Othello Journals

Journal #1: Soliloquy

Act 5, Scene 1:

I have rubbed this young quat almost to the sense,

And he grows angry. Now, whether he kill Cassio

Or Cassio him, or each do kill the other,

Every way makes my gain. Live Roderigo,

He calls me to a restitution large

Of gold and jewels that I bobbed from him

As gifts to Desdemona.

It must not be. If Cassio do remain

He hath a daily beauty in his life

That makes me ugly. And besides, the Moor

May unfold me to him—there stand I in much peril.

No, he must die. But so, I hear him coming.


In this scene, Iago is breaking off from his conversation with Roderigo to talk to himself/the audience.  I would have his voice be somewhat softer compared to his conversation with Roderigo. He will also be turned towards the audience, side stepping from Roderigo. When he says "Live Roderigo...", Iago will bring one hand up, and when he says "If Cassio do remain..." he will bring the other up, as if weighing the two options. When he says "And besides, the Moor may unfold me to him..." he will wipe his hands away, as if erasing a thought written out in front of him. He will also say this as if pointing out something obvious. This will show that he is changing his thinking, figuring something out for the first time, talking to himself. He will say "No, he must die." gravely, all emotion somewhat gone from his voice, as he shows no regret for the morbid plan. When he says "But so, I hear him coming.." he will say that softly, and walk back over to where he was before this soliloquy. 

Journal #2: Secondary Characters

My character is Bianca. The first time Bianca is seen is Act 3, Scene 4, when she runs into Cassio, on the way to his house. We see that they are in an intimate relationship, and that she is clearly eager for Cassio's love. She becomes jealous when she sees the handkerchief of another woman in his possession. She's then mentioned in Act 4, Scene 1, where Cassio explains to Iago that she is a whore, and he has no intention of marrying her, which she seemed prepared to do. Bianca then appears, apparently having thought that it wasn't possible for Cassio to have simply found the handkerchief, and seems to be full of rage. She sees that Cassio has the token of another woman, and does not know where he got it from. We do not know what Bianca is specifically told, though we do see that Cassio is somewhat agressive with her when Iago is there, and she ends up leaving in anger, basically saying she will not invite him to her house any more. If we only concentrate on the scenes with Bianca, we can see that she is unaware of anything going on with Iago, Desdemona, or Othello, and Cassio's involvement in it. All she sees is the man she loves having something from another woman in his possession, and it's understandable how that strikes her jealousy. 

Journal #3: Character Background

My character is Desdemona. She was born into a rich family, her father being a senator. She had an easy childhood, excelling in her studies, and not having to worry about much else. Her father spoiled her, giving her anything she wanted. Her mother died when she was younger, and she spent a lot of her childhood either alone, or with her tutor, due to her fathers busy schedule. This made her aware of how important it was to show your love for people, as she often felt somewhat neglected. She met Othello through her father, and was immediately drawn to his story. She saw his broken past, and fell for him, wanting to be the one to fill him with love. She knew her father would never let her get married so quickly, but she felt so sure of Othello, and their love, that she decided it was worth it to go behind his back.

Journal #4: Characterization

I'm playing Desdemona in the scene where they appear in the court to justify their marriage. To do this, I have to make sure that I show my respect for my father, as well as my commitment to my husband. I'll kiss my fathers hand, but go and link arms with my husband to enhance both of these things. I tried to make my voice buoyant and kind, because Desdemona is described as gentle and sweet. I think that for my prop I'm going to pile on a bunch of necklaces, because she's rich and probably wore a lot of jewelry. I have a few rings that I might wear as well, just to look more feminine and wealthy. I think that since our scene doesn't have as much action, it's harder to make it stand out, but our characterization is really key. We've decided on some interesting developments regarding voice and posture, so I think that will make our scene really work.

Journal #5: Reflection on Performance

“But here is my husband, and so much duty as my mother showed you, preferring you before her father, so much I challenge that I may profess due to the Moor my lord.” Act 1, Scene 3.

This line comes right after Desdemona reassures her father of her respect for him. It shows that, although she does respect him, her husband is where her loyalty lies. When I performed this, I made sure to move from my initial position of standing by my father, to next to Othello, linking arms with him and showing my commitment to my marriage. This line is delivered to Brabantio, which leads me to think that Desdemona in a way kicks a soft spot in her father, and it’s a little bit of a guilt trip. 

Our performance didn’t go exactly as planned, because we were actually missing one of our actors. However, I think we were still able to do all that we planned to do, as far as delivery goes. I think we did really well with characterization, each of us sort of bringing our own twist to our respective character. Our scene didn’t really have a lot of action, so it was difficult to bring it to life, but I think that we were able to do our best with it.

Performing the play made me more aware of key elements within it. It’s easy to get lost in Shakespeare, because there are so many details, and it’s all hidden behind difficult language. Breaking it down, and seeing it performed, as well as performing it, made it not only easier to follow, but easier to notice important parts.