Othello Reading Journal (lecture notes)

Topics: Othello, Iago, Michael Cassio Pages: 17 (5211 words) Published: May 25, 2014

Text:Othello
Section/Pages: Act: 1
Setting: The immensely public streets of Venice, at night as well as the Duke’s home

Summary
(5-7 sentences max; be brief)
Iago and Roderigo are arguing and we learn that Iago is like the ultimate villain. Iago is mad because he did not get the role of leadership he wanted, so he begins scheming to get it. We also learn that Brabantio is a wealthy senator and his daughter is sneaking off to be with the wealthy moore, whom we assume is Othello. Brabantio then tries to convince the Duke that Othello has bewitched Desdemona to fall in love with him, which the Duke waves away when he hears that Desdemona fell in love with Othello due to his stories. Roderigo is forlorn because Desdemona does not love him and we learn of Iago’s plot to destroy Othello. Important Quotes and Analysis

(2-4 line quotes with short discussion)
I am not what I am. -Iago (p.5 line 62)
This quote is foreshadowing Iago’s character, and some of the things he may do. He’s clearly going to be the villain in this book, and deceit is his trademark.

Othello: Not I. I must be found. My parts, my title, my perfect soul shall manifest me rightly. Is it they? Iago: By Janus, I think no. (p. 11)
Iago and Othello are discussing his marriage to Desdemona. Othello does not believe Brabantio will mind, considering he is a very good friend of the family. Iago responds with By Janus! Janus was the Roman God of new beginnings, doorways, and Janus is known to be deceitful, like Iago.

Important Ideas and Analysis:
Patterns, Parallels, Contrasts and Oppositions, Symbols, Themes, etc. Appearance vs. Reality:
Iago talks about how he isn’t what he seems. Ex. I am not what I am He talks about how he just serves to get back at this person. Everything he does is for himself, but he puts on an act to get what he wants.

Brabantio talks about his daughter appears to be innocent while in reality she does as she pleases even though he doesn’t have a clue how she has been sleeping with Othello.

Iago and Brabantio's daughter:
Both perceived to be disloyal

Oppositions:
It has been made quite clear that Roderigo and Iago do not like Othello, afterall they are planning his demise and call him an animal on numerous occasions

Brabantio opposes Othello marrying his daughter and eventually his opposition is futile.

Iago opposes anyone in his way. In particular, he opposes Michael Cassio and Othello. He betrays Roderigo’s trust again.

Contrasts:
Othello is contrasts with almost every character we have met so far. He is a Moor (black), Muslim, and he’s a general of the army. Everyone seems to think he is a great man except Iago. Brabantio held him up high until he found out Othello married his daughter.

Symbols:
Each character’s name is a symbol of their personality. Ex. Iago means deceitful and Othello means wealth. So it’s both a symbol and a pattern.

Animals- Often used to describe or while referring to Othello or bad situations ex. Calls him big lips
He’s a beast
Horse, ram, devil, ass, and bird
They alienate him

They use words that could describe physical appearance. Example fair means both just and light skinned. While black means evil and is also the color of Othello’s skin. By Othello being dark it’s as though he’s evil in the other characters’ mind, even though he is not an evil person.

Shakespeare also uses lighting as a symbolic tool. When Roderigo and Iago are in the streets discussing and scheming it is dark outside. This creates an air of mystery around what is being said, yet when the reach Brabantio’s house there is light from a torch when the truth about Desdemona and Othello are divulged. This happens again when Othello and Iago are talking and Othello does not believe Brabantio will have an issue with him marrying his daughter. When Brabantio furiously begins yelling at Othello he’s carrying him a torch that illuminates the scene.

General Reflection and...
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