Q3 - William Shakespeare: Othello
Q3 - William Shakespeare: Othello
Q3 - William Shakespeare: Othello
Key facts, Summary, Elizabethan England (Setting), Role of men and women, Characterizations, Themes, Motifs and Symbols, Dramatic structure
Q3 - William Shakespeare: Othello Key facts Full title The Tragedy of Othello, the Moor of Venice Author William Shakespeare Type of work Play Genre Tragedy Language English Time and place written Between 1601 and 1604, England Date of publication (first printed version) 1622 ATR stop creating drama, you're not lago Tone tragic, marriage between Desdemona and Othello is noble and heroic Setting (time) Late sixteenth century (Renaissance), during the wars between Venice and Turkey Setting (place) Venice in Act I; the island of Cyprus thereafter Major conflict Othello and Desdemona marry and attempt to build a life together, despite their differences in age, race, and experience. Their marriage is sabotaged by the envious lago, who convinces Othello that Desdemona is unfaithful. Rising action lago tells the audience of his scheme, arranges for Cassio to lose his position as lieutenant, and gradually insinuates to Othello that Desdemona is unfaithful. Climax Act III, scene iii: Othello kneels with lago and vows not to change course until he has achieved bloody revenge Falling action lago plants the handkerchief in Cassio's room and later arranges a conversation with Cassio, which Othello watches and sees as "proof" that Cassio and Desdemona have slept together. lago unsuccessfully attempts to kill Cassio, and Othello smothers Desdemona with a pillow. Emilia exposes lago's deceptions, Othello kills himself, and lago is taken...
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away to be tortured. Summary Conversation between lago and Roderigo: Roderigo has given lago money to win over Desdemona for him. lago complains that Othello has not promoted him and instead having chosen Cassio as his lieutenant who is less qualified. They wake Brabantio to tell him that his daughter Desdemona has married Othello in secret. Cassio informs Othello that he is wanted by the Duke due to an imminent Turkish invasion of Cyprus. Furious Brabantio arrives with Roderigo and his men and accuses Othello of having used magic to steal his daughter. Othello claims that he won Desdemona by telling her the story of his life. Desdemona confirms this and wants to go to Cyprus with her husband. Roderigo is desperate - lago says he will undermine the couples relationship by convincing Othello that Desdemona betrays him with Cassio. lago tells Roderigo that Desdemona will soon be tired of Othello and is already showing interest in Cassio. He wants Roderigo to provoke Cassio into a fight which will disgrace him and provide lago himself with the position of lieutenant. Othello is disgusted by Cassio's behaviour and removes him from his position. lago advises Cassio to ask Desdemona for help to regain Othello's favour (using it to make Othello jealous). Desdemona talks to Othello asking him to take Cassio back, but Othello hesitates. lago uses Cassio's hasty exit to rouse Othello's suspicion, by influencing him to think that have an affair. Othello begins to doubt his wife's loyalty but keeps it a secret from her. Desdemona accidentally drops the handkerchief Othello gifted her which gets picked up by lago's wife Emilia who puts it in Cassio's room. lago then fuels Othello's jealousy even more by telling him about Cassio fantasising in his dream about Desdemona and that he has her handkerchief. Q3 - William Shakespeare: Othello Othello vows revenge and makes lago lieutenant. When Desdemona cannot present him her handkerchief, Othello becomes angry and unkind, Jealousy has taken a hold of him. lago instructs Othello to hide nearby to listen to Cassio's report about his affair with Desdemona. lago tricks Cassio into talking about the prostitute Bianca in a light-hearted and joking manner, leaving Othello to believe he talks about his wife. lago offers to kill Cassio and tells Othello to strangle his wife. Othello, convinced of his wife's infidelity calls Desdemona a "whore" and tells his wife to wait for him in bed. lago has persuaded Roderigo that he has to kill Cassio to finally get to Desdemona. Roderigo ambushes Cassio. As Cassio is seriously injured he pretends to help him by stabbing Roderigo. Othello decides to kill (stifle) Desdemona, although she insists on her innocence. Emilia enters to inform Othello about Roderigo's death and sees the dying Desdemona. Emilia then tells him the truth about lago's scheme and discloses that her husband is behind this evil plot; lago kills her for her honesty. Othello, overcome with grief, tries to kill lago who manages to escape (but is caught later). Othello realises his terrible mistake and, kissing the dead Desdemona, stabs himself. Elizabethan England Concept of the world based on the idea of a heavenly order established by God and a strong hierarchy Great Chain of Being and Universal interdependence O Disorder in one segment of the Great Chain of being reflects in every other segment as well ● O Everything had to be balanced and ordered Macrocosm (= the whole universe) and microcosm (= human society) influencing each other Peace and harmony only possible if everyone stuck to the order Belief in "Fate and Fortune" and supernatural powers like witches and fairies "Excellent wretch! Perdition catch my soul, but I do love thee! And when I love thee not, chaos is come again." O Perdition: utter destruction, eternal damnation O Chaos: the confused unorganized state before the creation of distinct forms Universe/ macrocosm was considered to be a unity in perfect order Othello can only imagine falling out of love with Desdemona as the collapse of all form and order Othello and Desdemona are destined to be together (if they stop loving each other, it will cause chaos and the microcosm will be out of order) "Methinks it should be now a full eclipse of sun and moon, and that the affrighted globe should yawn at alteration." O Parallel: An eclipse is very short lived and Desdemona's death is equally momentous to Othello Connection between the macrocosm and the microcosm O Desdemona's death influences the macrocosm (solar eclipse) "It is the very error of the moon; she comes more nearer earth than she was wont (that she usually does), and makes men mad." Disruption of the order O Universal interdependence: disorder in one segment of the Great Chain of Being reflects in all other segments as well O Moon effects the mental state and behaviour of men Q3 - William Shakespeare: Othello Elizabethan Age and the whole play -> lago's envious behaviour and that he is not satisfied with his position -> order is only established in the end when lago is arrested and Cassio is made lieutenant The role of men and women in the Elizabethan Age Women O Connection between macrocosm and microcosm -No control over their role in society -Valued for and also reduced to their physical features -Not any other sense of worth -Superior to men regarding beauty -Objects with pleasing affections -Had to be submissive (obedient), passive -Chastity (virginity), modesty, humility, constancy, temperance, piety (religiosity), patience, kindness -Household duties (unable/ not allowed to run a household or make moral decisions) -Had to be silent and was not allowed to speak out or argue -"She must never be witty or clever" -Had to obey the husband (submitting themselves to total control by their husbands) -Continuing dependence (even today inferior to men) O ■ Character files Othello (protagonist and hero) Cultural and racial outsider (black), not socially accepted-> complex position within society O Race makes him a target of prejudice and distrust ● Men -Ruling voice over all aspects of society -Husband: authority and dominance -First duty is to love his wife, next is to rule/ govern her -Knowledge, wisdom and good judgement O Role model to other/ younger men like him Nicknames Scene 1: The Moor, thicklips, old black ram, Barbary horse Soldier and leader (physically powerful) O Highly respected and honoured due to his capabilities (especially by the Duke) integral part of Venetian society O full martial and political command of Cyprus later on Characteristics ellipses, epileptic, prideful, lack of self-awareness, judgemental Loses all hope and will to live lago succeeds in manipulating him Ending: victim of a foreign culture and lago's scheme O Tragic figure (not just lago's puppet) O Act 1: Self-conscious, defensive, direct, rational, honest, polite, respectful, modest and humble, sophisticated/ educated, eloquent, calm, very formal and structured speech, confident, just, sincere, noble, gentle Act 3-5: Desperate and emotional, impulsive, crazy, irrational, angry, no structure at all, only Key words and incoherence, Exclamation marks, DGP-59 Q3 - William Shakespeare: Othello lago (villain and antagonist) ● Deep and destructive hatred of Othello Willing to take revenge on anyone who gets in his way Enjoys the pain he causes others Vice figure and machiavel (deceptive behaviour) O Wants to gain power over his surroundings O Ruthless and hypocrite ● Characteristics lago uses people's own weaknesses against them (+ isolates and controls his victims) Adapts his behaviour to every situation and to whom he is talking to ■ Controls how others behave and how a situation develops O O O Racist, manipulative, clever, funny, powerful and compelling, cold-blooded, contemptuous, two-faced, self-aware Lack of convincing motivation (unwilling to express his true motivation) O Angry because he has not got the position of lieutenant (Thinks Cassio is not qualified enough) (Othello may have slept with his wife -> "wife for wife") -> revenge, frustration, pride, egoism Desdemona is wasted on the black outsider (her high position, deserved better than him) Attitude towards women O Disrespectful, degrades and hates women O Women as sexual objects -> sexist (only there to bear children) O Two sides/ faces of a women Being pretty and well-behaved in pubic but noisy and annoying in private (Stage) Machiavel According to Machiavelli (1469-1527) the well being of a nation depends on the power virtù of autocrat (Alleinherrscher) -He has to use force to ensure well-being of nation -Creation of stage Machiavel in English Renaissance theatre whose character traits were ruthlessness and hypocrisy that were used to gain political power Vice-figure Character in medieval morality plays (15th/16th century) -Characters personify moral qualities (like charity or vice) or abstractions (such as death or youth) in order to teach moral lessons -The vice-figure was evil and often made others do evil deeds (no motive necessary to explain malignity) -It often pretended to be friendly to other characters on stage while informing the audience about its evil plans Q3 - William Shakespeare: Othello Desdemona O O Emilia ● Cassio ● ● Still very young (about 16?) intrigued by Othello's adventurous past as a soldier who has been to exotic lands O agrees to marry him because of his mysterious and heroic stories Characteristics O Faithful, loving O Act 1: rebellious, bold, independent, brave, calm, stands up for herself, tells what comes to her mind, innocent (stands firm in her allegiance to Othello) Act 3-5: tries to avoid conflict and any form of confrontation about the handkerchief, does not stand up for herself, does not have the courage to tell the truth, wants to distract Othello O Her behaviour depends on who she is talking to (Situation based reaction) O Acts like a child under pressure, but has the character traits to become a well respected women Ending: murdered by Othello (aware of her imminent death -> song willow) O suffocated beneath the demands put on her fidelity -> victim of men and manipulated With her lasts breaths forgives her husband Dies valiantly and sort of sacrificial One of lago's puppets (his wife) O Plays an important role in his scheme -> handkerchief Shows only a small amount of suspicion at first Characteristics O Obedient, loyal, realistic, practical and passive in the beginning, rebellious in the end (defends her sex and truth) O Sharp-eyed and self-aware perspective on how women are abused by men (husbands) O Courageous, brave -> fearlessly insists on bringing lago to justice in the end (aware of the imperfection of humanity) Ending: Her will to do the right thing and speak up for the truth gets her killed (boldly confronts her husband) O Parallel to Desdemona (killed by husband for insisting on a truth he did not want to hear) Dies seeking atonement for her participation in lago's crimes (hopes that her final bravery will redeem her previous behaviour pawn in lago's plan (object of lago's contrivances) Significant for creating the conditions under which lago can execute his plans Characteristics O Handsome, charming, charismatic, honourable, respectful, observing, open, honest, highly educated Innocent, naive and trusting (parallel to Desdemona) O Inexperienced in combat Ending: position of significant authority and responsibility O Betrayal by the others and violence taught him to be more cautious and therefore possibly a better leader Q3 - William Shakespeare: Othello Style Prose Definition -no rhythm or meter -everyday language, natural pattern -Spoken by lower class members of society (criminals, servants,...) -used by common people -Ordinary speech -expression of debasement Character Constellation Themes Brabantio grief of losing his daughter Roderigo loves jealous hates, dislikes/ racial prejudice father uses & kills ■ Othello 0//0 Desdemona apparent infidelity accused of having an affair O lago frequently speaks in soliloquies /trusts/ hates lago plots against Suspects O Othello's suspicion of Desdemona Verse -Rhythmical, stylistic devices, poetic language -Metrical structure, stanza -Higher class captures/ imprisons murder due to disobeying Emilia uses him for his scheme against- o. Cassio loves disrespects Incompatibility of Military Heroism and Love O Career affecting married life O Respect and background of his life as a soldier draw Desdemona closer The Danger of Isolation Montana Bianca O Othello stands apart while lago talks with Cassio in Act IV, scene i, and is left alone onstage with the bodies of Emilia and Desdemona for a few moments in Act V, scene ii O Roderigo seems attached to no one in the play except lago wounds O Othello is visibly isolated from the other characters by his physical stature and the colour of his skin O self-isolation as an act of self-preservation leads ultimately to self-destruction (self-isolation leads to the deaths of Roderigo, lago, Othello, and even Emilia) Jealousy ("green-eyed-monster") O lago's resentment of Othello -> jealous of lieutenant position his jealousy is so intense that he does not need proof of her infidelity Jealousy as a weapon against Othello Deception and Treachery O Othello believes he is being deceived by characters who are honest while failing to see the deceit and treachery of characters who are tricking him Honest lago, guilty Desdemona Trust in lago increases, trust in his wife decreases Q3 - William Shakespeare: Othello Justice O ● O ● O O O Brabantio wants justice for having lost his daughter to Othello (racial and gender superiority) Othello seeks a form of bloody, self-administered justice (gullibility and excessive jealousy) I Motifs & Symbols O Wants to punish his wife himself for adultery Othello's violent plan to achieve justice is rooted in his sense that he has complete ownership and control over his wife He can literally decide whether she lives or dies Othello's notion of justice depends on a system that is fundamentally unjust toward women, leaving them vulnerable to false accusation and violent actions Othello believes it is his duty to kill Desdemona to bring about justice and restore order Motifs: Sight and Blindness, Animals, Plants, Hell/ Demons/ Monsters Handkerchief first gift, symbol of Othello's love, symbol of Desdemona's faith and chastity, loss = evidence of infidelity, history of the handkerchief) Song "Willow" O Women who is betrayed by her lover, both men and women are unfaithful to one another, represents a melancholy and resigned acceptance of her alienation from Othello's affections Climax or turning point (Act 3) -Change for the better or worse (If things have been going well so far for the protagonist, they change for the worse and vice versa) Start of Desdemona's demise (Scene 3 as turning point) Othello's love turns into hate ● Rising Action (Act 2) -Escalation of the basic conflict -Introduction of a related conflict • lago reveals his true plans • Cassio gets demoted • Othello begins to suspect something Dramatic structure Freytag's Pyramid Exposition (Act 1) -Provision of background information -Introduction of all the main characters (indirect or direct) -Introduction of the setting and the basic conflict • Love between Desdemona and Othello lago's will to destroy their marriage/ lives for his own benefit Falling Action (Act 4) -Disentanglement of the basic conflict -Moment of final suspense Othello contemplates on Desdemona's actions lago is able to influence him further by manipulating Cassio and Bianca Catastrophe or denouement (Act 5) -Tragic or happy ending for the protagonist • Murder of Desdemona and suicide of Othello (cannot bear the loss and his horrible actions that caused it)