Othello Test

Othello The play’s protagonist and hero. A Christian Moor and general of the armies of Venice, he is an eloquent and physically powerful figure, respected by all those around him. In spite of his elevated status, he is nevertheless easy prey to insecurities because of his age, his life as a soldier, and his race. He possesses a “free and open nature,” which his ensign Iago uses to twist his love for his wife, Desdemona, into a powerful and destructive jealousy (I.iii.381).
Desdemona The daughter of the Venetian senator Brabanzio. She and Othello are secretly married before the play begins. While in many ways stereotypically pure and meek, she is also determined and self-possessed. She is equally capable of defending her marriage, jesting bawdily with Iago, and responding with dignity to Othello’s incomprehensible jealousy.
Iago Othello’s ensign (a job also known as an ancient or standard-bearer), and the villain of the play. He is twenty-eight years old. While his ostensible reason for desiring Othello’s demise is that he has been passed over for promotion to lieutenant, his motivations are never very clearly expressed and seem to originate in an obsessive, almost aesthetic delight in manipulation and destruction.
Cassio Othello’s lieutenant. He is a young and inexperienced soldier, whose high position is much resented by Iago. Truly devoted to Othello, he is extremely ashamed after being implicated in a drunken brawl on Cyprus and losing his place as lieutenant. Iago uses his youth, good looks, and friendship with Desdemona to play on Othello’s insecurities about Desdemona’s fidelity.
Emilia Iago’s wife and Desdemona’s attendant. A cynical, worldly woman, she is deeply attached to her mistress and distrustful of her husband.
Roderigo A jealous suitor of Desdemona. Young, rich, and foolish, he is convinced that if he gives Iago all of his money, Iago will help him win Desdemona’s hand. Repeatedly frustrated as Othello marries Desdemona and then takes her to Cyprus, he is ultimately desperate enough to agree to help Iago kill Cassio after Iago points out that Cassio is another potential rival for Desdemona.
Bianca A courtesan, or prostitute, in Cyprus. Her favorite customer is Cassio, who teases her with promises of marriage.
Brabanzio Desdemona’s father, a somewhat blustering and self-important Venetian senator. As a friend of Othello, he feels betrayed when the general marries his daughter in secret.
Montano The governor of Cyprus before Othello. We see him first in Act II, as he recounts the status of the war and awaits the Venetian ships.
Lodovico One of Brabanzio’s kinsmen, he acts as a messenger from Venice to Cyprus. He arrives in Cyprus in Act IV with letters announcing that Othello has been replaced by Cassio as governor.
Graziano Brabanzio’s kinsman who accompanies Lodovico to Cyprus. Amidst the chaos of the final scene, he mentions that Desdemona’s father has died.
-Mix of yes and no -any father would be upset that his little girl runs off to marry someone she doesn’t know and the fact that Othello is black makes it even worse for him-always refer to Othello as a Moor-which makes him sound as less -Brabantio says that it’s against human nature for a white and a black to get married-Brabantio questioned why Desdemona fell in love with Othello if he is black-Father is racist -Another example of discrimination in the play: barrier against men and women -call them whores, assuming they have done something when they really haven ONE: Brabantio protests the marriage of his daughter, Desdemona, to Othello, claiming Othello used “spells and medicines” to dull her senses so that she would marry “against all rules of nature.” Do you think the real reason for Brabantio’s protest is the due to Othello’s race? Agree or Disagree. Use passages from the play to support your answer.
-Desdemona and Juliet marry someone who is unliked-Both of their loves were not approved of Othello and Desdemona: race, Romeo and Juliet: families-Chaos occurs bc of Othello’s jealousy towards Desdemona whereas in Romeo and Juliet, chaos occurs bc of their love for one another-both of the couples die due to misunderstandings -in Othello, the misunderstanding could have been avoided but in Romeo and Juliet, it couldn’t have been avoided-both couples die together TWO: True love sometimes requires courage. In what ways are Othello and Desdemona similar to Romeo and Juliet? In what ways are they dissimilar?
THREE: Shakespeare often shows that all things are not what they seem. If Othello was such a great general, a man who could read the mind of his enemy, why was he so easily deceived by Iago?
-two climaxes: in the second definition: the climax is when Othello finally decides to kill Desdemona-overall climax: act 5 with the anticipation of the death of each character -first definition: act 3 once iago has really convinced othello to believe him about Desdemona’s disloyalty-literary terms: foreshadowing in act three that foreshadows to act 5-Othello was done with everything and just wanted his situation to be over-that is why he turned to murder instead of communication -also, since he was the general of the army, killing was what he was used to turning to when he was faced with a difficult situation FOUR: The climax of a play or another literary work can be defined as (1) the turning point at which the conflict begins to resolve itself for better or worse, or as (2) the final and most exciting event in a series of events. What is the climax of Othello? Explain with literary terms how the plot builds up to this moment.
-situational irony, dramatic irony, verbal irony-situational irony: you would expect othello to rise up above everything because he is this great general -situation irony: when Roderigo is supposed to kill Cassio but he fails and Iago has to step in and kills Roderigo and says that he saved Cassio-dramatic irony: the audience knows that iago is secretly the one making all the drama-dramatic irony: Desdemona is innocent all along and Iago is the one who is not-verbal irony: kind of like sarcasm -iago when talking to othello: “My Lord, you know I love you”-irony: othello was too trusting but the one person who he should’ve trusted (Desdemona) was the one person he did not trust-situational irony: othello kills desdemona bc he thinks she is not loyal to him but really he keeps doubting her and he is the one who is not loyal to her FIVE: Explain the three types of Irony with examples from Othello.
-jealousy is the reason that everything begins- without Iago’s jealousy of Cassio’s position, nothing would have played out the way it did -Othello’s jealousy and doubts caused him to murder Desdemona-Brabantio is jealous of the couple bc he is Desdemona’s father-bc Roderigo is jealous of Othello’s and Desdemona’s relationship, he helps Iago ruin everyone’s lives-Jealousy is one of Othello’s tragic flaws (along with other things like rage) SIX: Explore the theme of Jealousy and how it plays a role in Othello.
-yes, tragic flaws: jealousy, too trusting, prideful (not boastful but one ex is that he loves desdemona bc he loves the attention he gets from her)-yes, to be a tragic hero u have to be a hero and he is a hero in the army-hamartia: insecurity which leads to his downfall -othello says he is not jealous bc his wife chose him -but then he says away at once with this jealousy -he is saying he is not jealous but at the same time he is wishing for his jealousy to go away -he does not want to be a cuckold bc that is a great shame-emilia is another tragic hero: she is the one who figures everything out in the end-Desdemona is another tragic hero: audience feels pity for her and her tragic flaw that brings her down is misunderstanding-cassio is another tragic hero: was a hero, gets attacked even though he does nothing wrong SEVEN: Do you believe Othello to be a Tragic Hero (see characteristics)? Why or why not? Who are his foils?
-Iago is clever in the sense that he knows how to gain someone’s trust. Othello believes that Iago follows him and has the best intentions for him, but Iago has a different plan and different motivations. Iago stays quiet in many situations, such as when he went to Brabantio with Roderigo and revealed that Othello and Desdemona had married each other. He is careful to keep his act of loyalty to Othello. He thinks things through and knows what each character’s weakness is. What complexity and cleverness do you see in Iago in this first scene? Pay attention to what he says (and does not say) and who he speaks to. What ambitions does he have? What motivates him?
Othello weakness is clearly the color of his skin, which makes him unsuitable to marry Desdemona. Some men, such as the men that fight with him, look at him with admiration and respect. Other people, such as Brabantio, look at him as less than others because he is African American. His skin color affects his life and how he is viewed. Othello also has strengths. He is courageous and looked at with respect from some people, like the Duke. Othello is strong, humble, and respectful. He is also ignorant, too open to people, and gullible. Brabantio is right to be upset with him because Desdemona is his daughter and as a father, his situation must be hard. What do you think of Othello in this second scene? What are his strengths and weaknesses? How do the other men view him? Is Brabantio right to be upset with him? How important is his skin color?
-Physically, Othello is stronger. He is a great military leader who is known for his victories. Mentally, Iago is stronger. He thinks all of his plans through and makes complex decisions. Socially, Iago is stronger because he knows exactly what to say to make someone feel a certain way. I think that Othello is the stronger character. He is unafraid, sincere, loving, driven, and stands up for what he wants. Compare and contrast Othello with Iago. In all possible senses, who is the stronger character? (Think about their strength in many terms, such as physical, mental, social, character, etc.)
-Iago’s plan is to make Othello think that Desdemona is having an affair with Cassio. This will all add up to his final plan, which is to take Othello’s position. In this second act, Iago begins to hatch a plan. What is the plan? Why does he undertake it? What does he hope to gain? What do you think about Iago’s actions?
-It is both Iago’s and Cassio’s fault. Although Iago set up the plan to make Cassio get drunk and make a fool of himself, Cassio should have still had some self-control. Whose fault is it when people such as Cassio do bad things? There are two sides here. Is Cassio at fault or Iago? Please explain the arguments for both and explain which is more convincing to you.
-Cassio is being looked at as suspicious by Othello, who believes there might be something going on between Desdemona and him. Iago hints at this and makes Othello believe it. Iago is being looked at as suspicious by Roderigo, who paid Iago and thought he would stick to their plan of letting him have Desdemona. Iago is also being looked at upon as suspicious by the audience, who realizes his evil plans and plots. Now, it looks like Iago is only out for himself. Desdemona is being looked at as suspicious by Othello. Iago convinces Othello to believe that there may be something going on with Cassio and Desdemona. Now, Othello believes that Desdemona is not being loyal to him. In this scene all the major characters (Cassio, Iago, and Desdemona) might be considered suspicious by some of the others. For each, explain the suspicious activity and who might view them as suspicious.
-Iago tempts Othello and convinces him to be suspicious of Desdemona by saying that Cassio had dreamt about Desdemona and was using the handkerchief that Iago had gifted Desdemona. Iago suggested Cassio should talk to Emilia who could convince Desdemona to talk to Cassio, who can give Cassio his position back. Othello is too easily convinced. He should trust his wife more than any friend How does Iago tempt Othello and convince him to be suspicious of Desdemona? Iago uses several linguistic and argumentative tactics to turn Othello from a faithful to jealous husband. Identify and discuss a few. Is Othello too easily convinced or mentally outmatched? Explain.
-Race, personality, and title wise, both Desdemona and Othello are very different. But like most romances, the relationship is odd. Othello is motivated to keep their relationship, no matter how he is looked upon by Desdemona’s father or others. Desdemona is motivated to love Othello because of his life stories. I do not think they are right for each other. I don’t think they’ve known each other long enough and I think their love is short-lived. Contrast Othello with Desdemona. How different are they? What motivates them? Are they right for each other? Should they have never have married? Back up your opinion with examples from the play.
Othello has two fits of epilepsy. Iago responds by asking Cassio to stay away from him. What happens to Othello in Scene 1? How does Iago respond?
Iago tricks Othello into thinking Cassio is gloating and bragging about his affair with Desdemona by talking about Bianca with Cassio and telling Othello that they were speaking about Cassio and Desdemona’s relationship. How does Iago trick Othello into thinking Cassio is gloating and bragging about his affair with Desdemona?
Bianca is angry with Cassio because she thinks the handkerchief that Cassio gave her was given to him by another woman. Why is Bianca angry with Cassio?
Bianca’s return with the handkerchief helps Iago because it gives him physical proof for Othello, who believes Desdemona returned with the handkerchief, not Bianca. How does Bianca’s return with the handkerchief help Iago?
Othello hits Desdemona because Iago has given him so much “proof” toward Cassio and Desdemona’s affair. Othello’s jealousy and painful mind takes over to where he must confront Desdemona, but not in the right way. Why does Othello hit Desdemona?
Lodovico is a messenger from Venice who has come to deliver news to Othello. He has come to Cyprus to tell Othello that he is needed back in Venice and since there is no imminent harm to Cyprus, Cassio can lead the rest of the men while Othello is gone. Who is Lodovico, and why has he come to Cyprus?
Lodovic reacts like any man who does not know the whole story. The only behavior Lodovico has seen is Othello’s cranky mood and terrible unnecessary hit toward Desdemona, who is innocent and does not know the reason of this abuse either. He is confused and disgusted that any commander, especially as entitled and powerful as Othello, would hit his wife, especially in public. What is Lodovico’s reaction to Othello’s behavior towards Desdemona?
Iago refuses to answer Lodovico’s questions of why Othello’s attitude has changed so much. Iago tells Lodovico that he must see for himself how Othello has changed into a completely different person who does not have self-control. How does Iago later explain Othello’s behavior to Lodovico?
Othello asks Emilia about Cassio’s affair with Desdemona to try and get more answers about the situation. Emilia says that Desdemona has been faithful to him and has done nothing suspicious. Why does Othello ask Emilia about Cassio’s affair with Desdemona, and what is her reply?
That he is a moor. What does Othello believe his weakness is in Scene 2?
Desdemona turns to Emilia. She trusts Emilia and decides to pour her whole heart out and reveal her undying love to this terrible Othello. She continues that she would rather stay with Othello even though he has transformed into this jealous and abusive wreck because she still loves him no matter what. To whom does Desdemona turn for help after Othello calls her a strumpet?
Iago tells Roderigo to kill Cassio because that is the main way to get back into Desdemona’s life. Though this does not make full sense to Roderigo, he follows along with Iago’s plan. Little does Roderigo know that Iago really just finds this convenient to take out someone else he hates: Cassio. Why does Iago tell Roderigo to kill Cassio?
If men cheat all the time, then women should be allowed to commit infidelity, as well. Emilia stresses that a woman does not cheat on her husband until she has been cheated on by her husband. To what does Emilia attribute the fact that women betray their husbands?

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