Othello notes

Four types of Shakespeare drama Comedy, tragedy, romance, history
Greek drama No villans
Roman drama Villans
Elizabethan drama Villans main characters
MacBeth Villans is main character
Othello Villans and lead character are separate
Prime example of Aristotelian drama Focuses on small cast of characters following a linear plot line
Tragic hero A gullible hero deceived by a manipulative melodramatic villan
Vice figure Character of iago represents a vice figure found in morality plays. Speaks more lines than any other character.
morality plays Many critics believe that othello is a morality play. Type of allegory popular in mid ages. In morality plays a protagonist meets personifications of the seven deadly sins and must choose good over evil.
Unheard of for time Marriage bed on stage
Structure of play Plot is straight forward, no subplots linear direction race against time
Stereotypes of blackness Evil, savage, bestial, devil, hyper sexual
Black a moor A dark skinned person from Northern Africa. North African Muslim. Refers to Morris control over Spain.
miscegenation interracial marriage with interracial children
The Slave Trade Othello was written 1603 which corresponds to beginning of slave trade
Othello status as alien or stranger 1. Black men in Venice 2. As a soldier past life of aggression turned husband 3. Older man with younger wife
Two great fears of Elizabethan society 1. Fears of outsiders for white men2. Fear of being a cuckold
Historical background Written a century after muslims were driven out of Spain. Obvious threats of hostility within play about othello Moorish origins.
Venice City of reason
Cyprus Wilderness
turkey (/ˈtɜː.ki/) Darkness enemy
Sonnet time, it consists of 14 lines, has a specific beat and rhyme scheme, ends with a couplet. Shakespeare is known for his 154 sonnets and he is for the 37 plays he wrote
Couplet A of two consecutive lines of poetry that rhyme. usually have the same meter, and he often uses couplets 9 Shakespeare’s couplets to close a conversation or scene. Example: What cannot be preserved when fortune takes Patience her injury a mockery makes. (1.3.236-237)
lambic pentameter the ‘beat’ or rhythm of the line -5 pairs of syllables in which the first syllable is unstressed & the second is stressed. (da DUM da DUM da DUM da DUM da DUM) Examples: Farewell/ the tran/quil mind, farewell,/ content But soft/what light through yon/der win/dow breaks!
Blank verse This is the common form of verse (poetry) in Shakespeare’s plays. The characteristics of blank verse are: a. unrhymed lines the end of most lines do NOT rhyme b. iambic pentameter this is the “beat” of the line -5 pairs of syllables in which the first syllable unstressed and the second is stressed
Aside An aside a short remark that a character makes on stage, which is directed at the audience and not intended to be heard by the other characters on stage. An example of an aside is in Act 2 Scene when lago comments about his plan to take revenge on Othello O, you are well tuned now But I’l set down the pegs that make this music, As honest as I am. (2.1.218-220)
SOLILOQUY A speech given by a character when he is alone. Like an aside this is only the audience to hear. Unlike the aside, when a soliloquy is spoken, there are no other a speech given by a character when he is alone. Like an aside, this is intended characters stage. An example of a soliloquy in Othello occurs at the end of Act 1 Scene 3 (after Roderigo exits) when lago explains his reasons for taking revenge on Cassio and Othello.
Monolouge – a long, uninterrupted speech that a character speaks in front of other characters on stage. Othello’s speech to the Duke, Brabantio, and the Venetian senators in Act Scene 3 about how he and Desdemona fell in love is example of a monologue.
Cuckhold Man whose wife has been unfaithful to him
verbal irony occurs when what is said contradicts what is meant or thought
dramatic irony (n) The audience knows something that a character of the play does not
Imagery visually descriptive or figurative language, especially in a literary work.
Foreshadowing the use of hints and clues to suggest what will happen later in a plot
Oxymorons combinations of contradictory words. Ex. chaotic organization
Dualities in othello Black vs White
Cassio quote about reputation Reputation, reputation… I have lost the immortal part of myself and what remains is bestial.
Iago response to Cassio reputation rant Reputation is an idle and most false imposition, oft go without merit, and lost without deserving.
Oxymoron example Excellent wretch
How does Iago persuade othello of desdemonas infidelity? Uses of rhetoric. Rhetoric: art of using language to communicate effectively and persuasively. Iago convinces othello of his love and honesty and gives othello control. Nonchalant voice. Ownership, allows othello to finish his own thoughts. Interrupts if he doesn’t like where the convo is going. Has total control of the convo. Repetition or echoing. Withholding info that doesn’t exist. Providing earnest advice.
OXYMORON OXYMORON Terms used together that seem to contradict one another honorable murderer, fatal sweetness, heavenly sorrow, murderous love, cruel tears
Pun play on words; a joke based on the different meanings of a word or a joke based on words that sound alike but have different meanings. Shakespeare loved using puns in his plays, and his audiences loved hearing them. Example: Cassio referring to Desdemona: She that I spake of, our great captain’s captain (2.1.82)
PERSONIFICATION Giving non-human things human qualities or abilities. Example: lago speaking to Othello in Act 3 Scene 3: O beware, my lord, of jealousy! It is the green-ey’d monster which doth mock The meat it feeds on. (3.3.195-197)
CLASSICAL ALLUSION a reference to ancient heroes and gods in Greek & Roman mythology. These classic stories were popular in Shakespeare’s time, and he referred to them allusions in many of his plays. Example: Great Jove, Othello guard And swell his sail with thine own pow’rful breath (2.1.85-86) (In this example, Cassio refers to Jove or Jupiter, the supreme god in Roman mythology)
LITERARY ALLUSION – a reference to something in literature. Example: In Othello, Shakespeare makes numerous references to the Bible. In modern times, there are also endless examples of books, plays, and poems in which the author refers to characters, phrases, or themes from Shakespeare
DRAMATIC IRONY- The audience knows something that a character in the play does not. Example: Othello consistently addresses lago as “honest lago.” Of course, Othello does not know that Iago is leading Othello to believe through trickery and deception that Desdemona has been unfaithful. The audience has witnessed lago’s lies and tricks in a way Othello cannot, since he has not been “watching” the rest of the play.
SIMILE Comparing two unlike things using the words “like” or “as” to create a new image. Example: Iago speaking about Othello’s character at the end of Act 1 Scene 3 The moor is of free and open nature, That thinks men honest that seem but to be so, And will be as tenderly led by th’ nose, as asses are. (1.3.442-445)
CHARACTERIZATION The methods an author uses to reveal a character’s personality to the audience or reader. A character can also be constructed in different ways based on WHO is describing the person. Therefore, as an audience member or reader, you need to incorporate all points of view in order to understand the author’s complete characterization of each person. Example: lago consistently refers to Othello as the Moor, and uses animal imagery to describe him. So from lago’s perspective, Othello is offensive and beast-like. However, Othello is described very differently by other characters such as the Duke and the Senators. To them, Othello is adventurous, brave, trustworthy, and honorable
PLOT: CONFLICT/COMPLICATION The conflict is the dramatic struggle between two forces in a story. Without conflict, there is no plot. Example: The essential conflict in Othello results from Othello and Desdemona’s decision to elope and their attempt to be together despite significant discrepancies in race, upbringing, and age. The jealous lago then uses their love and marriage as a tool to take revenge on Othello and Cassio using a complicated web of deception.
Desdemona last words No one. I️ did it

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