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Regina Esposito

on 22 February 2014

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Transcript of Othello


Internal conflicts:
Othello vs. himself: Othello doesn't trust Desdemona, though this mostly comes from his own insecurities, which is why he is so easily manipulated by Iago
External conflicts:
Iago vs. Othello: Iago hates Othello and plots his downfall
Iago vs. Cassio: Iago is insanely jealous of Cassio and works to destory his repuation as well as his friendship with Othello

The handkerchief (means different things to different characters - fidelity to Othello, love to Desdemona, revenge to Iago)
Hell/Demons/Monsters (shows the effect that lies, deceit, jealousy, and manipulation can have on people)
Plants and animals (both are products of nature but are able to be manipulated, if necessary; human nature vs. society)
Sight (things aren't always what they appear to be; Othello looks different than others but Desdemona sees past this)
The protagonist/tragic hero of the play
Soldier from North Africa
Employed as a general by the city-state of Venice
Highly respected but still considered an "outsider" because of his age and skin color; referred to as a Moor throughout the play
Marries Desdemona, a white woman
Beautiful and accomplished young Venetian woman
Fiercely protected by her father
Stands for love, trust, and purity - all things that make life meaningful and worth living
Although a lady, she is also sure of herself and able to stand up to those around her
Soldier who works with Othello
Wants to be Othello's second in command but is passed over for Cassio
Seeks vicious revenge - plots to destroy all Othello values
In addition to payback, Iago's motivations also come from a twisted obsession with manipulation
Maidservant to Desdemona
Incredibly cynical
Married to Iago
Loyal to Desdemona but will tell lies if it will help her husband
Gentleman soldier, with little experience
Man of ability, loyalty, and grace
Respects Desdemona and Othello
Is NOT a love interest for Desdemona, though Iago uses his youth and good looks to plant the seeds of distrust and insecurity in Othello
Suffers from a drinking problem
Desdemona's father
Venetian nobleman, senator and friend of Othello who feels betrayed when he discovers that Othello has married his daughter
In love with Desdemona, desperate to get rid of any rivals for her attention
Listens to Iago's plan to get Desdemona away from Othello
A fool
Dynamic vs. Static Characters

Dynamic character: A character that changes from beginning to end
ex: Othello (goes from a well-respected man of honor to a hot-tempered, jealous person
Static character: A character that does not change
ex: Iago (remains a corrupt, hypocritcal, evil, selfish son-of-a-bitch whose sole focus is to destroy Othello
Foil Characters
Foil: character who highlights or emphasizes certain traits of the main character by contrasting them
ex: Emilia is the foil to Desdemona
ex: Iago is the foil to Cassio
Destructive nature of jealousy
Iago is jealous of Cassio's promotion, setting off a chain of devestating actions
Othello suspects Desdemona of being unfaithful which will eventually lead to a dramatic conclusion
Being an outsider/The danger of isolation
Othello is prejudiced against because of his skin color and because he is from Africa, not Venice. In addition, he is used to military life rather than a political one, making him unfamiliar with societal conventions, women, and love
Setting (island of Cyprus)

Appearance vs. Reality
"Honest Iago"
Desdemona and Cassio's "relationship"
Othello confuses who is loyal and who is treacherous
Cassio and Desdemona are both loyal to Othello, although he believes each to be deceptive
Emilia and her shifting loyalty
Loyalty vs. Treachery
Some background info....
Play was written around 1604
Moor: refers to North Africans, typically of Muslim descent
Venetians: Italian people, passionate and aggressive; wealthy; Christian
Daughters were seen as property of their fathers, expected to act with dignity and respect; expected to marry for a dowry (marriage was less about love and more about financial security)
Wives were also property, but of their husbands, meant to act like servants to their master; women were supposed to be chaste until marriage; women were supposed to me proper, virtuous, and meek
A character's inner thoughts are spoken aloud, with no other characters present
A character's inner thoughts are spoken aloud, with other characters in the room (though the other characters cannot hear these thoughts)
Tragic Hero
Noble, influential person
Meets with destruction due to a fatal flaw and/or the opposition of others
Faces harsh punishment (arouses pity from the audience)
Gains self-knowledge
Fatal Flaw
Error, weakness, mistaken judgment, or misstep that causes the downfall of the hero
Hero is not perfect and may make errors as a result of ambition, pride, jealousy, gullibility, etc.
A concept derived from Plato and Aristotle
Details a strict, religious hierarchical structure of all matter and life, believed to have been decreed by God.
The order of the chain is as follows:
Angelic beings
The Great Chain of Being
Full transcript