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Othello. By William Shakespeare. Key Facts…. Full title: Othello Type of Work: Play Genre: Tragic drama, historical drama First Performed: by the King’s Men at the Court of King James I November 1, 1604. About the play….

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By William Shakespeare

key facts
Key Facts…
  • Full title: Othello
  • Type of Work: Play
  • Genre: Tragic drama, historical drama
  • First Performed: by the King’s Men at the Court of King James I November 1, 1604
about the play
About the play…
  • Othello is set against the backdrop of the wars between Venice and Turkey that raged in the latter part of the sixteenth century. Cyprus, which is the setting for most of the action, was a Venetian outpost attacked by the Turks in 1570 and conquered the following year.
about the play continued
About the Play Continued…
  • Othello begins on a street in Venice, in the midst of an argument between Roderigo, a rich man, and Iago. Roderigo has been paying Iago to help him in his suit to Desdemona. But Roderigo has just learned that Desdemona has married Othello, a general whom Iago begrudgingly serves as ensign. Iago says he hates Othello, who recently passed him over for the position of lieutenant in favor of the inexperienced soldier Michael Cassio.
themes in the play
Themes in the Play…
  • The Incompatibility of Military Heroism & Love
  • The Danger of Isolation
motifs in the play
Motifs in the Play…

Motifs are recurring structures, contrasts, or literary devices that can help to develop and inform the text’s major themes.

  • Sight and Blindness
  • Plants
  • Animals
  • Hell, Demons and Monsters
symbols in the play
Symbols in the Play…
  • Symbols are objects, characters, figures, or colors used to represent abstract ideas or concepts.
  • The Handkerchief
  • The song “Willow”
significant terms
Significant Terms…
  • Tragedy: a form of drama usually involving a conflict between a character and some higher power, such as the law, the gods, fate, or society.
  • Blank verse: a verse form consisting of unrhymed lines of iambic pentameter.
  • Prose: the ordinary language people use in speaking or writing
  • Pun: the humorous use of a word or phrase to suggest two or more meanings at the same time.
significant terms continued
Significant Terms Continued…
  • Soliloquy: speech, usually lengthy, in which a character, alone on stage, expresses his or her thoughts aloud.
  • Conflict:

1. External: dispute between the protagonist and another character or nature

2. Internal: occurs when the protagonist struggles within himself or herself

a few more terms
A few more terms…
  • Foil: A foil character is either one who is in most ways opposite to the main character or nearly the same as the main character.
  • Anachronism: A thing out of its time. A problem in historical fiction in that a writer may make reference to an invention or custom that was not known in the period in which his or her story is set.
the last of the terms
The last of the terms…
  • Situational irony: The discrepancy between what is expected and what actually happens.
  • Verbal irony: A character says the opposite of what he or she means.
  • Dramatic irony: Dramatic irony is most effective when characters make fateful choices based on information the reader realizes is incorrect.
introducing who can you become the cast of othello
Introducing? Who Can You Become?The Cast of Othello…
  • Othello- The play’s protagonist and hero. A Christian Moor and general of the armies of Venice.
  • Desdemona- The daughter of the Venetian senator Brabanzio. Desdemona and Othello are secretly married before the play begins.
  • Iago- Othello’s ensign (ancient or standard bearer) and the villain of the play.
the cast of othello continued
The Cast of Othello Continued…
  • Michael Cassio - Othello’s Lieutenant. His high position is resented by Iago.
  • Emilia - Iago’s wife and Desdemona’s attendant. Distrusts her husband and is attached to Desdemona.
  • Roderigo - A jealous suitor of Desdemona. Young, rich and foolish.
  • Bianca - A prostitute in Cyprus.
the cast of othello continued14
The Cast of Othello Continued…
  • Brabanzio - Desdemona’s father. He feels betrayed that the General married his daughter in secret.
  • Duke of Venice - Official authority of Venice. The Duke has great respect for Othello.
  • Montano - The governor of Cyprus before Othello.
  • Lodovico - One of Brabanzio’s kinsmen.
  • Graziano - Another of Brabanzio’s kinsmen.
  • Clown - Othello’s servant. Look to him for puns.