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, 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


  1. Good blog chris.... gives a detailed picture of things done in class and will help the ones who were not present in class a lot.


  2. Great post Chris.. I forgot the homework so this helped alot..

    Kermode's observation of Othello's language was quite interesting as it opposes the view of Leavis

  3. Awesome blog chris, verdy detaild.

    I feel sorry for Othello because his so blind by jealusy, that he can't see the truth.

    Esmeralda ;)

  4. good blog Chris it helps those not in the lesson