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Othello Study Guide

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He was born in 1564. He wrote very many plays and stories, including but not limited to Romeo and Juliet, Hamlet, and Macbeth. At 18 he married Holly Wood star Anne Hathaway. He is considered by many to be the greatest writer in recorded history. He had two children, Hamnet and Judith. Hamnet died when he was 11. He died on April 23 1616. Historical Information about the period of publication King James the first disbanded the English Parliament. The first record of bottled spring water in England came into existence. King Charles X of Sweden is born. The Jamestown Massacre occurs when Algonquin kill 347 English colonists. Sumo wrestling becomes a professional sport in Japan. It was the middle of the renaissance, which was a rebirth in many fields. Its most notable advances were in arts. Characteristics of the Genre A tragedy is a drama in which most major characters die. It usually is an unjust ending. It sometimes unresolved conflicts. Characters have a loss of innocence throughout the story. A person of high standings has a decay of power or glory Plot Summary The play opens with Iago, an officer of the Venetian army, refusing (in the company of fellow officer Roderigo) to fully dedicate himself to the general of the Venetian army- a Moor, Othello.

He also claims his bitter resentment in the appointment of Cassio as Othello’s 1st lieutenant, saying how he believes Cassio to have slept with his wife. Rodrigo and Iago then report to the senator, Barbantio, and reveal how Desdemona, Barbantio’s daughter, has married herself to the Moor, Othello. Barbantio then accuses Othello of having abducted his daughter through means of sorcery and witchcraft. When approached by Brabantio, Desdemona claims her love for Othello and Barbantio disowns her. After this, the officers their wives were assigned to Cyprus to defend it from the Turkish fleet. When they arrive, Roderigo admits his love to Desdemona to Iago, who convinces him to liquidate his assets, making Roderigo Iago’s pawn. Iago later convinces Cassio to indulge in alcoholic substance to incite a brawl between him and Montano. Disgusted by this outrage, Othello strips Cassio of his title as 1st lieutenant, destroying Cassio’s good name. Iago convinces Cassio to then seek assistance with Desdemona to see if she will make it possible to revive Cassio’s positive reputation. Iago uses these closed encounters between Cassio and Desdemona to incite doubt in the eyes of Othello.

Iago takes possession of a handkerchief of valuable importance between Othello and Desdemona and plants it in Cassio’s quarters. When Othello discovers the handkerchief had been in Cassio’s possession, his suspicions of the adultery committed between Cassio and Desdemona are proven true in his eyes and he conspires to work with Iago to kill the both of them. Iago manipulates Roderigo to attempt to kill Cassio in a street brawl, but Roderigo fails. Iago then kills Roderigo to tie up any loose ends that might have resulted had Roderigo been questioned. During this time, Othello confronts Desdemona and, unphased by her presuming innocence, smothers her to death. Iago’s wife Emilia arrives a moment too late and calls for help. When the governor, Lodovico, arrives with Iago, Cassio, and other official figures, Emilia explains what Othello had done. Othello admits to his actions, saying how it was justified due to her adulterous actions. However, when he mentions the handkerchief, Iago’s wife realizes that Desdemona’s death was on the hands of Iago. She exposes him, whereupon Iago kills her. Now convinced of Desdemona’s innocence captures Iago, but doesn’t kill him.

Othello claims he would rather Iago live in pain then die, and, instead of killing Iago, kills himself. Iago is taken away, where it can be implied that Cassio, the new governor of Cyprus, will be personally involved in Iago’s torturing till the end of his life. That’s depressing. Describe the author’s style An example that demonstrates that style Shakespeare uses an iambic pentameter. This writing is constantly“This fellow’s of exceeding honesty, and knows all qualities with a learned spirit of human filled with dramatic irony. He often allows a character to be dealings. If I do prove her haggard, though that her jesses were my dear heartstrings, I’d audible with his/her thoughts to inform the audience. The whistle her off and let her down the wind to prey at fortune.” (pg. 1500 line 257-260) unfolding of the events allow the audience to know and understand what is happening but still leaving the characters in the dark to allow for strong and dramatic foreshadowing. Memorable Quotes Quotation Significance “Iago: you see this fellow that is gone before.

He’s a Iago is manipulating Montana into thinking that Cassio is an alcoholic and Othello is ignorant of soldier fit to stand by Caesar and give direction and do butCassio’s problem. This leads to Cassio’s demotion and unfriending which is a main cog in Othello’s see his vice tis to his virtue a just equinox the long as downfall. the other tis pity of him I fear the trust Othello puts him in on some odd time of his infirmity will shake this island.” (pg 1484 line 101) Iago “Men should be what they seem or those that be not, would they might seem none” (1496 line 127) Iago is manipulating Othello into suspecting Cassio of deceit. He is able to make it seem like Othello is asking for his opinion. This is the major point where a wedge begins to be driven between Othello Iago “To have a foolish wife” (1501 line 303) and Cassio and a bond forms for Othello and Iago He is mocking his wife because he hates women; however it’s ironic because she’s bringing him the key to his victory, also ironic because it’s mocking like this that helps her overthrow him later.

Iago “With her, on her what you will” (pg 1512 line 35) This is Iago telling Othello of Cassio’s bragging about Desdemona and him doing it, The crass imagery is intended to work on Othello’s brain and cause a fit. Othello “I am not sorry neither I’d have thee live forin my sense tis happiness to die” (pg 1540 line 286) Othello states his intentional reasoning for sparing Iago form death because, death would be release and now Iago has to stay behind and be tortured.  Characters Name Role in the Story Significance Adjectives Othello General of Venice marries Desdemona protagonist His passion allows Iago to manipulate him into killingBlack, passionate, commanding, brave Desdemona and firing Cassio. Othello’s wife and friend to Cassio Pure, faithful, sweet Desdemona She represents purity and faithfulness. She is the target of Iago’s deceit. Even when Othello has killed her she is still faithful. Senator and Desdemona’s father Old, sullen, racist  He feels betrayed by Desdemona’s marriage to Othello Barbantio and warns him of Desdemona’s future “betrayal.”

Antagonist who creates chaos and discord in the He is able to poison Othello’s mind against Cassio andManipulative, self-serving, ranks of the officers of the Venetian army Desdemona which leads to multiple deaths. hateful, tricky Iago Iago’s pawn and Desdemona’s Stalker Iago is able to manipulate him using his love for Gullible, lonely, naive Desdemona to further his own goal of destroying Othello. He is one of the main causes of Iago’s Roderigo downfall. Othello’s lieutenant and close friend Is honorable soldier and true friend but is vilified Honorable, honest, friendly to Othello by Iago’s deceit changing him into Othello’s target of jealousy  Cassio Iago’s wife, Desdemona’s servant She is at first very submissive to Iago’s demands but Submissive, loyal, depressing eventually her loyalty to Desdemona causes her to stand up and force Iago to face justice. Emilia  Setting Significance of opening scene The play opens with Roderigo and Iago discussing, Othello.

The scene opens in the middle of the conversation to give a sense of ongoing action. In this scene we The setting is 16th century Venice and Cyprus. There is a war going on against discover that Othello and Desdemona are secret lovers, that Roderigo is in love the Turks. In Venice it is traditional to appoint a foreigner as general. This iswith Desdemona and Iago is a manipulative trickster out for himself, and is why Othello, a moor, is the general. Additionally there is an extreme social devoted to destroying Othello. This scene establishes each characters motives and stigma about being a moor. Many consider them to be sorcerers and bad people. the setting also it provides a view of future events. Significance of ending/closing scene The play ends with the deaths of Othello, Emilia, Desdemona, Barbantio, Roderigo, and the condemnation of Iago to continuous torture. The significance of this scene is it knocks the play into the genre of tragedy since the conflict is resolved by the death of hero and many innocent people.

Othello also gives two signs that he still has his soul and is sorrowful because of the fact that he only wounded Iago instead of killing him and his speech about it being happiness to die. Symbols Desdemona is a symbol of purity. Black represents evil. The handkerchief is a symbol for loyalty. “Black rams tupping white ewes” represents evil black men having intercourse with innocent white women. Iago represents evil, Satan (deceiver), and mischievous villainy (like Loki). Casio is honor and valor. Emilia represents obedience and submission until the final act where she becomes  symbolic of resistance and self-reliance. Roderigo represents vulnerability to influence a naivety. Othello represents strength, righteous passion, corruption, and unrighteous passion.

Old AP Questions Possible Themes Trusting in those who have not earned it can lead to disaster. Loyalties should not be shaken by another’s testimony. Faith is destroyed by jealousy. Selfish honor can hold stronger ties than love. Passion can overwhelm logic and lead to suffering. True virtue and purity can survive others corruption. Submission of one person to another can aid in scheming. Murder destroys the soul. Deception once can lead to continued suspicions. Violence is not the answer.  The truth will come out the end. Corruption will eventually be seen. Lies can only stand for so long.

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