Performing Othello: The Journals

Edgar Pacio

Gold Stream

Journal #1

IAGO: [looks down, hand on chin]

That’s not amiss,

But yet keep time in all.

Will you withdraw? 

[looks at Othello]


[looks at audience] 

Now will I question Cassio of Bianca,

A huswife that by selling her desires

Buys herself bread and clothes.It is a creature

That dotes on Cassio, as ’tis the strumpet’s plague

To beguile many and be beguiled by one. He, when he hears of her, cannot refrain

From the excess of laughter.

Here he comes. 

[looks away]


[looks up]

As he shall smile, Othello shall go mad.

And his unbookish jealousy must construe

Poor Cassio’s smiles, gestures, and light behavior

[slowly looks towards CASSIO]

Quite in the wrong.—How do you now, lieutenant?

  This quote is from the beginning of Act 4 Scene 1 during one of Iago’s soliloquies. Iago looks down at the ground with his hand on his chin. This is a pose that many people make when they are in deep thought. Iago looks towards the audience to indicate that he has switched from thinking out loud to informing the audience. He tells them about his plan to make Cassio talk about Bianca in front of Othello. He then switches his audience again by looking up as if speaking to a higher power as he finishes his plan and realizes what it will cause. As he turns towards Cassio, we now know that he has switched his audience as he begins to talk to Cassio.

Journal #2


Thou hast not half that power to do me harm

As I have to be hurt. O gull! O dolt!

As ignorant as dirt! Thou hast done a deed—

I care not for thy sword, I’ll make thee known

Though I lost twenty lives.—Help! Help, ho! Help!

The Moor hath killed my mistress! Murder, murder!"


In Act 5 Scene 2, Emilia observed Desdemona's death first hand. Desdemona spoke to her as she took her last breaths and Emilia weeped over Desdemona when she finally died. Most things Emilia observed were second hand. She was told about the fight out side and the death of Roderigo. Othello told her that he had been the one who had killed Desdemona. She was also told about how her husband, Iago, made a plan and what its consequences were. By focusing only on her scenes we can understand that Emilia was very fond of Desdemona becuase she was her servant and perhaps even a mother figure. She was there for her every need and stood by her as she died. We can also see that she was loyal to Iago when she stole Desdemona's handkerchief. From Emilia’s actions it can be assumed that her loyalty to the people she is close to is her most important characteristic to the play. Overall she is loyal to those people that seem to have good intentions.

Journal #3

Othello was sold into slavery when he was six years old. He was taken into an army at the age of seven and was put under the wing of a kind retired war hero. As Othello grew older he began to go away from his janitor duties and was taught to become an Italian soldier. He was a soldier for many years until he was recruited to become a general after he had survived many battles against invaders. Since he rose in rank he got to meet more high class families, which is how he met Desdemona. Othello started talking with her and finally won her over. They had a secret marriage together in Venice. 

Othello's past shaped him into what he was. He was faced with many hardships in life, struggling and working hard to reach the rank of army general. He is a dedicated person, which shows when he is determined to carry out Iago's plan to kill Desdemona. He is also a very sensitive person under all his brutish manliness. Othello was truly in love with Desdemona since she was attracted to him for who he was and the struggles he went through. When he went to kill her he was overcome by grief which proves his ability to love people. 

Journal #4

The scene that my group had was a breakdown of Act 3 Scene 3. In the scene Othello is speaking in a quiet, faint, and annoyed voice because he has a headache. He points to his head when he shows Desdemona where on his head he feels the pain. When Desdemona tries to bind his head he becomes somewhat annoyed and takes the handkerchief and tries to put it in his pocket. Othello accidentally drops it without noticing. My prop will be a cloak. I think my group is going to stand out because we have practiced several times and the argument between Emilia and Iago is the most expressive part of the scene. We have worked on the stage directions like Iago snatching the handkerchief, Othello dropping it, and the interactions between Othello and Desdemona.

Journal #5

“Your napkin is too small. Let it alone. Come I’ll go in with you.”

This quote shows that Othello is a bit annoyed with Desdemona and his current situation. Iago told Othello that Desdemona was cheating on him. This caused Othello to have a hard time processing it and thinking about the truth behind Iago’s accusation. When Desdemona tries to bind his headache he pushes her away. He takes out his frustration on her. I delivered this line in a kind of annoyed tone.

My group’s performance did go as I planned. I am really proud of my group members especially Donesha and Haneef because I feel as though they delivered their argument scene very well. If I could do something differently I would have probably made my final line a bit more expressive. Performing the play changed my perspective by making it more clear. It was like re-reading a sentence you didn’t understand at first. Seeing the play again in a shorter and simpler version made it entirely clear on what was going on in the play.