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Our Hero Study: Focus on Othello

Othello has been studied for centuries. We are about to join this long literary history with our own ideas about Shakespeare's masterpiece.

1. Reflect on the Play and Share these Thoughts: On certain nights, you will have a reflection topic that asks you to think about the play. On other nights, you will explore and react to classmates' reflections. In the end, you will have created together a web of thinking.

2. Join and Participate in a Character Forum: You are responsible for posting important quotes said by or said about your character as well as reactions to quotes posted by others. By the end of the play, you must post a total of 5 new quotes (with correct citations) and 10 thoughtful reactions (a direct reference to the posting plus a well-explained new idea you have) to others' postings.
** Final Posting:  In one sentence, state what you believe your character's superobjective is. Then comment on another member's superobjective statement.

3. Join the Conversation: Write an academic journal article about the character you have followed throughout the play. See the guidelines on Veracross.
** Please post your first draft as an attachment to a new blog post (titled clearly so that we know it is your draft).  Include in the draft 2 or more specific questions you would like your readers to give you feedback on.

4. Publish Your Article: When you have your final academic article all done, please post it to the "Academic Articles" forum. Here we will be able to read, learn from, and enjoy everyone's thoughts and insights. (Don't forget to also upload your article to TurnItIn!)

Additional Information

You can find all of the discussions we will do to the left under "Forum."  You can find our class pet right here:

Othello Activities

Reflection #1: Weave a story around the improvisations you did today using the following complications: the lover is black and the girlfriend is white; there is a significant difference in social background between the two; and of what ethnic origin is the friend? (remember you are commenting on others' blogs too)

Reflection #2:

1. Why do Iago, Roderigo, and Brabantio hate the man they are discussing?     

2. What reasons does Iago give for continuing to follow his master?                 

3. What kind of person do you expect the man they are discussing to be? How do you imagine him? Count the number of times the word “Moor” is used in I.i. Can you draw any conclusions?

Reflection #3:

1. Describe Othello now that we have me him (think about scene ii and iii). Which type of actor would you choose to play the role? Find a picture that resembles your idea of Othello and upload it to our photos                              

2. Iago swears in I.ii.33, “By Janus.” Janus is a Roman 2-faced god. Give examples of Iago’s 2-faced behavior. How might an actor convey this?

3. Desdemona makes her first appearance in this scene. What is your impression of her personality? Quote a couple of lines to support your opinion. If you were a director, what actor, or type of actor, would you cast in the part? Upload to our photos a picture that represents your image of her.

Reflection #4: Let's have fun with Shakespeare's language on our own after all of the in-class practice today. Reread the last section of I.iii (301-398), concentrating on Iago’s soliloquy starting at line 377. Now write a loose paraphrase of his speech. Be Iago: use first-person; put his words in natural, modern speech avoiding limp/hackneyed four-letter words; and if need be, be Shakespeare and make up your own very fitting words. Can you capture Iago's powerful language in your own powerful way?

Reflection #5: Instead of writing a new blog, read classmates’ blogs and comment specifically on things that taught you something or your found particularly well-done.

Reflection #6: Let's explore our thinking now. Start your blog with "I noticed ..." and continue with whatever is striking you about your understanding of this play.  Ask questions if you have them, explore a quote that particularly resonates with you, react to the plot, think about a character ... basically, ponder and share (Remember: "Why must we think?"? Our answer might be: "Because we like to!"). Once you have written your blog, explore your classmates' posts, commenting as the mood strikes you.

The Temptation Scene in Relay: III.iii.90-480

Scene 1:  Charlie, Elma

  • III.iii.90-213  ("Excellent Wretch" through "I'll not believe't")  Iago starts to poison Othello's mind about Desdemona’s fidelity, and Othello begins to believe Iago’s hints.
  • Roles:  Othello and Iago
  • Directions:  Emphasize the irony of the words and who is speaking. Aggressively cut down some of Iago’s and Othello’s longer speeches.

Scene 2:  Mary Grace, Alina, Dolce, Michael

  • III.iii.214-333  ("I see this has dashed a little your spirits” through "Which thou owedst yesterday")  Othello begins to believe Iago's hints and is struggling with his belief in his wife's honesty.  The handkerchief is put into play …
  • Roles:  Othello, Iago, Desdemona, and Emilia
  • Directions:  In the speech beginning at line 228 (from "Ay, there's the point!"), Iago suggests that Desdemona's choice of Othello is unnatural.  What are the implications of this?  How will the person playing Othello react nonverbally?  Use the class handkerchief.  Since what happens in this scene sets in motion a series of events that result in catastrophe, figure out carefully how Othello rejects the handkerchief, how and why Desdemona lets it fall, and how Emilia reacts when she picks it up.  Where does Emilia hold the handkerchief when she sees Iago coming?  What motivates her to offer it to him after all?  What is her objective, and how will the actor make it clear?  How is the handkerchief passed between them -- Iago takes it or Emilia hands it?

Scene 3:  Wyatt, Matt

  • III.iii.333-480  ("Ha! Ha! False to me?" through "I am your own forever”)  Othello expresses increasing conviction that Desdemona is betraying him. Becoming even bolder, Iago fabricates a story about how Cassio in his sleep revealed his affair with Desdemona.
  • Roles:  Othello and Iago
  • Directions:  Speculate about why Othello insists to Iago, “Villain, be sure thou prove my love a whore! / Be sure of it.  Give me the ocular proof."  Consider the irony of his demand.  How can this be conveyed by the actors?  Then work out how to kneel and rise.  What props will you use?

Five Statements

Here are five statements about the play – opinions, not facts, that have been voiced by various critics.  Some of these you will agree with, some not, though some are not as obvious as they may seem at first.

1.  Othello’s real problem is his own jealousy.

2.  It is very important to the play for Othello to be black.

3.  Desdemona is not a wimp.  She is a soldier’s wife and fit to be so.  She has good sense, stubbornness, and courage.  She can stand up to Othello for the sake of what she thinks is right, even when he is in a dangerous mood and few people would care to face him.

4.  Iago is not a “motiveless malignity” as he has been called – a devil that does evil for its own sake.  He has a thirst for power and the wit to contrive a way to get it.  Desdemona’s death is a side effect he did not really intend.

5.  Iago’s cleverness is not total.  He builds into the intricate structure of his plot a piece of terrible stupidity: he fails to understand his wife.

 
 
 

Photos

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Blog Posts

Iago Character Analysis Essay

Questions:

One question is included in the text next to the indention and "Peer Editors" about 2/3 of the way through

Do you like the Horney's Theory at the end as a strong conclusion or should I bring it around in the beginning and…

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Posted by Mike Murphy on March 26, 2015 at 11:21pm

Academic Article Rough Draft on Othello

Othello.docx

Questions.

What suggestions do you…

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Posted by Wyatt Falcone on March 26, 2015 at 1:53pm — 1 Comment

Academic Article: Way Rough Draft

In my opinion, Desdemona's superobjective was to be true to herself, her beliefs, and her love to Othello.:…

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Posted by Dolce Lindsey on March 26, 2015 at 1:30pm — 3 Comments

Academic Article: Rough Draft concerning Iago

Questions:

1. Any suggestions for making my conclusion stronger?

2. Do you think I need more quotes especially for my later paragraphs?

3. Do I do a good enough job of relating my arguments and examples to my thesis at the…

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Posted by Elma Adusei on March 26, 2015 at 12:54pm

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