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Othello: Act 1 & 2

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Tegan Voros

on 3 October 2014

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Transcript of Othello: Act 1 & 2

Othello: Act 1 & 2
Act 1
- Roderigo attempts to win over Desdemona who has secretly wed Othello.
-Iago advises Roderigo to turn Brabantio (Desdemona's father) against Othello.
-Iago did not receive a promotion from Othello which stems his hate for him.
-The two men tell Brabantio that Desdemona has ran away with Othello.
- Brabantio believes Othello has used dark magic on his daughter but Desdemona defends their love.
- Othello leaves for Cyprus.
Summary
Use of Names in Othello
Desdemona-
Ill- fated
Destined for misfortune, the unlucky one. Derived from Greek word, dysdaimon.
Iago -
Supplanter
Galican and Welsh form of the name Jacob which means to supplant - "one who wrongfully or illegally seizes and holds the place of another"
Evovled from latin word "supplantare"meaning "to trip up or to overthrow"
Act 2
-
Iago convinces Roderigo that Cassio also likes Desdemona and convinces Roderigo to pick a fight with him.
- Iago actually wants to sleep with Desdemona because he believes Othello has slept with his wife.
- Cassio becomes drunk and goes after Rodrigo but ends up stabbing Montano.
- Cassio's job is endangered when Othello sees what has happened.
- Iago tells Cassio to talk to Desdemona for help in getting his job back meanwhile allowing Othello to become suspicious of their relationship.
Othello was not named after his personality, but rather a historical figure that he resembles.
Shakespeare has a tendency to give his characters names after their personality, or actions they display in the play.
Othello-
named after Roman Emperor, Otho
Emperor Otho and Othello suffer similar stories. Otho's wife was taken by Emperor Nero who ends up killing her. Otho also committed suicide, paralleling the way in which Othello died.
Othello is actually referred to as "the Moor" many times in the play instead.
Example:

Iago.
'He, in good time, must his lieutenant be, And I- God bless the mark!- His Moorship's ancient" (1.1.33-34)
Iago is speaking of Cassio's promotion and instead of referring to Othello as his lordship he is using a play on words and calling it "Moorship". This signifies the fact that Iago sees Othello as a basically just a Moor, although he holds a good title.
It seems as if Shakespeare had an underlying connection between the naming of his characters and the stereotype that follows Othello throughout the play.

Seeing as many characters are named after exactly how they are portrayed in the play, it is interesting to note that the name, Othello, means nothing and he is merely portrayed as having the stereotypical qualities of a Moor.

This is displayed by both the actors list where there is no mention of his title, General of the Army, instead only
"The Moor" and also by the lack of use of his name, Othello, and rather the abundant use of the nickname by most characters.
Discussion Questions
1. To what extent do the Moor stereotypes further the plot of the play? If Othello had not been hindered by the stereotypes forced upon him, would Iago be able to carry out his plan as effectively?

2. What is your opinion on how Shakespeare gives his characters such obvious names? Do these names help the audience’s understanding of the play or are they, for lack of a better term, plot spoilers? Why do you think he chose to do this?

3. What effect do you think the stereotypes in Othello have on the audience’s view of Moors and other foreigners when it was performed in the early 1600s? Do you think their views changed? If so, changed for the better or the worse?

Moors are stereotyped to be hot-blooded and passionate and are suspected of using dark magic.
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