mother by an old Egyptian woman. The handkerchief was supposedly made with blessed silk worms and dyed with the hearts of women who were then mummified. It is magical has the ability to control the love of the owner’s partner. If it is lost, the ex-owner will lose control of the ability to control their partners love and their partner will leave them for someone else. Othello is telling another one of his stories and it’s not true at all; he is telling it to get inside Desdemona’s head and make her feel guilty for losing it.
What does the argument in III.iv.90-100 show about both Othello and Desdemona? Othello is completely paranoid and believes Iago, while Desdemona has no clue why he’s mad and assumes it’s something related to work.
What is Emilia’s view of men (III.iv.120-123)? How justified is she? She says that they just use women until they’re done with them, then throw them away and find someone new. Because she can only speak from experience, which for her is marriage to Iago, she is justified in saying this.
Who is Bianca? What is her relationship to Cassio? What does he ask her to do? What is her emotional response? Sound familiar? How did Cassio get the handkerchief? She is Cassio’s “lover.” He asks her to copy the pattern of the handkerchief, and she gets very worked up and thinks that Cassio is cheating on her, which mirrors the entire plot of the play. Cassio got the handkerchief because he found it in his room where Iago had planted it.
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 flinches from me my good nameRobs me of that which not enriches him,And makes me poor indeed.-Act 3 scene iii Speaker: IagoContext: To Othello when trying to convince him of Desdemona’s disloyaltyTranslation: A person’s good name is the most valuable thing we have. If you steal my money, you have taken nothing from me. Everyone has money. If you steal my good name, you have taken something that does nothing for you, but I will have lost everything.Figurative Language: Metaphor (jewel of their souls)
O! Beware, my lord, of jealousy;It is the green-ey’d monster which doth mockThe meat it feeds on.-Act 3 scene iii Speaker: IagoContext: To Othello when trying to convince him of Desdemona’s disloyaltyTranslation: Beware, my lord, of jealousy; it is a monster that makes a fool out of peopleFigurative Language: Metaphor (jealousy is a monster), Personification (monster which doth mock)
Think’st thou I’d make a life of jealousy,To follow still the changes of the moonWith fresh suspicions? No; to be one in doubt,Is once to be resolved.-Act 3 scene iii Speaker: OthelloContext: To Iago when Iago first tries to convince him of Desdemona’s disloyalty, but Othello doesn’t believe him yetTranslation: Do you think I’d live my life being jealous, becoming suspicious of things as often as the moon changes faces? No, as soon as you start to doubt someone, you have made up your mind. Figurative Language: Metaphor (follow changes of the moon with fresh suspicions to changing the opinions of someone)
If she be false, O! then heaven mocks itself.-Act 3 scene iii Speaker: OthelloContext: In soliloquy after Iago has left and he still believes DesdemonaTranslation: Oh, if she is cheating on me then heaven can’t be real.Figurative Language: Personification (heaven mocks itself)
O curse of marriage,That we can call these delicate creatures ours,And not their appetites! I had rather be a toad,And live upon the vapor of a dungeon,Than keep a corner in the thing I loveFor others’ uses.-Act 3 scene iii Speaker: OthelloContext: In soliloquy after Iago has left and he still believes DesdemonaTranslation: Oh curse marriage! How can we call these delicate women our own when we can’t control their desires? I would rather be a toad and live in the dungeon than have to share the woman I love with others.Figurative Language: Hyperbole (rather be a toad)
Villain, 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.-Act 3 scene iii Speaker: OthelloContext: To Iago when he gets extremely mad at him for making him paranoidTranslation: You better prove that Desdemona is cheating on me. It better be proof that I can see, or else you’d rather have been born a dog than have to face my wrath.Figurative Language: Hyperbole (rather be born a dog)