The Purpose of this Blog

Your task on this blog is to write a brief summary of what we learned in class today. Include enough detail so that someone who was ill or missed the lesson can catch up with what they missed. Over the course of the term, these 'class scribe' posts will grow to be a guide book for the course, written by students for students.

With each post ask yourself the following questions:
1) Is this good enough for our guide book?
2) Will your post enable someone who wasn't here to catch up?
3) Would a graphic/video/link help to illustrate what we have learned?

Thursday, 9 December 2010

Narrative Voice And Aspects Of Narrative

We began the lesson looking at what we thought narrative voice was and had a discussion on that, we then discussed David's Lodge's idea of Narrative voice which was " The choice of the point of view from which the story is told, fundamentally affects the way readers will respond, emotionally and morally, to the fictional character and their actions"

One example of this is Desperate Housewives as one of the character's dies in the first series and then narrates the rest of the other series which an narrative technique known as Omniscient- all knowing.

We then looked at why narrator's are used and what effect they have which was " the narrator is used to organise, select, and present information. The narrator may also:

- Judge
- Directly address's the reader
- Be a participant in the story
-Be a detached observer
- Be "transparent"
- And lastly appear to speak with the voice of the author.

We were then given a sheet about narrative voices and point of views in which we had to read the definitions of the different types of narrator and narrative voices and to match them with the correct term.

Intrusive Narrator:
A narrator who, telling the story in the third person, intervenes in the narrative, with a comment in the first person.

Interior Monologue:
First person, as though the narrator is verbalising their thoughts as they occur.

Third Person Omniscient Narrator:
A narrator who is assumed to know everything connected with the story narrated. Refers to the characters as "he" or "she". Often popularly assumed to be the author.

Multiple Voices:
More than one narrative voice used in a single text. Can be first or third person or a mixture of the two.

First Person Narrative:
A narrator who speaks as "i", often a character who plays a role in the story, although it may not be his or her own story.

In a third person narrative, the character from whose perspective the action is seen.

Inadequate Narrator:
A narrator who doesn't seem to understand as much about what's happening as the reader.

Self-Conscious Narrator:
Reminds the reader that what they are reading is fiction, dispelling any illusion that the characters are real people etc.

Second Person Address:
A narrative voice that directly addresses the reader as "you" Its rare for a whole text to do this, as it's very hard to maintain.

Unreliable Narrator:
A narrator who is perhaps self-deceiving or who cannot be trusted to give a version of events that is to be believed.

Stream Of Consciousness:
A narrative style that imitates the qualities of thoughts and feelings, making the reader feel as if they're inside someones head. The grammar and structure suggest the random and fragmentary nature of thought. In the third person it's an extreme version of free indirect style. In the first person it's an extreme version of interior monologue.

Free Indirect Style:
Third person narration in which a character's thoughts and feelings seem to be directly expressed, freely taking on views and often language of that character. Narratives often slide between conventional third person narration and this style, moving from a more detached voice to one that is more intimately connected to one character or another.

Further to this we we given another sheet in which we had to identify what choices of narrative voice have been used by referring to the other sheet and there were four extracts in which had to guess the correct narrative voice.

First extract: First person / Interior monologue
Second Extract: Third person omniscient narrator
Third extract: Free indirect style
Fourth extract: Intrusive narrator.
( If you weren't in you need to get the sheets of Sir)

Lastly we had to choose a popular nursery rhyme or short story in which everyone knew and write it using one of the narrative voice's.

My example was (not very good to be honest) was a nursery rhyme which was:

Original Version:
There once was a little girl who had a curl right in the middle of her forehead; when she was good she was very, very good, when she was bad she was horrid.

My Version:
Did you ever hear of the girl with the curl in the middle of her forehead? Well from what I've heard this girl isn't too pleasant when she's bad, in fact i know too well she's horrid.

We then had to guess what other students narrative voice was. can you guess mine?

-Be Awesome (as always)
- Be ready to read next Wednesday.
- Comment on the blog, with an example of different narrative voices.

Lucy Purdy.

Tuesday, 7 December 2010

07/12/10 - Othello's only Soliloquy

We began this lesson by discussing the importance of Othello's only soliloquy and how it could help us in understanding his character.
Many notable points came up such as:
  • The soliloquy is a sign of Othello becoming more like Iago.
  • The idea that, although Othello is the tragic hero, he has only one soliloquy in comparison to other Shakespearean tragic heroes. e.g. Hamlet.
  • The way in which the soliloquy reveals all of Othello's insecurities about himself.
We also discussed the views of critics such as Fintan O'Toole and S.L. Bethell (coursework booklet, page 27). These critics analyse the way in which Othello's language has been affected and changed by Iago throughout the play.
The critics ranged from discussing Othello's increased use of animalistic imagery towards the end of the play to the idea of Iago and Othello almost merging together.

We then read from Act 4, Scene 2 to near the end of Act 5, Scene 1; pausing at various points to discuss the importance of some of the events.

- Read through the Coursework questions on the first page of your coursework booklet and pick one that you think you may choose to do.
- Read through page 28 of the Coursework booklet and make notes.

Roman A.

Wednesday, 1 December 2010

Act 4 scenes 1 – Act 4 Scene 2

Pages 145 – 167

30. November 2010


1 – Homework
2 – Bianca and Cassio
3 – Listen and Describe
4 - Frank Kermode
5 – Example Essays

1 – Homework:
• Essay Question + AO Criteria:
Look at Othello’s syntax in Act 4 Scene 1 Lines 243 and throughout the scene. How Does it compare to Act 1? Look at Act 1 Scene 3 Lines 127 onwards?

Syntax - the patterns of formation of sentences and phrases from words.

Use success criteria to help you:
• Use of evidence embedded
• Link between paragraphs
• AO2 – Analysis of language, structure/ form
• AO4 – Relevant context fed in
• AO3 – Awareness that texts have different interpretations

(Get Booklet from Mr Sadgrove)

• Read the booklet on Othello.
o Use one of these critics’ opinions on Othello’s Language in your essay (Pgs – 27)

2 – Bianca & Cassio:

Choose whether you agree with each of the following opinions:
(Strongly Agree – Agree – Not Sure – Disagree – Strongly Disagree)

1. The meeting between Bianca and Cassio is needed for the plot.
2. Their relationship is used to contrast with Othello and Desdemona’s relationship.
3. Bianca is a contrast to Desdemona and shows how virtuous she is
4. Bianca is another woman who is exploited by a man
5. It provides light relief from the tension of the main plot
6. It is a filler that is only included to delay the main action and increase the dramatic tension.

3 – Listen & Describe:
What is the difference between these two music?




Mellifluous – pleasantly flowing
Staccato – Jumpy/ broken
Legato: smooth

My Interpretations:

Music 1:
o Soft
o Happy
o Light
o Soothing
o Clear/ refined
o Tranquil
o Constant
o Peaceful
o Mellifluous

Music 2:
o Unpredictable
o Joyful
o Energetic
o Aggressive
o Proud
o Harsh
o Staccato
o Fast tempo

4 – Frank Kermode:

Kermode suggests that the dialogue moves from a preoccupation with ‘thinking’ to a focus on ‘seeing’

Kermode conveys that this scene marks a shift in Othello’s own lexis (the words he uses), in that he starts to speak like Iago:

‘Before the temptation scene it is impossible to imagine Othello using the vocabulary of Iago, he rarely uses language appropriate to prose. Until he collapses he speaks grandly. Later come the repetitions of ‘handkerchief’ the questioning of the sense in which Iago uses the word ‘lie’, the pathetic stress on ‘honesty’, the slang picked up from Iago and the vile berating of Desdemona, whom he calls a whore, which suits his action in striking her.’

5 – Example Essay:

The change in Othello’s character becomes more dramatic as play moves towards its tragic conclusion. We see this change reflected in Othello’s language as the spring of tragedy is wound tighter and tighter by Iago. In Act 1, ‘Valiant’ Othello’s flowing and beautiful verse is full of bright imagery. Indeed his speech alone is able to stop potential trouble: ‘Keep up your bright swords for the dew will rust them.

The breakdown in his character however means a break down in his language. This is reflected in both his lexis and syntax. Critics such as W.H. Clemen note this in his increasing references to Animals: ‘from the third scene on Othello’s fantasy is filled with images of repulsive animals…’ Indeed Othello’s bizarre last words in act 4 scene 1 ‘Goats and monkeys’ highlight the effect of Iago’s poison on his mind.

Hope this has helped you
Good luck

Best Wishes

Criticism on my blog would be appreciated

Chris. 张

Wednesday, 24 November 2010

23rd November ’10, Tuesday

Othello: Act 3 Scene 3 the tipping point scene.

We started the lesson with an activity that was writing 3 words on each of the 6 pictures that were put up on the board. These pictures showed various things like love, manipulation, pouring of pestilence into Othello’s ear etc. After that we focused on line 229 spoken by Othello of Act 3 Scene 3 i.e. “And yet how nature erring from itself-“ this break in his sentence shows that he is losing the flow in his speech and also shows that the Othello is no more the one who could stop fights with his words. We then went through Othello’s soliloquy which marks the change in Othello i.e. in the words he uses and his behaviour.

We then continued reading Scene 3 and reached an important part of the play i.e. the dropping of the handkerchief by Desdemona. The handkerchief was the first gift that Othello had given to Desdemona. The handkerchief is the main tool used by Iago to bring about the tragedy that he wanted. The next important thing in Scene 3 is the use of Imperatives (commands/orders) by Iago on pg: 119 these give us ideas about Iago which state that he doesn’t love Emilia instead he uses her as a tool, it might also be an hint of homosexuality or the status of women in those times.

Then the course of action is set up by Othello when he asks Iago for visual proof of Desdemona cheating on him. We continued reading and we found that Othello is now in conflict with himself. He has also started making use of violent imagery and antithesis which shows Iago’s influence on him. Iago in his next line i.e.” I see, sir, you are eaten up with passion.” Sums up what has happened to Othello.

As we continue reading we came across a pentameter split (they share the verse, they come together on the basis of their thoughts) between Iago and Othello. And we see a massive change in Othello when he says: “I’ll tear her all into pieces!” at the end of pg: 125, this line of Othello comes in contrast with his line on pg: 115 where he says: “If she be false, O then heaven mocks itself; I’ll not believe it.” This shift in Othello’s thoughts within the span of 150 lines becomes an evidence for his minds instability. We read through the whole of Scene 3 and came across powerful imagery and few lines like “Do not rise yet” which show that Iago is the one in power now.

• For Home Work : Make a flow chart of Act 3 Scene 3 showing the way Othello shifts from being confident in Desdemona to being confident in Iago.
• Read the sheet given by Sir a few classes ago.
• Comment on this blog.

Tuesday, 23 November 2010

What is a thesis statement?

We began the lesson discussing what makes a thesis statement great. We did this by comparing two thesis statements:

The character of Ben in Arthur Miller’s Death of A Salesman serves a complex dramatic function.


Ben personifies the defeat of Willy’s hopes in regards to both material success and the proper role of a father. 

We concluded that the second one is better because it answers the question and the reader can pick out the foundation of the essay, therefore the main body of the essay will consist of evidence supporting the thesis statement.

A thesis statement:
tells the reader how you will interpret the significance of the subject matter under discussion.
is a road map for the paper; in other words, it tells the reader what to expect from the rest of the essay.
directly answers the question asked of you. A thesis is an interpretation of a question or subject, not the subject itself.
makes a claim that others might dispute.
is usually a single sentence somewhere in your first paragraph that presents your argument to the reader. The rest of the paper, the body of the essay, gathers and organises evidence that will persuade the reader of the logic of your interpretation.

Overall, the main outcome of the lesson was to understand a thesis statement- presents an arugment rather than re-phrasing the question. Also a thesis statment DOES NOT state facts that no one would, or even could, disagree with, it's possible that you are simply providing a summary, rather than making an argument.

HOMEWORK: work on coursework, bring it in next lesson to work on during class. Also comment on what you have just read :D

Kind regards, Aisha

Tuesday, 16 November 2010

Is Iago homosexual?

Hi :D

We started this lesson by firstly discussing whether or not Iago could possibly be gay.

Many came to the judgment that he probably isn’t, as even though he constantly states his “love” for Othello this could be to only deceive him more rather then showing his actual feelings. Sir asked us the question whether Iago may be jealous of Othello’s love towards Cassio.

We had this discussion in order to understand that there are many different interpretations of the play, as many readers create different meanings of the text. This is one of the AO criteria meaning that it should be included in your coursework answer. What should also be included is information on views of the time the play was written, such as women and black people.

We then (due to the fact that it was Eid and not all the class was in) watched Othello the movie.

The End

P.s I’m such a awesome student I wasn’t even told to do this.

Esmeralda ;)

Sunday, 14 November 2010

There is no Othello without Iago

At the beginning of the lesson the task was to think of a time when you have been tempted to do something, we had to write 1 paragraph on it and state:
-end result
Then we moved onto a whether or not Iago is more of a tragic hero then Othello, what we think of this view and also is Othello even a tragic hero?.

we came to the conclusion that Iago is like the puppet master and he practically controls everyones next move with emotional blackmail and deceptive comments etc.
Iago is the one putting negativity into Othello's head and now Othello is using references to what Iago has said before, whereas he never used to for example when Othello says "forked plague" this means a husband that has been lied to, this shows that he believes in what Iago is saying about Desdemona being deceptive.
Othello shows other signs of Iago's references for example lines 179-194 of Act 3 Scene 3 Othello uses the word doubt four times this shows us that he is undermining his words and trying to convince himself what he is saying is true and this also shows that Iago's negative words are seeping its way into Othello's thoughts and the language he uses.

Iago uses many different techniques to put words into Othello's mouth like when they describe a man of colour Iago usually says something harsh and with negative imagery for example in one of the first speeches of act 3 scene 3 that Iago says he tries to slyly say to Othello that Desdemona is capable of lying and she has already done it to her dad so she would do it to him to the audience can see that Othello is swayed by this and agrees a little.
In the second speech that Iago says to Othello he lied to Desdemona's dad because he loves Othello and tries to suck up to him and in return Othello says that he is in Iago's debt,
Iago then starts saying to Othello that he has seen what its done to Othello but Othello is in denial and keeps repeating that it hasn't effected him this shows that he is trying to convince himself that what he is saying is true once again and also it shows that Iago is succeeding in getting Othello to doubt himself.

To sum it up we had to say what the quote "there is no Othello without Iago" meant to us in the light of this scene, some people came up with the conclusion that it meant that Iago controls Othello and all the actions Othello does are composed by Iago etc.

Our homework was to write about how language, structure and form effect a soliloquy, we have to use the term Lexis (speech) and...
-How is the influence over Othello shown in a soliloquy?
-use the term antithesis
-how does the form of soliloquy add to this effect?
And last but not least we have to finish reading notes for separation on Tuesdays lesson...

Arigatou Gozaimasu >.<

Tuesday, 9 November 2010

The tragic tipping point

Our starter was to define what we thought the tragic tipping point was in a play with which some members in the class shared their views on it (most of the class agreed that it was the point where everything would soon crumble into a tragedy). Then we watched the start of Orsen Welles famous 1952 version of Othello which showed the tombs of Desdemona and Othello being carried to their resting places (you can find this version of Othello on youtube). From this we discussed in small groups what effect we thought Welles was trying to put across to us the audience by putting their death scene first-my group said it was the bait to catch in the audience. We read act 3 scene 3 of the play which was basically about Iago manipulating Othello into paranoia about Desdemona possibly having an affair with Cassio (Iago pretending to reluctantly tell Othello about his thoughts on the matter). We then used the conversation analysis sheet to see if conversations were following a set pattern or not which i can explain in more detail to those who were not in if they see me.

Our homework was to write two paragraphs on linguistic analysis and one paragraph picking an imagery quote from act 3 which shows the play is at a tipping point and explain it in relation to what is happening in the scene.


Wednesday, 3 November 2010

Tragedy? Dramatic Devices, Expressionism, and Realism

Before I start, we were told that we were going to be practicing essays for the sake of our coursework later on, so it might be worth reviewing the Assessment Objectives (A01, A02, etc.) in my previous post if your interested :P

We began the lesson by imagining which dramatic devices that we would use for emphasis when directing DoaS. People came up with these thingies:
-Way Dialouge is Spoken
-Body Language
-Facial Expressions
When the comments are eventually posted, you'll be able to see details on the ones that are already included in the play, emphasis on eventually. (:S)

We then discussed, as a class, the use of the Flute in the play- with the two most prominent examples given as:
-Act 1, Pg1-2, When Willy comes home without selling anything
-Requiem, Pg107-108, Plays around the time that Happy was the last one to leave the scene.
It was agreed that the Flute always had a close relation to Willy, with the deeper meaning revealed as "The flute is Willy going to his 'happy place'. It is seem as a link to the simpler past or tie to Willy's idealistic future".

If that befuddled anyone, be sure to talk to someone from the class that may have a better idea of how to explain it. Relating to the Holiday Homework, we then discussed what Realism and Expressionism are when used in plays. The definitions compiled are as so:

-Realism: When a play focuses on events that have happened or could happen in real life.
Characters are realistic, and easily relateable.

-Expressionism: Characters express their innermost feelings or emotions through actions
that relate to them, which are sometimes obscure as a result. It is an
attempt to make a play relateable to a wider audience, as anyone
capable of emotion can ideally feel some relation to the characters, even
without the plays wider meaning being felt.

If Expression confused anyone, again talk to someone from the class, but beware that there was much confusion there aswell (D':)

Dramatic Devices are used in DoaS: Review the comments for details on each one, there are mini-presentaions on all of them.

Oh, and there was no homework! Yay! :D
~Dylan :P

Tuesday, 2 November 2010

At first we were discussing abit from Jean Anouilh's script for the play Antigone.
It describes how tragedy is inevitable and that it can happen to anyone, and it is easily triggered. It was quite long to fit into this blog. the key quotes were

'The spring is wound up tight. it will uncoil herself'.'Anything will set it going'. 'The rest is automatic. You dont need to lift a finger'. 'Death, treason, and sorrow are on the march'. 'he who kills is as innocent as he who gets killed'. 'All you can do is shout.i did not say groan, whimper, can get at all those things said that you never dared say'.

This had a connection with Othello. quotes like 'death, treason, and sorrow are on the march' remind us that we know Othello's character isnt going to end happy. Also 'he who kills is as innocent as he who gets killed' is the same with Iago and the question, if Iago is an evil villain.

Afterwards, we read 2 scenes from the book, which were only about five minutes in total, as both were really short. The reasons for these short scenes is to keep the action going, and not delaying anything. We also see that the play is getting faster, and also comes off the usual topic of Iago. Now we see Othello puts his concentration back into the battle with the turks. Meanwhile, Desdemona speaks to Cassio and assures him that she will get his job back, and becomes a nagging machine.
We then changed their words into what they actually are thinking. I would type it up, but it would make no sense to people that werent in ;)

That was basically the highlight of the lesson... comment NOW

Tuesday, 26 October 2010

Villains, villains, villains...

Hello class, welcome to my second blog post of the year. (Sorry for the delay)

During our last English Literature lesson of this half term we looked at the controversial topic of 'Villains'. As we came into the classroom we were asked to write down what makes a good villain in our own opinions.
Here are some of the points I came up with :

A good villain is someone who uses people's flaws and discrete weaknesses to bring them down, as opposed to brute strength.
A successful villain is always more complex and generally intriguing than the hero.
There must be a valid reason as to why the anti-hero became a villain in the first place.
Villains are not bound by any rules, the way heroes are, which is truly fascinating because technically anyone can be a villain is we let go of our boundaries.

Next, in groups of three, or in some cases four, we looked at Iago's soliloquy from Act 2 Scene 3 (which you can find on page 87 of the 'Othello' book), after reading his speech in turns we then decided upon the most important word from each line. This is what my group ended up with:


The point of this exercise was for us to see what Iago's speech reveals about him as a character, here he talks about playing the role of the villain which suggests that in reality he might only be acting evil. Another thing that comes through in his soliloquy is the Iago's dual personality as at some points he talks of his monstrous plan of bringing Othello down through Cassio and Desdemona, however he then goes on to talk about the valid advise that he has given to Cassio in order for him to get his position back.A conclusion that I, personally came to is that, although Iago has the greatest iteraction with the audience, as he is the only character who directly speaks to the public we know nothing about him. He is very much hidden away behind the mask on a villain.

Mr Sadgrove then introduced the class to the literary concept of antithesis. According to antithesis is :

opposition; contrast: the antithesis of right and wrong.

the direct opposite (usually fol. by of or to ): Her behavior was the very antithesis of cowardly.

Rhetoric .
a. the placing of a sentence or one of its parts against another to which it is opposed to form a balanced contrast of ideas, as in “Give me liberty or give me death.”

b. the second sentence or part thus set in opposition, as “or give me death.”

The use of antithesis confirms the idea that Iago posseses a dual-personality, we can also see throught his linguistic flexability, more specificaly- his ability to change from speaking in verse to prose. This means that he can adapt to any situation, whether it requires him so speak to someone of a higher status like Othello or a commoner like Roderigo.

Earlier during the lesson Mr Sadgrove asked us whether we thought Iago was a believable character or just a dramatic devise that Shakespeare uses to move the narrative along. We came to the conlcusion that we would possibly understand Iago better at the end of the play, when his motives might finally be revealed, because at this point he remains a mystery.

We then listened to the rest of Act 2 Scene 3.

Finnaly, we were asked to write down three things that we had learned about Iago as a villain thins lesson, two questions we had about him and analogy for Iago.

Now the part you've all been waiting for- the homework.

1. Complete the worksheet titled 'Analysing Iago's soliloquy Act 2 Scene 3 Lines 303 - 329'.

2. Write an essay on 'What does Iago's soliloquy reveal about him as a tragic villain?

-Refer to Renaissance views of what tragedy is and the role of a tragic villain.
(Research Machiavelli and Machiavellian villains) (AO4)

-Analyse language, structure and form in detail
(Refer to antithesis, repetition, imagery, rhyming couplets etc) (AO2)

Show that you are aware of different interpretations other than your own.

That is all, hope you all enjoy your holidays because they won't last for long.

Much love,


Thursday, 21 October 2010

Requiem and its relation to the story of Death of A salesman

20 October 2010:

1- Homework
2- Requiem
3- Group discussion
4- Is Willy a Tragic hero?
5- Bonus Task

1 –Homework: (Due After Half Term)

Essay Question:
“Is Willy Loman A tragic hero?

Research Question:
Find out Expressionism & Realism in theatre

What is the flute all about?

2 –Requiem:

A mass (Catholic celebration) where people honour/ pray for dead person
Point of the requiem is… (Continue sentence):
- Why did Miller include it?
- What additional information do we learn about Willy?
- Why is this important?
- Does it tell us anything else about what Miller is trying to say with his play?

Why is it used? (Millers viewpoint):

“But the key is in the requiem at the end”

“What is the point of a funeral? You want to think over the life of the departed and it’s in there. Really, that it’s nailed down: he won’t accept his life.”

“However I did not realize while writing the play that so many people in the world do not see as clearly, or would not admit, as I thought they must, how futile most lives are; so there could be no hope of consoling the audience for the death of this man.”

“This man is actually a very brave spirit who cannot settle for half but must pursue his dream of himself to the end. That this was no dumb brute heading mindlessly to his catastrophe.”

My Interpretations:

Willy’s death in this story is not because he has given up on life as most people have thought. But in fact he is defying it. As a man who cannot accept defeat (even if it was going wrong) “a very brave spirit who cannot settle for half but must pursue his dream of himself to the end”. His death was to express his raging (mentioned in previous Death of a salesman blog) His death also proves that it has been planned for a long time and he knows he has died for a reason giving his family a new fresh start in life “this was no dumb brute heading mindlessly to his catastrophe.”

3- Group Discussion (Analysing Characters Viewpoints on Willy’s life):


- He never saw his dad “winning” so he tells the others not to blame him for killing himself.
- But Deep down He sees his father as a liar and a fake
o Blaming him for everything which altered his life
o He has been prevented from seeing his strengths and weaknesses clearly (stuck in mentality of teenager)
o Realises Willy’s death is trying to take control of his life
- “He Didn’t know himself”
- Forgetting that the stoop was constructed from stolen materials, Biff muses fondly, "there's more of him in that front stoop than in all the sales he ever made.“


- Didn’t know charley as well as his family though he cared for him
- Relates to American Dream (successful)
- Biff & Charley conflicts their views about the American dream
o Biff: Understands failures of it
o Charley: Bought in to it more
- Charley understands Willy’s death as a sacrifice for his sons “ nobody dast blame this man” having a more objective viewpoint
o And for a salesman, there is no rock bottom to the life. He don’t put a bolt to a nut, he don’t tell you the law or give you medicine. He’s a man way out there in the blue, riding on a smile and a shoeshine. And when they start not smiling back – that’s an earthquake. Nobody dast blame this man. A salesman is got to dream, boy. It comes with the territory.” (1264)
o Self contradictory, both realistic about forgiving and generous to Willy.
o Lack of foundation or substance to Willy’s dream and capitalism as a whole


- Doesn’t understand why Willy took his own life instead of confiding with his family
o “Had no right to do it” “We would’ve helped him.” Empty promise
- Hopes to do Willy proud
o “He had a good dream” maintain Willy’s dream and his fight
- He Hints at regret; Not making the most of his time with his father
- “I’m gonna show you that Willy Loman didn’t die in vain.”
o Admires Willy’s dreams without admiring Willy himself


- “Why didn’t anyone come?”
o Told a lot of stories about how successful Willy is, She half believed them
- “maybe they blame him” “they wouldn’t blame him”
o Switches between believing and not believing him. She is dutiful to the point of encouraging Willy in his delusions (gone on for long time)
- She has more authority over the two boys
- Her character epitomises Willy’s destructive path – blocking attitude.

4- -Is Willy Loman a tragic Hero?

How well does Willy match these criteria?

- born at the start of play
- king or leader of noble birth
- must suffer more than deserves
- faces and accepts death with honour
- learns from mistakes
- responsible for own fate
- falls from esteem
- realizes s/he made a mistake
- meets a tragic death


- Miller argues that tragedy is not restricted to kings and queens
- the common man is capable of heroism and tragedy
- Miller's tragedy = The result of an individual's quest for personal dignity and occurs when an individual attempts to evaluate existence justly.
- tragic flaw = an unwillingness to submit passively to the established order and values
- in Willy's descent, there is a tragic paradox; for as he moves towards inevitable destruction, he acquires that knowledge, that sense of reconciliation, which allows him to conceive a redemptive plan for his house
- Loman, the contemporary her, embarks upon a most courageous Odyssey: the descent into the self, where he engages his most dangerous enemy, himself.


- In the traditional sense, Willy is neither noble nor heroic
- does not measure up to the stature of a great and good man
- a small man, a mere failure who does not have the sufficient grace to warrant universal concern
- doesn't have just one tragic flaw - he has many (disloyal, headstrong, short tempered, proud, false, etc)
- common man is not of high stature

5- Bonus Task:

- Write a commentary on the requiem.
o ...showing what it adds to the play and what you feel about it as an ending.

There’s my blog hopefully this has helped you out
Good luck.

Criticism on blog will be good thanks.

Best wishes

Chris. 张

Wednesday, 20 October 2010

At the beginning of the lesson we had to discuss in pairs reputation and these points:
How important it is to you.
How your reputation can change.
If you can lose it or gain it.
What the relationship is between your identity and your reputation.

We then had a class discussion with everyone having a different view on whether reputation was important or not, with Yahaya stating that 'your reputation was an indication of who you are'.

Sir then asked us to draw a character from the play and to write comments on the outside of the character that referred to how they acted publicly, and on the inside how they acted privately. On the board sir drew an example with Iago stating on the outside 'loyal to Othello', and on the inside Janus; the two faced God. This was to establish the dicotomy between the characters public and private life.

We then read the play and realised how short Act 2 scene 2 was and analused the effect of this. Act 2 scene 2 is a statement by the Herald announcing victory over the Turks and the marriage of Othello and Desdemona, sparking off celebrations on the island. We then started to read Act 2 scene 3 where Othello tells Cassio to keep guard the night of the celebration. Iago arrives and the scene momentarily changes to prose. Iago is trying to persuade Cassio to drink, he succeeds and then has another silioquay showing his intentions to shame Cassio by getting him to somehow offend the Isle of Cyprus.

We then got into groups of 4 to re-read Iago's sililoquay and stop everytime we reached a full stop. Everytime we stopped we discussed whether it was a key phrase or key words. We were then fortunate enought to have an interview with a rather annoying Iago who demonstrated Iago's ablilty to manipulate what we were saying and avoid our questions.

Iago repeatedly has these silioquays which interacts with the audience revealing his plans, consequently making the audience feel as if they are part fo Iago's plans.

We then continued to read Act 2 scene 3 where after Iago's sililoquay we see Iago, Cassio, Monatano and gentlemen breaki9ng into songs and Cassio feeling the worse for weather. The speech has changed to prose because Iago's and Cassio's conversation is a drunk one. Iago and Montano are having a conversation and Iago makes it appear as if Cassio is a drunk, Roderigo goes after Cassio where a fight ensues. Montano attempts to break up the fight where Cassio threatens to hit him aswell. Iago then acts to be the mediator between the three when Othello arrives. Iago uses very clever vocabulary to describe the situation and refer it to Othello who has just arrived; 'Bride and groom', 'disresting them for bed', all show Iago's ability to appeal to his audience with the language that he uses. It's a very good example of how Iago manipulates people solely with his language.

We see in this scene perhaps Othello starting to crack. At the beginning of the play Othello could stop a fight with just words. Now we see Othello does not know what to follow; his heart or his head, Iago could be finally getting to him. P.79.

Iago grasses up Cassio for starting the fight but is making it out as if he is on Cassio's side and downplay's what Cassio does to over-react to the situation and get angrier at Cassio then he originally would of. P.81.

Othello leaves stage with a rhyming couplet to give a more dramatic effect. Iago is left with Cassio where Cassio is breaking down because he lost his reputation which he describes as 'the immortal oart of himself'. Iago tries to reassure him reputation does not matter. The whole conversation is in prose once again highlighting Iago's ability to change his actions dependant on who he is talking to. Iago then tells Cassio to go to Desdemona in hope she will get him his job back, when in actual fact it's part of Iago's plan. Cassio then leaves the stage comincally calling Iago 'honest Iago'.

Sir then wanted us to write a plenary which;
-Had each characters thoughts on reputation
-What do their conflicting views reveal about them as a character and why is this significant?

-Sir gave us a sheet detailing all our homework, this was;
1.... Page 79 - what do you think Othello means in the following quotes? 'now by heaven', 'my blood begins my safer guide to rule', 'And passion having my best judgement collied', and 'Assays to lead the way'.

2... Underline any words or phrases that show Othello's anger.

3... Is this a significant moment in the play? Why?

4... Write 2 paragraphs comparing Othello in Act 1 and Othello here in Act 2. How are they different? Focus on language - choose evidence from both acts and analyse Othello's imagery/ the words he uses - what is the effect of the language in each case?


Leigh Martin!!!!!!

Tuesday, 19 October 2010

Last lesson we read the rest of "death of a salesman". We discussed the homework from the week before which was "who is responsible for the sons behaviour?" we came up with the idea that perhaps Willy was responsible for Biffs attitude towards life, work and woman now because the times that he needed his dad the most he was "doing" another woman.
We were then asked "Why is Willy such a nutter?". During the rest of the play willy is torn between two voices -the woman and his sons. the use of mobile concurrency helps us to understand Willys relationship with the woman and it has helped us understand why Biff has such an unstable relationship with his father. Biff feels that Willy has let him down big time by cheating on Linda.

Through the rest of the play it goes back and forth between Willys past(with the woman) and the present(with his sons). During this scene we are made aware that Willy tends to lie a lot, especially to Biff when he turns up at the hotel years ago while Willy was with "the woman". Willy uses lies such as:
  • shes a buyer
  • there knocking on the wrong door
  • there's nobody there
  • i just heard you -i was in the bathroom and the door was shut
  • i think there's a law in massachussets
  • no, thats next door there having a party
  • their painting her room, i let her take a shower here
  • They must have finished painting her room now
  • there's no stockings here

While Willys thinks that he's back in the hotel room with his mistress everyone else in the present is concered about Willy and the noises that are coming from the bathroom. Willy realises he has offically hit rock bottem and there's no way up from where he is now and the only way to help his sons make something of themselves is by him killing himself. Stanley(a waiter) tries to help Willy up, and when Willy hands him money he refuses saying that the boys already paid him but Willy insists that Stanley take the money by saying "I don't need it anymore" this suggests that he doesn't plan on sticking around for too long and he has other plans(to die). Willy asks Stanley where he can buy seeds from because hes always wanted to plant something. Maybe Willy feels as though the plant will be a fresh start for him and perhaps if he puts more love and care into the plant then he wont ruin its life(like he did his sons). Maybe the plant represents a bit of hope that he has left, or his legacy because he doesn't have anything to be remembered by so perhaps the plant will remind people of him.

Willy is obviously angry through-out all the play, his rage is perhaps his own perception of what sucess is and he knows exactly what he wants and if anything changes or its not what he wants he gets angry. For example when Linda brought the wrong cheese he completly over-reacted. Willy finally acknowledges the fact that hes hit rock bottem and feels that he has nothing to live for, and if he kills himself then Biff will recieve £20,000 which will help him start up a new business to actually make something of his life.

Willy then kills himself.

Homework - (due 20th october 2010)

"to what extent are Biff and Happy's lives a product of their father failed ambitions?"


shiva :) xx

Wednesday, 13 October 2010

The relation of Atheism to 'The Death of a Salesman'

Hello Class...

This lesson we started of by discussing the homework from the previous lesson, which was comment on our views about the Atheism tapes on Esmeralda's blog post.We split into groups of three and thought of one argument that we found can relate to the play.
Here is what we came up with:
'Losing faith'- people can easily change despite strong beliefs.
Adversity can shake faith.
Religion can help in some situations.
Without moral authority life could be seen as pointless.

We then talked about Arthur Miller's view that having belief in God is a 'talent', this relates to 'The Death of a Salesman' in the sense that Arthur Miller had lost faith in God just like Willy Loman had lost faith in the American Dream.

Mr Chatterley then presented the class with the word introspect, the following definition was provided by :
1. verb (used without object)- to practice introspection; consider one's own internal state or feelings.
2. verb (used with object)- to look into or examine (one's own mind, feelings, etc.).

We were then asked the question: "Why is religion not overly mentioned in 'Death of a Salesman'?". Below is a selection of the answers given.
Roman:Religion was not important.
Tamsin: Religion was irrelevant, Miller would be contradicting himself.
Aisha: Miller wanted to be different from other playwrights.
Saways: Atheism was common in the recession, faith was lost in the moral authority, just the way Willy lost faith in Capitalism and the American Dream.
Chris C: Miller being let down by religion is similar to Willy being let down by Capitalism, as he lost everything he had been working for at once.
Daniel: Holy books were only written so that events would be remembered, Willy wants to be remembered by everyone.

Something interesting that we came across was the fact that the man who inspired Willy Loman to become a salesman was called Dave Singleman, this is no coincidence because as Mr Chatterley pointed out that Arthur Miller was a man who thought through every detail of his work. The name suggests that this truly successful salesman lead a lonely existence, which implies that in order for Willy to reach his dream he would have to not be a part of a family as the two things clash.

We then looked at the word 'Meme' which means :
an idea or element of social behaviour passed on through generations in a culture, esp by imitation . (Definition once again courtesy of word links into the theory of capitalism because it is a self-reproducing belief.

Another idea that we were faced with was 'to die for your beliefs', we had to think about whether Willy was a martyr or not.

Then as a class we read pages 73-91 of the play.

During pauses in between reading we answered questions about what certain behaviour implies about the characters, in particular:
The boys lying to impress girls.
The way Willy talks about Oliver (the man Biff was supposed to have a meeting with)
Willy's unusual exit.

The last thing we discussed was the use of mobile concurrency during the restaurant scene, where Willy's argument with Biff triggered his flashback of Biff flunking maths during his senior year of high school.

Now for the homework, there is a choice of two activities with the title"These boys are useless..."

1. Write a mini-essay on the topic.
2. Imagine you overhear the Loman's neighbours talking about the boys like this and write a script about what they would say.

The homework is due in next lesson (Friday October 15th)

Lastly, for anyone who has not seen the Atheism tapes here is a link to them :

Comments will be highly appreciated.
Much love, Aleksandra
Act 2-‘the gathering of a storm’

We started with the lesson by brain storming ‘A Storm’ and what it symbolises in literature (with a beautiful storm musical for effect).

We then had to draw three pictures to illustrate the three scenes in act one. Sir read out passages from each scene which we tried to picture and draw. In this task we were allowed to use speech bubbles. I cannot upload my outstanding art work but here are the passages:
Iago and Roderigo inform Brabantio that his daughter has secretly married Othello. ‘- Scene 1
‘Othello is called to the council on an urgent military business; Brabantio accuses Othello of casting a spell on his daughter’- Scene 2
‘Iago plots revenge, the senate discusses about the war and sends Othello’- Scene 3

Moving on, we read act 2 scene two.We then had to pick out descriptions of Othello from the perspective of Cassio and the governor of Cyprus (Montano). We found that they thought well of him as they described him in a positive manner. For example, Cassio refers to him as ‘Brave Othello’ while Montana declares ‘man commands like a full soldier’. This is significant as he seems to be accepted despite being black. However, this can also be interpreted as Shakespeare playing with dramatic irony because Othello is often referred to by name. This brings up the idea of dichotomy, the split of two things, because though they praise him in public they may think the opposite in private.
We then analysed page 53 by choosing words that are used to describe Desdemona. It was not surprising to find her being described as ‘one excels the quirks of blazing pens’ and being compared to ‘the grace of heaven’, this conforms to the paragon description women received during the renaissance. On the other hand, her description also conveys the stereotype of women being possessions. Desdemona is associated with treasure as her father Brabantio calls her a ‘jewel’ in act 1. This belief is reinforced in act 2 because Cassio lauds Othello for having ‘achieved’ Desdemona . The implication here is that she is a prize or an ornament as Othello has won her. Overall, we concluded that Desdemona was the catalyst causing or triggering Othello’s death as she is ‘the captain’s captain’; she seems tempting could therefore cause trouble.

We had to answer the following Questions:
I. What did you learn today about Othello?
II. What you did not understand?
III. What you find difficult?

Write 10 questions that you would ask Iago in an interview, as he will pop in for a chat next lesson.

Aisha Moallim

Wednesday, 6 October 2010


We began our lesson by getting into pairs, in those pairs we had one partner being a boss whilst another being an employee wanting a raise. The boss would then have to think of reasons as to why he/she wouldn't give the employee a raise.

We then read the book.

After reading it we all had to re-write some of the passage saying what the characters were thinking rather then what they were saying.

My one went like :

(Willy in Howard's office)

Howard: Oh god it's you.

Willy: I need to speak to you.

Howard: Ahh doesn't my daughter have such a beautiful voice?

Willy: I really need to speak to you!

Howard: And my boy is so damn clever, will you just leave already.

Willy: What on earth is that?

Howard: Well i bought it for dictation, it's an amazing machine, but i doubt that you can afford one.

Willy: I could get one, but I don't want one.

Howard: Well you should, it can record radio shows if you miss them.

Willy: That would be good for me, as am always driving and missing them.

Howard: Can't you afford a radio in your car?

Willy: I have it, I just don't use it.

Howard: Wait a minute, why are you not in Boston?

Willy: Because I really need to talk to you about a raise.

Howard: Yes but you should be there, you lost it again eh?

Willy: No! of-course not!

Howard: Oh thank god! Your getting old.

Willy: I've had enough of it, I don't want to travel no more.

Howard: Why on earth not?

Willy: But, remember Christmas you said you would give me a desk job?

Howard: Oh did i, well cant give you one no space.

Willy: But me and your father were so-

Howard: Yes that was then this is now.

Willy: Please, I need this raise.

Howard: No.

Willy: But me and your father-

Howard: No.

Willy: Let me tell you this story-

Howard: Seriously NO, business is business.

Willy: I'll work for fifty dollars please am begging!

Howard: Am sorry, but no.

Willy: 40 dollars, I'll work for anything just pleas give me the job, and am so good at my job.

Howard: No your not, now i must go and get away from you!

Howard exits

Willy: I really need to impress him, desperately need this raise.

Howard: (rushing in) Your still here, you know what you need a break-

Willy: No please done fire me!

Howard: I don't want you to work for us.

Willy: I can't believe your firing me.

Howard: You need to go and relax.

Willy: But I'm broke, i need money.

Howard: Get your two sons to help you.

Willy: Yeah sure thing, like they can help.

Howard: Well I'm sorry, I just cant have you working for us anymore.

Willy: Please this is my life!

Howard: Am busy now. Goodbye.

The end

This was the lesson; for homework we have to comment on my awesome blog on the videos which are in the Chatterley folder located in the W drive.

Esmeralda ;)

Seeds of Tragedy (5/10/10)

We started off the lesson with a task involving facebook updates, but of course, no actual facebook. We were asked to write a comment about Othello, based on what we know, and literally give any opinion about him that came to mind. A few opinions were given, but cause I’m not that fast of a scribe I’ll share my opinion: that Othello is a man of false modesty, as he often talks down about himself and his achievements, but then quotes the in his favour, and possibly even pride, to boost his footing when describing his tale to the Duke.We then discussed a few things to do with writing essays, which when simplified comes out as:

• Use examples from the text, in quotes, and then integrate them into the Essay.
• Stay on task, and don’t ramble. Be sure to always link back to the question.
• Use Word-Level Analysis, basically analyse the words in the quotes with exquisite detail
• Be sure to paragraph, organise your points into them to make it flow, rather than stutter.

After that was discussed, we started, and hopefully finished this task- that if done properly, could be a paragraph in our impending essay
(Mentioned later on):
Task: What does Othello’s Speech reveal about him in both public and private terms?
• Use evidence from the speech, integrate it, then analyse it in detail
• Write at least half a page.

Just put that in there to (1) Take up space, and (2) Fill in anyone who wasn’t there to ‘experience’ it. I recommend doing this for practice if you weren’t there, due to what happened next... We then did the ‘Two Stars and Wish’ system, where we reviewed our own work and decided upon two good points and one thing that we need to work on- which would in turn help us with the essays.

As a fun example, I put my stars as:
• Successfully integrated evidence into the text
• Linked to the question, to a questionable degree of success.

And my Wish was:
• Could have analysed d in much more detail, and should get in more practice to help out with that. And of course, get to the point faster.

Then we went through more of Scene 1 in Othello, and I’m pretty sure that we finished it. We all came across some interesting points whilst going through and here’s what I got down. From Lines 187-196, Brabantio gives his speech about Desdemona, and uses repetition to emphasise his broken heart- the repeating of ‘I have done’ and ‘All my Heart’ show how he has given up on his daughter altogether, and from his speech we can see how dramatically this has affected him. Then we were informed that we are attune to any changes in the situation, and this affects our mood- like a change in lighting or music in a movie may signal an approaching terror or upcoming joy. This is seen when the Duke speaks to Brabantio about the situation with Desdemona and Othello, as he uses a rhyming couplet, in verse, to signal the end of the situation, and alert us to a change in tone. For those of you who are interested, this was:

“To mourn the mischief that is past and gone”
“Is the next way to draw mischief on”

This can be observed again after that point, when that particular issue is brought up. It can be speculated that this is a differentiation from ‘Public’ and ‘Private’ affairs.

Now for some quick notes about various helpful thingies:
• Dramatic Irony: When the Audience clearly knows more than a character on stage. Can be seen when Othello proclaims Iago as “a man of honesty and trust”, and at various other points..
• Prose: Normal Speech, as me or you would talk.
• Verse: 10 Beats per line, and possibly rhyming. Can be seen to signal a change of tone.
• Soliloquy: A speech in which a character, alone on the stage, expresses his thoughts and feelings.

And finally, the H/W was:
Essay 1: How does Act 1 of Othello establish the tragedy?

• AO1 – Articulate creative, informed and relevant responses to literary texts, using appropriate terminology and concepts and coherent, accurate written expression.
• AO2 – Demonstrate detailed critical understanding in analysing the ways in which structure, form and language shape meanings in literary texts.
• AO3 – Explore connections and comparisons between different literary texts, informed by interpretations of other readers.
• AO4 – Demonstrate understanding of the significance and influence of the contexts in which literary texts are written and received.

Also, things to consider for your Essays may be:
• Iago as a Character/ 2 Faced? Using Roderigo, Manipulating Brabantio? Villainous?
• Racial Language/Stereotypes
• Othello’s name unused for the entirety of Scene 1
• Othello as a Tragic Hero (What this means, Quotes from Speeches?)
• Foreboding, Dramatic Irony, Iago’s Soliloquy
• Othello’s trusting nature.

Heres a link to something we did in Class, if it doesn't work, please say so <_<
Thanks all, D. Hughes (:3)

Sunday, 3 October 2010

Linda Loman

At the beginning of the lesson we were asked to mind map all the qualities of a mother, for example:
-Empathetic and so on.

We then gave examples of Mother's who had these qualities such as:
-Bambi's Mum
-Will's Mum (Inbetweeners)
-Peggy Mitchell etc.

We then read from pg. 35 to pg. 49 of Death of a salesman and found out that Willy had on many occasions tried to commit suicide. Linda also found a pipe that Willy had hide from Linda behind the gas heater, but she took it in the morning and placed it back there before he returned home, which begs the answer of why she would do this if she knew he was suicidal? We had a discussion on this and came to the conclusion that she didn't want to expose him as she knew his reputation meant everything to him.

We were then asked to answer the question "Is this unalloyed support ultimately a help or a hindrance to Willy?". The class decided it was more of a help to Willy because she tries to stop arguments from occurring and to please Willy by praising him constantly.

Further to this point, we had to explain Linda Loman's significance to the Loman family with quotations from the book. For example, " If you don't have feeling for him, then you can't have any feeling for me". This suggests Linda's loyalty to willy, it's seen as emotional blackmail so the boy's will understand that they have to love both her and Willy equally, and it shows Linda as, metaphorically, compared to glue as she holds the family together.

Another quotation relating to the one above is "He's dying Biff. He's dying". This can also be seen as emotional blackmail again in order for the boys to change their attitude towards their father and to give him the respect he once had from them when the boys were little.

Overall,Linda's significance to the Loman family is to act as an foundation in order to keep them together, because Linda knows Willy really needs Biff's respect and assurance as Willy is becoming insanely confused.

We then had to relate Mobile Concurrency to the book and why Miller used it, and we came to the conclusion that he wanted to show the audience how confused Willy is.

Towards the end of the lesson we were asked to write a short essay on Willy's relationship with Linda.

If you weren't in the lesson you need to catch up on the book, and to also look at the W: drive, Mr.Chatterley, Atheism tapes as they help you understand the play and to hear about Millers Religious views.


Wednesday, 29 September 2010

Narrative techniques

Firstly, we discussed the meaning of 'narrative techniques', which basically means different ways of telling a story.

We then spoke about eight different Narrative techniques, which were:

Expostion-Provides background information,establishes the setting and introduces the character. It also explains the story and gives the you content. Examples for Exposition is the introduction of all the Star Wars movies.

In media res-this narrative technique is when a play opens on a scene at the middle or end of the story. This is often different from flashbacks and dream sequences. the main reason for In media res is to unroll the full story in front of the audience. Examples for In media res is the movies Pulp Fiction, and Kill Bill

Historical Present-This is using present tense when narrating or describing past events. It is describing past events as if they are happening now. Examples for Historical Present is the news, and many of Shakespeares academic writings

Dream sequence-This is a brief interlude from the main story. It adds another perspective on something e.g funnier or sadder. Examples for Dream sequences are movies and programmes such as Scrubs, Vanilla Sky, Everybody Hates Chris and Gladiator.

Retroactive Continuity-This is when the author delibrately alters the facts that already is established. It may be used to reintroduce popular characters, update a series for modern audiences or just to create more confusion. Examples of Retroactive Continuity are movies such as Donny Darko and Lucky number sleven.

Stream of consciousness-This is the attempt to portray a certain characters point of view,or thought process. Examples of Stream of consciousness are Inbetweeners,Scrubs,Peep show,American psycho and My name is Earl.

Flashback-This is when the present day in a play or movie the narrator takes you back in time. they usually foreshadow later events that may happen in the future. Flashbacks are mainly use to help build character personality and story, and also fills in crucial back story. Examples for Flashbacks are CSI,Family guy and One Tree Hill.

Flashforward-Just like Flash back, except it goes forward instead of backwards. It is used to show what happends in the future. Examples for Flashforwards are Final Destination and Thats so Raven.

Afterwards, we began reading where we left off on Death of a Salesman. In the book now, Willy remenisces the times when he his sons were still in education. His friend then comes in, plays abit of cards, and then Willy imagines his dead brother-Ben entering the room. The audience can hear and see him, but none of the characters can. He is then having a conversation in two different times of his life. This is called Mobile Concurrency, a Narrative technique in which two time frames are happening in the same time. The audience can see it, but certain characters cannot.

The lesson ended with us writing what Willy thinks of his brother Ben, and what Ben thinks of Willy.

Bye xx


Tuesday, 28 September 2010

Public & private Othello: Act 1.3 (28/09/10)

At the beginning of today's lesson we were asked to discuss the difference between the words "Exotic" & "Different". After we discussed this in pairs we were asked to feedback to the class, there were a range of ideas that suggested that the word "Different" was more used than the word "Exotic". Next the class decided that when someone/something was "Different" it was often referred to the unknown and was more negative compared to "Exotic" which was seen as unique (more positive). We then established the dictionary definitions of the words:

Exotic: From another part of the world; foreign.
Different: Uniquely new or of experimental nature.

With are gained knowledge of these words we then discussed whether the character of Othello could be classed as exotic or different. We concluded that Othello's character was both exotic and different.

Sir then added a new word to our vocabulary..

Dichotomy - A split that divides something into 2 parts

Following this we then started to read Act 1 Scene 3. (The duke is telling Othello about the Turks coming to invade Cyprus but is interrupted by Brabantio)
At the end of this scene we gather that Othello is a very composed & humble character who feels he is not in the wrong.

The rest of the lesson was focused around Othello's speech during this scene. (Click link to listen to speech)

The class then split into groups and had to act out a portion of Othello's speech & emphasize certain aspects which showed:

1. Othello's bravery and determination as a warrior
2. Othello's love for Desdemona
3. Noble savage
4. His intelligence and ability to argue in public
5. His passionate nature

Our final task was to come up with a conclusion stating if Othello was different or exotic, we also had to evaluate what the speech shows and how the speech reflects Othello's public/private life.

Homework: Note 10 bullet points on the Ottoman empire and the Venetian empire, Due Thursday.

Monday, 27 September 2010

The Beauty of Tragedy & Othello as a Tragic Hero

In Friday’s lesson we started off by looking at an extract from one of John Milton’s poems called "Il Penseroso", as a class we focused on two particular lines;

“Sometimes let gorgeous tragedy, in sceptred pall come sweeping by”

This lead to an in-depth discussion about whether or not tragedy actually could be ‘gorgeous’, and if so how? Well the class as a whole pretty much came to the conclusion that tragedy can only be beautiful or gorgeous when it is scripted, setup or basically anything except real and factual. The discussion then veered towards why we are attracted to tragedy and the fact that we only ‘enjoy’ tragedies when they aren’t real. For example someone in the audience of a play might absolutely adore how poetic the story is and how well they connect with the characters etc, but that all depends on how well it is written and the quality of the author; this evolved into our next topic. Tragedy comes from real life, real life is ugly and fictional or even well written factual tragedy is gorgeous. We spoke about this statement at length in class, the main point that kept popping up were that someone will warm to something more if they can connect with it; hence well told stories in the news have their subject matter awarded the title ‘tragedy’ whilst generic journalists get ‘natural disaster’ or ‘terrible accident’.

The apparent reason or cause for this way in which ‘tragedy’ is viewed, stems from the need for catharsis at the time of Aristotle; catharsis is the purging of emotions or relieving of emotional tensions through art... which is in this case tragedy.

After all that brainstorming and coming up with individual opinions we read Act 1, Scenes 1 & 2 of Othello. As a class we then spoke about Othello and whether or not he’s a victim of racial discourse due to his accent, place of origin and his skin colour. The outcome of this discussion was that whilst we all agree Othello is a pretty solid character and in fact the opposite to his stereotype, that even if he was neither of these his actions as a Venetian general speak louder than any man’s racial slurs.

If you weren’t in you should catch up on what parts of the play you’ve missed, also here is the full version of John Milton's poem:

Wednesday, 22 September 2010

Stage Directions and Characteristics

ItalicAt the start of the lesson, we were asked about an upstage stage direction (which the class was pretty unsure about,) so we had to copy a diagram on the certain stage directions which could possibly face us in further reading of "The death of a salesman".

Going back to the previous lesson about Ambition, we were given a series of questions:
1) Why did/ didn't you predict any bad things happening to you?
2) If your life doesn't work out like this, will you think your a failure?
3) How important is ambition to being successful?

After these questions were answered, we briefly moved on to the stage directions in the opening of "The death of a salesman." We discussed as a class what the flute (at the beginning) tells us of the atmosphere and the dreams Willy may have. Sir, then made the class read pages 9-15 of the novel, which would lead us on to our next task. After reading the allocated pages given to us, we got into groups of 4 and were given 4 particular characters from the first scene. We had to describe their: Appearance, Character/Personality and their relationship to others.

Appearance- Old, "Past 60 years of age", "Exhausted looking", "Dresses like a businessman"

Character and personality
- Short tempered, "Has a mercurial nature", Contradicting, Confused, Big dreams.

Relationship to others
- Treats Biff different to Happy (there's been no mentioning on happy thus far from Willy to his wife.) He wants Biff to carry out his dreams, not to be a failure like himself.

Moving on to Linda,
Appearance- Not much mentioning of her appearance as yet- just dresses in a gown.

- Very loyal to Willy- she mothers him, Very typical "motherly figure" (caring for her children.) Linda has only spoken about her family so far in the play. This as yet, is what her character is all about. As we discussed in depth about Linda, we came across this quote: "Most often jovial, she has developed an iron repression of her expectations to Willy's behaviour." This quote brought us the following question: `What clue is their about Linda's character which the audience might not know?` It may give clues to what might happen next in the play, what do you think..........?

The next group spoke about Biff,
- Well built, Good looking.

Was really confident but life has made him more pessimistic. He's still searching for something perfect to make him happy and successful.

Relationship to others-
He's close to Happy, but the relationship has deteriorated over time. Biff tries to please his father but fails to do so- he is mocked for this. His father had too much expectations, he thinks.

Lastly, me moved on to Happy,
Personality- Competitive, Was bashful with girls but got over that, People think he's an assistant buyer- but actually lower down.
  • He's embarrassed of his father, but gets on well with him.
  • He wants to find a girl like his mother (Stable, Supportive.)
  • Tries to please brother, but changes subject when it gets too heavy.
After this task was completed, our final objective was to write 2 PEE paragraphs on how Willy treats his 2 sons. use the following questions to help you:
  • Who is his favourite?
  • What's his attitude towards his sons?
  • What are his values in raising his children?
  • Has Willy brought up his children well?
Homework: To find examples of narrative techniques. Research and feed back to class (Due next week, Wednesday 29th September.)