Othello Discussion Questions

In what ways did you or did you not connect with a character in the play? Did not connect with Othello for his willingness to condemn DesdemonaThey were in love and had such admiration for each otherShe committed “Treason of the blood” against her father for OthelloSo have sympathy for Desdemona and her kindness/naivety Na├»ve in terms of how her actions were facilitating Othello’s thoughtsLike towards Cassio”O, the more angel she, And you the blacker devil!””Moor, she was chaste; she loved thee, cruel Moor;””Her name, that was as fresh As Dian’s visage, is now begrimed and black As mine own face.”
What impression do you have of Brabantio? Initial sympathy for being deceived with Desdemona and Othello’s marriageEmpathetic for his worry about his daughter’s “delicate youth” being abused Introduces racist issues in the play about OthelloHe was infected by Iago and Roderigo’s racist languageStart to lose sympathy as the other characters support their marriageAfter he disowns Desdemona there is less sympathy”to love him would go against nature itself””For thy escape would teach me tyranny””sooty bosom””Treason of the blood””now dead”
What is the function of Cassio in the play? Cassio functions as Iago’s tool to manipulate OthelloCassio is flirtatious and overtly friendly relationship with the three women in the playIago is able to manipulate Cassio to appear as Desdemona’s partner in adulteryCassio and Desdemona are seen in intimate embraces and holding handsIago recognises that he can use this to his advantage Actions like taking the handkerchief, being flirtatious, giving the handkerchief to Bianca and going to Desdemona to beg for his job backCassio acts as a means that supports Othello’s idea that Desdemona is cheating on himHis character does not have significant monologues or scenes other than his downfall He functions as a facilitator, similarly to EmiliaA character who Iago can manipulate and ‘infect’ in order to support his goal
How do the stage directions help establish atmosphere? When Othello exits and Iago shares his true opinion – With Roderigo throughout the whole play – Like end of Act 1 Scene 3 where he reminds him that “[he] hates the Moor” – Cassio Act 1 Scene 2 – tries to tell him that Othello and Desdemona are married Iago leaves before Brabantio can see him in Act 1 Scene 1Creates tension and secrecy, as well as scandal and duplicity
How does Shakespeare manipulate and play with time over the course of the play? Comment with examples. Dramatic expansion – Act 2 Scene 3Analepsis – reveal Othello’s past in Act 1 Scene 3
How well do you think Shakespeare handles the transition between one time and another? Rhyming couplet to signify the end of a scene/discussionEntry/exits to signify that there is a shift between time
Can you identify some Shakespeare’s use of dramatic conventions that you find to be particularly effective? Soliloquys Dramatic expansionForeshadowingAnalepsis Concealment
Imagery in Othello reinforces our understanding of the main characters. What images do you connect with key characters in Othello and why? Light and dark imagery – contrast Desdemona and OthelloBestial imagery – Iago uses a lot in his language and infects others with
Foreshadowing A tragedy is the downfall of a manAudience goes to watch Othello knowing he is going to have a downfall and the play ends in, ironically, tragedyAudience goes to see how Othello’s downfall is unravelled Foreshadowing is the technique which Shakespeare uses to demonstrate and allude to the downfall at the end of the playAct 1 Scene 3 – “She loved me for the dangers I had passed, And I loved her that she did pity them” – Foreshadows their downfall as they have highly disparate backgrounds – Very different charactersBrabantio foreshadows what Othello believed was Desdemona’s infidelity by saying that “she has deceived her father and may thee”.Act 4 Scene ___ – “That song tonight will not go from my mind” – Foreshadows Desdemona’s death – She knows that Othello is at breaking point – Sings the Willow Song – traditional symbol of lost love
Analepsis Act 1 Scene 3 revealing Othello’s pastAct 1 Scene 1 revealing Roderigo’s past advances for Desdemona
Concealment Act 1 Scene 1 – Othello is concealed from Brabantio’s view so that his true role is not understood