Othello Study Guide Questions

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  • Topic: Othello, Iago, Brabantio
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  • Published : February 7, 2013
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Othello BACKGROUND
DIRECTIONS: You are not required to answer these questions on paper. However, I strongly suggest you research and find the answers to the following questions in order to better understand the play.

1. Who were the Moors?
2. Who were the Venetians?
3. How were the Moors/ Venetians regarded in Shakespeare’s day? 4. What were the military duties of ranked officers?
5. What was the military hierarchy?
6. What was the role of women?
7. What was expected of a bride?
8. What relationship between men and women were considered above reproach? 9. What rules for getting married existed at the time of the play? 10. What were the rules of courtship?

Othello STUDY GUIDE QUESTIONS
DIRECTIONS: You must answer each of the following questions. Note that your answers will vary in length. Some questions contain multiple questions; be sure to answer all parts of a question. Some questions ask you to describe, explain, or give examples. Pay close attention to what each question is asking and be sure to answer accordingly. TYPING IN TIMES NEW ROMAN, 12 POINT FONT IS STRONGLY ENCOURAGED AND APPRECIATED.

Act I
Scene i
1. Describe the sensory details of the opening scene: sights, sounds, smells, etc.

2. Why do Iago and Roderigo wake up Brabantio? Why is Brabantio angry? Why does Iago slip quietly away once Brabantio comes down?

3. Explain the relationship between Iago and Roderigo. Who seems to be ‘in control’. Explain your first reaction to each of these characters.

4. Explain why Iago says he needs to get revenge on Othello. Do you think he is justified? Why is the need for revenge so powerful.. and for that matter, such a popular topic of modern music/movies?

5. How does Iago act when Desdemona’s father appears at the window? Why does it take so long for Brabantio to figure out what is going on? Why doesn’t Iago just tell him what happened straight out?

Scene ii
1. How does Iago lie at the beginning of this scene?
2. Is Othello afraid of Brabantio? Should he be?
3. What do you learn about Othello’s background from this scene? How do you learn that information? 4. Why has the Duke called for Othello? How can you tell that Othello is highly regarded in military circles? 5. Why is Brabantio so against having Othello for a son-in-law? Does he seem to blame his daughter for running off with this man? Would he feel differently if Desi had run off with another man?

Scene iii
1. How does Desdemona respond when Brabantio confronts her? What other approach to the problem could she have taken?

2. How does the Duke seem to feel about the problem of Desi and Othello? Who do you think he sympathizes with?

3. According to Othello, when did Desi and he fall in love? Why do you suppose they kept their love a secret? Does this sort of behavior fit his character as he has been described so far?

4. Like Othello, Roderigo is in love. Describe the difference between the two lovers. What is it about Roderigo that makes it easy for Iago to manipulate him?

Act 1 Prediction
5. What does Iago plan to convince Othello of at the end of Act I? How do you think he will accomplish this?

Act II
Scene i
1. Describe the events surounding Othello’s arrival in Cyprrus. Why is Desdemona nervous before he shows up?

2. How does Cassio treat Desdemona? Is there anything about this exchange that might help Iago push forward his plan?

3. What suspicions does Iago have about his own wife? What does this show us about Iago? 4. How can you tell that Cassio is devoted to Othello? Does there seem to be any jealousy or disloyalty there? 5. Describe Iago’s feelings towards women and love in general. 6. How does Iago manage to convince Roderigo to provoke Cassio to a fight? What is the real reason Iago wants the two to fight?

7. Why does Iago say of Desdemona “Now I do love...
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