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?

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,



  1. well hello again Aleks, very detailed blog.GREAT JOB. Btw Iago is a villain we love to hate.

  2. I don't hate Iago, I love him, I think his personality is very beautiful and elegant. I love to love him, he is exactly what the play needs..! He's a role model to all!

    Btw amazing post Aleksandra..


  3. I swear the play might aswell be called Iago.

    When Iago came in to class he was different to what I thought he'd be!!!!

    Daniel C.

  4. guys im confused wasn't the homework just to an essay about to what extent is a Iago a tragic villain...arghh I hate this because now I have to re-write the whole thing !

  5. Yahaya, did you include quotes from Iago's soliloquy in your essay?

  6. Iago there is so many perceptions on him I don't know what to think of him. So I overall think he is a well portrayed piece of art. (seeing as he can be viewed differently)

  7. Iago makes us all really think about his character- which i think is smart. He may decieve others in such a horrific way, but he does it with such intelligence that it makes his character bittersweet.

    Great blog by the way Aleksandra!

    Chris W

  8. I like Iago, because he really draws us in the play with his trickery. plus he's a good villain

    well done on your SECOND blog aleks, you just cant keep away from academyenglish12.blogspot ;)


  9. Really good blog. im just getting sick and tired of Iagos games. hes good at twisting situations and getting to peoples heads and being minipulative. he makes a horrific tragic villian

  10. very good blog and i kind of like Iago as a character as he is probably the smartest character of the lot and has a nice name

  11. I think that Iago is an amazing character because he is the kind of person that you can actually imagine in the real world.

    Great second blog Alexks

    Esmeralda ;)

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