Q4 Benchmark: Othello Journals

Dylan Long
English Journals

English Journal #1

The entire time, Iago is speaking to both Desdemona and Cassio. His soliloquy will be cut off by Desdemona.


"She that was ever fair and never proud,

Had tongue at will and yet was never loud,

Never lacked gold and yet went never gay,

Fled from her wish and yet said “Now I may,”

She that being angered, her revenge being nigh,

Bade her wrong stay and her displeasure fly,

She that in wisdom never was so frail

To change the cod’s head for the salmon’s tail,

She that could think and ne'er disclose her mind,

See suitors following and not look behind,

She was a wight, if ever such wights were—"

I believe him to be speaking in a smooth and passionate voice, with possible slight hand gestures. He is also speaking towards the audience, so his body would be half facing the audience and half facing the two other characters. On stage, an actor can  never have his back turned to the audience because then the audience both cannot see his expression or gestures, but more importantly can't hear them. Iago could possibly be slowly walking about the stage while he describes to Desdemona the woman he would praise. During this soliloquy, he does not change emotion or mood, he sticks to his suave tone. He might gaze up to the sky or do something deep because he is talking very passionately. When Desdemona cuts him off (in the context), he will turn to face directly her to hear what she is saying.

English Journal #2

In Act II, Scene I. Cassio gets rather flirty and hands on with Desdemona.

In Act II, Scene III. Cassio gets in a brawl with Montano and stabs him.

Cassio observes first hand that everything is alright. He is not confronted about flirting with Desdemona, and he can't even think straight when he's extremely drunk and fighting Montano. However, after the brawl, he becomes deeply ashamed because he loses his lieutenancy.

Up until the brawl, Cassio observes that he is apparently doing a good job being Othello's lieutenant, as he is still receiving praise from him. Iago either doesn't talk to him or lies to him so that he doesn't blow him plan. Cassio also observes a lack of being told to stop flirting with Desdemona, so he continues to do so. Iago does notices it, but does not tell him. This is because he can use it against Cassio as part of his plan.

I think in Cassio's instance, we can see that he honestly is inexperienced and a little oblivious to his surroundings in general. Sure, all the characters are being either sneaky or non-confrontational, but he is making very bold mistakes. His motivation is geared towards being a good lieutenant but we can better understand that he is too immature and foolish to be a good lieutenant.

English Journal #3

Michael Cassio was the protege of a famous war veteran named Armin Van Buuren. Armin had won many battles all throughout Venice during his adulthood, and Venice needed a new powerhouse war soldier. Armin spotted Michael on the streets of Venice and had the gut feeling that he would make an amazing soldier. He took Michael under his wing and taught him everything that a soldier needed to know. Michael was then released into the streets of Venice being a freelancing lieutenant. Othello spotted Michael and had the same gut feeling that Armin first had about Michael. Othello took Michael under his wing just like Armin did and Michael became his lieutenant. However, as the years passed with Michael being Othello's lieutenant, Michael became cocky and began to try less and less. He still remained a high-ranked lieutenant, but he eventually lost all of his experience and skills and became an inexperienced lieutenant. This is how he starts out in the play, and this is why.

English Journal #4

For Cassio, I am going to try to do some things the entire time, and other at only certain times. For the entire duration of my scene, I want to try to use not a full on british accent, but I want to use an accent other than my normal accent. I want to make myself into an actual character, so I want to use a different voice. I also want to not slouch and sit there and do nothing. I am a lieutenant so I will stand straight and stand tall.

I am going to be wielding either small pieces of armor or a dagger.

Our group is going to stand out from the others in terms of level of intensity. There is a very intense fight scene between Roderigo and I, and it will be stunning and captivating throughout. In addition, we are going to own our characters and make sure that the audience can't get enough of us.

English Journal #5

"You rogue! you rascal! A knave teach me my duty! I'll beat the knave into a twiggen bottle!" {Striking Roderigo}. This line (and sequence if you may) is important to the play. Specifically, it is key to the development of Iago's plan to gain revenge on Othello. Before this line, Iago sends Roderigo charging at a drunk Michael Cassio, causing them to get into a very intimate altercation. This is important to the play because with Cassio being the instrument of revenge against Othello, Iago sets Cassio up to be frowned upon by everybody, to be mistrusted. Othello is the one who handpicked Cassio, and by making Cassio look like a fool, he is also making Othello's judgement look very flawed. This is just another piece of the puzzle in Iago's plan. This line is important, and the importance was shown in how I delivered it. I made Cassio extremely intoxicated and extremely aggressive, so that I could make sure he would be frowned upon.

Our group's performance went exactly as we had rehearsed it. I am very proud of how we delivered our lines, stayed in character the entire time, and how structured and prepared our entire scene was. Personally, if I were to do something different, I would choose to have brought in a more obvious prop. I don't think many people saw my fake dagger.

Performing the play helped me understand more in-depth of Iago's individual sections of his plan, and how they came together. Specifically, in my scene, acting it out helped me realize what was going on, the alibis, and motives behind everything. When you experience something first hand, it makes everything much more clear.