Shakespeare Final: Othello

Major characters Othello, Desdemona, Iago, Michael Cassio, Emilia, Roderigo,
Othello The play’s protagonist and hero. A Christian Moor and general of the armies of Venice, Othello 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.
Desdemona The daughter of the Venetian senator Brabanzio. Desdemona and Othello are secretly married before the play begins. While in many ways stereotypically pure and meek, Desdemona is also determined and self-possessed.
Iago Othello’s ensign (a job also known as an ancient or standard-bearer), and the villain of the play. Iago is twenty-eight years old.
Michael Cassio Othello’s lieutenant. Cassio is a young and inexperienced soldier, whose high position is much resented by Iago. Truly devoted to Othello, Cassio is extremely ashamed after being implicated in a drunken brawl on Cyprus and losing his place as lieutenant.
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, Roderigo is convinced that if he gives Iago all of his money, Iago will help him win Desdemona’s hand.
At the beginning of the play, what is Iago’s rank in Othello’s army? Ancient
Who are the Anthropophagi? Cannibals. Othello tells Desdemona about them.
Which nationality is praised for heavy drinking? English
Who gives the following warning? O, beware, my lord, of jealousy! It is the green-ey’d monster which doth mock The meat it feeds on. Lago, when he incites Othello to jealousy
How had Othello got the handkerchief he later gave to his wife? He received it from his mother.
Who defends herself in the following way? I am no strumpet, but of life as honest As you that thus abuse me. Bianca, in front of Emilia and Iago
Why did Desdemona’s father die prematurely? He grieved over her marriage.
What does Othello want Desdemona to do before he murders her? He wants her to pray.
What made one of the characters despair: I have lost the immortal part of myself, and what remains is bestial. My reputation, Iago, my reputation! His loss of rank in the army
When did Desdemona lose her handkerchief? When she was trying to ease Othello’s headache
How does Othello relate to his society? He is an outsider but also respected and admired.
In his final speech, what does Othello command Lodovico to do? Describe Othello as he was, without exaggerating or maligning him
Which aspects of Desdemona’s character are most contradictory? She is both dutiful and independent.
Which phrase best describes Iago’s character? His motivations are never entirely clear.
How is Desdemona like the play’s audience? She has to watch helplessly as Othello goes mad with jealousy.
Who is Desdemona’s father? Brabantio
What is the relationship between Iago and Emilia? Husband and wife
Which character’s speeches distort and foreshadow the main plot? Clown
Why does Roderigo agree to kill Cassio? He thinks it will help his chances with Desdemona.
How does Iago feel about Cassio? He envies Cassio’s position in Othello”s army.
Which two groups are at war in Othello? The Venetians and the Turks
What reason does Iago give at the beginning of the play for conspiring against Othello? Othello passed him over for a promotion.
Why does Othello have to go to Cyprus? To prepare defenses against the Turks.
Who does Iago frame as having an affair with Desdemona? Cassio
How does Desdemona die? Othello smothers her with a pillow.
What happens to Iago at the end of the play? He is sentenced to death.
What provides Othello with his sense of self-worth? His military prowess
How does the play present the experience of isolation? As dangerous and unsustainable
What do the descriptions of Othello as an animal reveal? The racism of the time
How is human evil represented in the play? As a force of nature
What does the handkerchief represent to Desdemona? Othello’s love