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, 23 November 2011

Act 3 - Othello changes...

We began by looking at the striking contrast between Othello's speech by focusing on these two extracts. The language transforms and we see him finally showing signs of being heavily influenced by Iago. Although in both cases the subject of his dialouge is the same (Desdemona) his way of describing her changes, he goes from using loving and soft language to dark imagery and sees her as a mere "creature" of "appetite" and sees himself as a "toad" in a "dungeon".

To show that all it took for Othello to become like this was Iago's little 'dent' to Othello's 'shield' Sir did a...interesting demonstration:

(click on the image so you can see its content clearer, it appears blurred here for some reason)

During our reading of Act 3 more ideas were brought to our attention:

  • Iago shows his Janus nature again throughout Act 3, scene 3 when he pretends to accidently stumble on suspicions regarding Cassio and Desdemona
  • Othello begins to use more caesura in his speech thus making his lines more aggressive, short and blunt
  • line 386 sees antithesis in Othello's speech which encapsulates the complete change in his mind
  • Iago radiates vulgar kineasthetic imagery, "topped"
  • Othello demands proof of Desdemona's affair with Cassio and Iago, possibly for the first time infront of Othello, uses animalistic imagery to increase Othello's building fury to describe Cassio's "sexual dream" of Desdemona
  • This results in Othello stating "I'll tear her all to pieces" - which proves Iago succesful
  • But Iago is Protean and retreats after having done the damage with his words, "Nay this was but his dream"
  • Iago is made lieutenant
  • The structure of Othello's speech when he says "Tis gone" (line447), highlights Othello's short-lived love through this short and isolated line
  • Othello kneeling to Othello is a dramatic device
  • Iago uses imperatives to show his control over Othello now, he demands him to "have patience" and "do not rise yet"
  • Scene 4 provides juxtoposition and emphasises how oppposite Desdemona is to Iago and Othello's description of her in scene 3 - she is oblivious to Othello's "black vengance"

After having finsished reading Act 3 we were given homework to:

Create a flow chart of act 3, scene 3 showing the way Othello shifts from being confident in Desdemona to being conident in Iago. We should feature quotes from the play and then surround them with points to do with language, structure/form and character. Sir suggested that the end quote should be Othello's statement that he will tear Desdemona to pieces, meaning that the rest of the flow chart will convey the journey towards this.

Feel free to add in any points we discussed that I missed :)



  1. Very detailed blog summarising the class, I think you've mentioned everything. Keep it up! Lisa (:

  2. Great blog!
    I don't think you missed anything, i dont think you could of missed anything with a blog of such detail.