4/24/13 Journal #1:
Find a soliloquy in Othello when Iago might be addressing more than one of the possible audiences discussed today. Write out / copy and paste the soliloquy, and add your own "director's notes" indicating where Iago would switch delivery techniques to appeal to a higher power, and then to himself, etc. Indicate how his line delivery and physical movement might change to show he is changing audiences.
That’s not amiss,
But yet keep time in all. Will you withdraw?
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.
As he shall smile, Othello shall go mad.
And his unbookish jealousy must construe
Poor Cassio’s smiles, gestures, and light behavior
Quite in the wrong.—How do you now, lieutenant?
Initially, it is clear that Iago is speaking to Othello. They are the only two people present at this part of the scene, and Iago is asking him to hide from Cassio. After Iago says, “Will you withdraw?” Othello hides and Iago begins to either talk to himself, to God, or to the audience. You know this because he starts using the word I with the phrase, “Now will I question Cassio of Bianca,” even though no one else is with him, It is most likely that he is talking to himself, because of Iago’s bizarre nature. He is the least sane person in the play, thus he is the antagonist. Iago has talked to himself previously in the play, and he will continue to do so later. When Iago says, “—How do you now, lieutenant?” He is now speaking to Cassio, who has just entered the stage. Shakespeare uses a dash, to show that Iago has stopped ranting on about his plans, has moved on to turn and greet Cassio, who is the lieutenant he was referring to in that sentence.
4/25/13 Journal #2:
Choose another secondary character from Othello (that is, not Othello or Iago or Desdemona) and investigate the play for his/her perspective. Answer the following prompts in paragraph format (150-200 words.)
Name a couple of important scenes that this character appears in. (You'll have to look them up, and include the act and scene numbers.)
- What does this character observer first hand? (What do they see personally?)
- What does this character observe second hand? (What are they told by other characters?)
- How can we understand this character's motivations better when we concentrate only on their scenes?
At the end of Act 1 Scene 3, from lines 343 to 425, Rodrigo and Iago are alone and have an important conversation. Rodrigo is in a deep state of depression and is planning to drown himself. He adores Desdemona, who is married to Othello and realizes that Desdemona truly loves the Moor, and has not planed to find another. Rodrigo truly trusts Iago because he is confessing his shame. He feels that killing himself is the only way out of torture.
Iago convinces him that to kill ones self is a foolish act. He says he’d rather be a baboon. Iago claims that the reason why he feels love is because he feels lust. Essentially, he tells him to man up. He advises him to sell all his land and possessions and that Desdemona is unable to love the Moor. He tells him that Desdemona will dump the Moor for a younger man, and she’ll be looking for a man with money. Iago says that he’ll take the money that Rodrigo makes, and that he’ll keep it safe.
This illustrates that Rodrigo is gullible and desperate. He truly believes that Iago is a safe and trustworthy man. He invests his faith in Iago and because of this his mood quickly changes from a dangerous depressed state to becoming immensely happy.
4/29/13 Journal #3:
Write a character background using your Character Sheet as a guide. Tell the story of the life of the character before they enter the play. Explain how these events influenced them to be the kind of person they are during the events of the play.
Iago: Iago was born in the small town of Todi, Italy. His father, Lorenzo was a blacksmith and his mother Adriana, taught Iago at the young age of four to read and write. Iago, because he grew up in a small town, didn’t know a lot of people so he didn’t have many friends. Lonely and bored, he would often play by himself in the foothills of the countryside. There he found contentment by spending time chasing rabbits, climbing trees, and watching clouds drift by in the sky. Due to his lack of nourishment, Iago was very skinny and smaller than many other boys his age. When his father died of a heart attack, he moved to Venice at the age of sixteen to live with his aunt and uncle. His uncle Bruno was a wealthy banker and took good care of Iago. He was allowed to attend school and then became Bruno’s apprentice. Iago did quite well for himself and eventually married his second cousin, Emilia. They were both in their mid-twenties at that time. One day, Iago was challenged to a duel against a man named Hassan, a Moroccan Moor who claimed to have loved Emilia first. When Iago refused this challenge, The Moor called him a coward, and further insulted him when he proclaimed that he had slept with Emilia the night before Iago married her. Iago angrily walked away and began to plot a plan to kill Hassan but, before he go through with it, Hassan was arrested for the rape of two sisters. Iago feeling satisfied, began working as a banker, but because of his love for the city of Venice, he quit banking to join the army.
4/30/13 Journal #4:
- What specific actions, movements, and tone of voice are you bringing to your character during your performance?
- What PROP and/or COSTUME item is your character going to have? (It is your job to brainstorm one item that you are responsible for. Some props are clear, like a handkerchief or a wine glass. Others will take a little more creativity!)
- What is going to make your group's presentation stand out? What have you worked on and agreed on as a group for your scene?
My character is Othello, and in this scene he is stressed out, sick, and tired. I am going be sitting for most of the scene. He has a pain at his forehead, so I will rub it, to show that I have a headache. I have been practicing my best Moroccan accent, and I will speak in low and heavy tones. Othello seems like a big guy so I’ll try spread out my body. I want to bring a bandana as the handkerchief, and a blanket as a cloak. I think the blanket as a cloak is a nice touch. Then I am going to memorize my lines and try to sound as convincing as possible. Hopefully everyone’s acting skills will be in top condition. I believe if everyone memorizes their part, knows when to come in and out, and brings in a prop, then we’ll be fine, and we’ll stand out for sure. My scene is a very important part of the story. This is the scene when Iago finds the handkerchief he is going to use to frame Cassio.
5/1/13 Journal #5:
- Analyze one of your lines from your scene. Quote it directly and then explain why it is important to the play, and how you showed its importance in your performance. How did you deliver this line?
- Did your group's performance go as you expected and planned? Now that it is over, what are you proud of? What would you have done differently in your performance?
- How did performing the play change your understanding of it?
I played Othello, and although my lines were short, they had a lot of meaning, and had an huge influence on my overall performance. I had three lines, and out of all of them, the one that said the most to me, was the one when I stood up and said, “I have a pain upon my forehead here.” It doesn’t seem very important at first glance, but Shakespeare did write this line for a reason. He wanted to show the first step towards Othello’s downfall. The “pain,” is arguably foreshadowing that could hint at greater pain for Othello in the future. He is stressed and sick and it will only get worse later on. This is also when he loses his special handkerchief, which causes him to lose his sensibility and he is mentally conquered by anger and jealously, the green-eyed monster. If Othello wasn’t sick, he wouldn’t had been angry, which means he wouldn’t have thrown his handkerchief onto the ground. If he hadn’t left his handkerchief out there in the open, Emilia never would had been able to steal it and give it to Iago. If Iago was never given that handkerchief, he wouldn’t have had the opportunity to frame Cassio. The handkerchief is the most important item in the story. Without it, there would be no plot, thus my scene where Othello loses the handkerchief, is the most important scene in the story.
My performance went very well. I actually think we were one of the best ones. I memorized my lines and stayed in character. Sure I wasn’t expecting a Tony/Oscar performance, but It did go the way I expected. It could’ve been worse, but it wasn’t, so I’m happy. If I had to do anything differently, I would encourage my group members to memorize their lines, but over all I thought that my (excuse me) our performance went well.
Performing the play was an interesting experience because I could now witness Shakespeare's words come to life. So I guess seeing the action helped me understand the visuals a little better. To be honest when we were reading, we discussed, wrote about, and analyzed this book so many times, that by the time we performed, I had already understood Shakespeare's language as if it was my own. Recently I saw a Shakespeare comedy called Love’s Labor’s Lost. I’ve never read or heard of this play before, and when watching it, I was surprised by how well I could keep up with the plot. I understand Othello, and I understand Shakespeare.