LENGTH: 3-4 PAGES, DOUBLE-SPACED
DUE: SUNDAY NOVEMBER 27, 12 MIDNIGHT
Be sure to ground your discussion in details from the text. Try to build to a firm conclusion. Remember that writing style and meaning are intertwined, and that your discussion of Shakespeare’s images and metaphors, repetitions and verbal rhythms is inseparable from the force of the concerns they generate in this great text. Be sure to use at least two quotations to bolster your argument.
1. Discuss the insidious force of jealousy (the green-eyed monster) as it works its destructive way in the text. How do the images of blood and lust and bestiality function in the play, and especially in Iago’s conception of human frailty. What are the larger symbolic implications of the settings, Venice and Cyprus? How do you read the end of the play, and does Othello achieve a degree of tragic dignity? What do you think the play says about love?
2. Discuss the relationship of Othello and Desdemona. How do they view each other, both at the beginning and at the end of the play? Does the downfall of Othello proceed from any flaw in his character, or is it entirely the work of Iago? How does Desdemona’s “purity” exacerbate Othello’s rage, exactly as Iago predicted? Provide close readings of at least two passages.
3. Discuss the significance of the secondary characters: Roderigo, Cassio, Emilia. How do they evolve throughout the course of the play? Note in particular Emilia’s feminist perspective.
4. Conduct an interview with Iago. Question him closely about specific actions in the text, and see if you can provide him with speech that accurately reflects his character. Of course you are not trying to equal Shakespeare’s language, but attempting to provide an equivalent of what he might say, in your own words. Spend two pages on the interview and one to two pages on your discussion of your own word choices and strategies. What makes Iago’s language most effective for you, and where does this occur in the play?