1) Some have said that the focus of Othello is not the title character, as is the case with Shakespeare's other great tragedies, Macbeth, King Lear, and Hamlet. Is Othello simply too one-dimensional to be considered a great tragic hero? Does his seemingly unrealistic gullibility lessen our interest in him and his suffering?
2) Why does Othello not investigate Iago's accusations? Why does Othello not seek his own proof of Desdemona's betrayal?
3) Samuel Taylor Coleridge once wrote that Iago's soliloquies are the
"motive-hunting of motiveless malignity." Is this an accurate observation? Does Iago have a motive or motives for his hatred of Othello?
4) Explore the character of Desdemona. What does she represent in the play?
5) If you read the play closely you will see that not enough time could have elapsed on Cyprus for Desdemona to have committed adultery. Examine the problem of time in Othello and the possible dramatic reasons behind this unrealistic passage of time.
6) Discuss Othello's relationship with Desdemona. Does he truly love her?
7) Examine the female characters in the play. Do they share a common role in Othello?
8) Explore the issue of racism in Othello and relate it to the problems of racial hatred in Elizabethan England.
Aristotle's Poetics, written around 335 BC, attempted to delineate the conventions of tragic drama. He identified certain features of tragic drama, some of which are listed here:
Thus, we would expect Oedipus, as the protagonist, to have a flaw in his character which leads to the tragedy, to suffer an total reversal of luck, position or fortune, to recognise his own flaw and to attempt to remove it from himself or to make amends for the damage he has caused. How much of this is true?
Incidentally, Aristotle was also concerned about the effect of these plays (which are often extremely violent) on their youthful audience. He concludes that, through a process he called catharsis ('purging'), these public, theatrical displays of violence, so long as they are properly played out and resolved (in a Todorovian manner), served as a valuable release and actually helped to lessen the likelihood of violence in the audience.
He also that plays be written according to the 'Three Unities' of time, place and action. That is, for a play to be successful and powerful, it should take place in real time, it should all take place in one location, and there should only be one plotline
EASTER REVISION CHECKLIST:
1. Read the play with the notes on these web pages
2. Build quotation banks on characters and themes.
3. Complete all 7 essay planning grids
4. Read Critics - make key quotation banks
5. Watch or listen to a performance of the play - make notes on differrnt interpretations.
Q. What do you think each production is emphasising in it's poster below?
Othello audio version
Here is an audio recording of a production from London's Donmar Warehouse, featuring an award-winning performance by Chiwetel Ejiofor in the title role as the jealous Moor Othello, alongside Ewan McGregor as the scheming Iago.
Roderigo ...... Edward Bennett
Iago ...... Ewan McGregor
Brabantio/Gratiano ...... James Laurenson
Othello ...... Chiwetel Ejiofor
Cassio ...... Tom Hiddleston
First Officer/Messenger/First Cyprus Gentlemen ...... Alastair Sims
First Senator/Second Cyprus Gentleman ...... David Mara
Duke of Venice/Lodovico ...... Michael Hadley
Desdemona ...... Kelly Reilly
Montano ...... Michael Jenn
Emilia ...... Michelle Fairley
Bianca ...... Martina Laird
Music: Adam Cork
Director: Michael Grandage
Duration: 2 hours, 45 minutes
Or download it using the link below.....
Very useful websites