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Othello Character Chart, Conflicts, and Map
Conflict: List and explain the major conflicts in the play.
External Internal
CRITERIA
Othello
Desdemona.
Iago
Cassio
Roderigo
Emilia
Archetype’
Motivation
Action
Emotions/
Attributes
‘Arch’
(beginning
to end)
Design by Danielle Knight (Study All Knight), 2014
Globe Theatre
CUT ALONG DASHED GUIDELINE
CUT ALONG DASHED GUIDE LINE
Design by Danielle Knight (Study All Knight), 2014
Shakespeare, About Othello, Themes
CUT ALONG DASHED GUIDELINE
(born 1564; died 1616) was an English poet and playwright, widely regarded as the greatest writer
in the English language and the world's preeminent dramatist. He is often called England's national
poet and the "Bard of Avon". His surviving works, including some collaborations, consist of 38 plays,
154 sonnets, two long narrative poems, and several other poems. His plays have been translated
into every major living language and are performed more often than those of any other playwright.
Shakespeare was born and raised in Stratford-upon-Avon. At the age of 18, he married Anne Hathaway, who bore him three
children: Susanna, and twins Hamnet and Judith. Between 1585 and 1592, he began a successful career in London as an actor,
writer, and part owner of a playing company called the Lord Chamberlain's Men, later known as the King's Men. He appears to
have retired to Stratford around 1613, where he died three years later. Few records of Shakespeare's private life survive, and
there has been considerable speculation about such matters as his physical appearance, sexuality, religious beliefs, and
whether the works attributed to him were written by others.
Shakespeare produced most of his known work between 1589 and 1613. His early plays were mainly comedies and histories,
genres he raised to the peak of sophistication and artistry by the end of the sixteenth century. He then wrote mainly tragedies
until about 1608, including Hamlet, King Lear, and Macbeth, considered some of the finest works in the English language.
Many of his plays were published in editions of varying quality and accuracy during his lifetime. In 1623, two of his former
theatrical colleagues published the First Folio, a collected edition of his dramatic works that included all but two of the plays
now recognized as Shakespeare's.
Its a tragedy…
In everyday life, the word ‘tragedy’ is used very differently
from the way it is used in a Shakespearean play. It is often
used to refer to a sad or dreadful event or disaster. We see
examples in the news all the time of events that are
described as being tragedies.
Consider three recent events that you have read or
heard about in the news that have been described as
‘tragedies’.
Sometimes the term ‘tragedy’ is used as a way of
exaggerating an event or experiences that is inconvenient
or unexpected and is used to describe situations that are
not “life and death”.
Example: The way she dressed was an absolute tragedy.
Othello…is a tragedy by William Shakespeare, believed
to have been written in approximately 1603, and based
on the Italian short story , “A Moorish Captain“ by
Cinthio, a disciple of Boccaccio, first published in 1565.
The work revolves around four central
characters: Othello, a Moorish general in the
Venetian army; his wife, Desdemona; his
lieutenant, Cassio; and his trusted ensign, Iago.
Because of its varied and current themes of
racism, love, jealousy, and betrayal, Othello is
still often performed in professional and
community theatres alike and has been the
basis for numerous operatic, film, and literary
adaptations.
Design by Danielle Knight (Study All Knight), 2014
CUT ALONG DASHED GUIDELINE
For each theme, provide a specific example from the play in which this theme is evident. Give the act, scene, and line.
Appearance vs. Reality
Especially relevant to the issue of Iago’s character; for although he is called “honest” by almost everyone in the play,
he is treacherous, deceitful, and manipulative. Also applies to Desdemona, as Othello believes that she is deceitful
and impure, although she is really blameless and innocent.
Example:
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Race
Race is an extremely important theme; it has a great amount of influence on how people regard Othello for those
who prejudice against Black people merely on looks never like Othello, like Iago. Race also determines how Othello
perceives himself as a rough outsider, though he is nothing of the sort. Othello’s race sets him apart, and makes him
very self-conscious; it makes him work hard and look carefully after his reputation, so he is regarded as equal to the
White people that surround him.
Example:
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Pride
Especially important with regards to Othello; Othello is defensively proud of himself and his achievements, and
especially proud of the honorable appearance he presents. The allegations of Desdemona’s affair hurt his pride even
more than they inflame his vanity and jealousy; he wants to appear powerful, accomplished, and moral at every
possible instance, and when this is almost denied to him, his wounded pride becomes especially powerful.
Example:
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Design by Danielle Knight (Study All Knight), 2014
CUT ALONG DASHED GUIDELINE
For each theme, provide a specific example from the play in which this theme is evident. Give the act, scene, and line.
Magic
Usually has something to do with Othello’s heritage. Othello is charged with using magic to woo Desdemona, merely
because he is Black, and therefore, “pagan.” Yet, Othello does have real magic, in the words he uses and the stories
he tells. Magic also reappears when Desdemona’s handkerchief cannot be found; Othello has too much trust in the
symbolism and charm of the handkerchief, which is why the object is so significant to him. Example:
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Order vs. Chaos
As Othello begins to abandon reason and language, chaos takes over. His world begins to be ruled by chaotic
emotions and very shady allegations, with order pushed to one side. This chaos rushes him into tragedy, and once
Othello has sunk into it, he is unable to stop his fate from taking him over.
Example:
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Self-knowledge
Othello’s lack of self-knowledge makes him easy prey for Iago. Once Iago inflames Othello’s jealousy and gets the
darker aspects of Othello’s nature into action, there is nothing Othello can do to stop it, since he cannot even admit
that he has these darker traits
Example:
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Good vs. Evil
Though there is much gray area between these two, Iago’s battle against Othello and Cassio certainly counts as an
embodiment of this theme. Iago and his evil battle to corrupt and turn the flawed natures of other characters, and he
does succeed to some extent. Example:
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ACT V-Cyprus and Desdemona’s Bed Chamber
CUT ALONG DASHED GUIDELINE
Design by Danielle Knight (Study All Knight), 2014
1. How would Iago gain from Roderigo's death? Cassio's?
2. What happened when Cassio and Roderigo fought?
3. What did Iago do after he wounded Cassio?
4. How was Desdemona faithful to Othello to the end?
5. What was Emilia's reaction when Othello told her that Iago had revealed Desdemona's affair with Cassio to him?
6. Who told the truth about Iago?
7. What happened to Othello, Iago and Cassio in the end?
ACT IV Cyprus and The Castle
CUT ALONG DASHED GUIDELINE
Design by Danielle Knight (Study All Knight), 2013
1. After Iago lied and told Othello that Cassio confessed going to bed with Desdemona, what advice did he give
the overwhelmed Othello?
2. How did Iago trick Othello into thinking Cassio was gloating and bragging about his affair with Desdemona?
3. Why was Bianca angry with Cassio?
4. How did Bianca's return with the handkerchief help Iago?
5. Why did Othello hit Desdemona?
6. What was Lodovico's reaction to Othello's behavior towards Desdemona? How did Iago later explain Othello's
behavior to Lodovico?
7. Why did Othello ask Emilia about Cassio's affair with Desdemona, and what was her reply?
8. To whom does Desdemona turn for help after Othello calls her a strumpet?
9. Why did Iago tell Rodriego to kill Cassio? Why did Roderigo consent to think about it?
ACT III- The Castle In front, in a room, and in the garden
CUT ALONG DASHED GUIDELINE
Design by Danielle Knight (Study All Knight), 2013
1. Why didn't Iago simply tell Othello right away that Desdemona and Cassio were having an affair?
2. What thing did Emilia find and give to Iago? What did Iago intend to do with it?
3. What was Iago's reply when Othello demanded proof of his wife's disloyalty?
4. What did Othello decide and command at the end of Scene III?
5. What was Emilia's relationship with Iago? Desdemona?
6. Who had the handkerchief at the end of Act III? Why?
Act II The Seaport, The Quay, and The Castle
CUT ALONG DASHED GUIDELINE
Design by Danielle Knight (Study All Knight), 2014
1. Why did Iago want Roderigo to anger Cassio?
2. What was the purpose of Iago's plan?
3. Why did Iago want Cassio to drink more wine?
4. What lie did Iago tell Montano about Cassio?
5. Why did Othello strip Cassio of his rank?
6. Why did Iago want Cassio to ask Desdemona for help in restoring Othello's faith in Cassio?
Act I A Street in Venice, A Council’s Chamber
CUT ALONG DASHED GUIDELINE
Design by Danielle Knight (Study All Knight), 2013
1. What was Iago's complaint in Scene I?
2. Who was Brabantio, and why did Iago and Roderigo awaken him in the middle of the night?
3. Why did Iago leave Roderigo at Brabantio's house?
4. What was Brabantio's reaction to Othello's marriage to Desdemona?
5. Why did the Duke send for Othello?
6. Brabantio complains to the Duke about Othello's marriage to Desdemona. After listening to both sides of the
story, what was the Duke's reply?
7. What was Roderigo's complaint, and what was Iago's reply to it?