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?

Wednesday, 6 October 2010

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)


  1. I personally think that Othello's trust in Iago is his flaw as a tragic hero.

    Really good by the way Dylan :)

    Esmeralda. ;)

  2. wow great description of the lesson dylan :),very helpful examples. I would like to change my facebook status to 'whoever believes Othello does not have a meaning is either ignorant or just doesn't understand the storyline :0

  3. I totally agree with Esmeralda on that point. However, Iago is the catalyst of all tragedy which has occurred so far.

    Great post Dylan!!

    Chris W

  4. this is a really good blog Dylan it helps anyone who wasn`t here to plan out their essay with ease as you copied out all the pointers on what to put in the essay


  5. I agree with Esmerelda & Chris about Othello's hamartia (which is trusting Iago), I also feel that this is what Shakespeare wants the audience to believe because of the way he ends act 1 (Iago's Soliloquy).

    By the way, excellent post Dylan - helped me a great amount when I was writing my essay.


  6. Detailed explanation + The voice recordings of what happened in lesson Dylan, good job.

    What fuel's a man like Iago for revenge?

  7. i'm actually startubg to enjoy the play, to be honest i resented it in the beggining, nevertheless i'm enjoying it now so that all that matters. i also enjoyed the H/W here is my first paragraph for those who need so help...

    The classic tragedy has to conform to a rather rigid set of rules. Act 1 of Othello establishes the tragedy by conforming to the classic criteria set for a tragedy. One way that Shakespeare achieves this is by creating a more or less noble character out of Othello. The classic tragedy must include a noble who is brought down by his flaw or imperfection. We can consider Othello to be a noble, although less revered than his white counterparts he is never the less a member of a higher social class than other Venecian citizens. Shakespeare then further conforms to the rules of a classic tragedy by creating a flaw in Othello. By the scenes set out and the plot being unravelled we can clearly see that the flaw that Othello possesses is clearly the fact that he is naive, he does not realise that his best friends is plotting against him, he perhaps trusts him too much and by the end of Act 1, it seems that it is this very flaw that could be his downfall. By doing this, Shakespeare establishes the tragedy.

  8. Very good blog Dylan, im proud of you!! there were very good examples there, and the voice recording was just the icing on the cake ;)
    I believe trustin Iago is a typical error a tragic hero must go through maybe to reach his tragic downfall. the Dramatic irony just highlights this.

  9. Thank you so much for this Dylan, helped me with my essay a lot.

    I both love and hate this play at the same time. I love it simply because it's brilliant in the way that Shakespeare uses meaning behind meanings that we would not understand if we did not dissect his every word and i just hate it because of the dramatic irony because we are watching these events unfold, events that we know are going to be tragic, and there is absolutely nothing we can do about it!


  10. Very helpful blog post Dylan, well done.

    I agree with everyone who said that Othello's downfall is likely to be due to his trusting nature. I think that because he is a man of honour himself he believes that everyone else is as truthful as him, however we know very well that this is not the case with Iago in particular.


  11. This is a very well produced blog you wrote down in really great detail this would help students understand the seeds of tragedy and how it relates to othello as being a tragic hero. i also agree with esmerelda as othellos tragic flaw as having trust in Iago. I beleive that Iago is an evil devious character. i think he is seen as the devil of the play by twisting and messing up everyones head.