"Jealous souls will not be answered so; They are not ever jealous for the cause, But jealous for they are jealous."


Desdemona's murder


Directions: After reading the lecture, answer one of the main questions, which will appear in bold. This question is due no later than Thursday, Apr. 19. Following that will be other questions, in black, which you should read and think about--they may help you answer the main question. However, you are not required to answer these questions in writing.

Your responses to other students' answers are due by midnight on Sunday, Apr. 22. In order to get the full 20 points, you MUST respond thoughtfully to at least 2 other people's postings.

This set of discussion questions is worth a possible 20 points. Remember: late answers receive 0 points, so post early :)

We will be using the Canvas Discussion Board for this class. Click on the link below to get to the Canvas portal, sign in, and then click on the box for this class. You will find the "Discussions" link on the left side of the screen:

Discussion Board

Othello Link

Remember: You are required to answer only one of the "red" questions, although you are, of course, welcome to answer more than one if you wish.

1. Iago says he hates Othello and wants to ruin him because he was passed over for a promotion, and because he suspects that his wife, Emilia, has been unfaithful to him with Othello. Do these reasons seem to be justification enough for the depth of his hatred for Othello?

2. Othello says he was "an honorable murderer, if you will, / for naught I did in hate, but all in honor" (V.2.345-6). Do you agree with him?

3. Would the unhappy ending of the play have been averted if Desdemona had admitted she'd lost the handkerchief?

1. Why is Iago angry at Othello?
2. What does Iago mean when he says, "I follow him to serve my turn upon him"? (I.1.45)
3. What does Iago think of those who serve out of loyalty? What does he intend to do?
4. What does Iago mean when he says, "I am not what I am"? (I.1.71)
5. What racial slurs appear in the play?
6. Why doesn't Iago tell Brabantio his name when he informs him of his daughter's elopement?
7. Why, according to Iago, will the city not fire Othello, regardless of his elopement with Desdemona? (I.1.164ff.)
8. In what ways is the theme of appearance vs. reality introduced in I.1.?
9. In Othello's opinion, what gives him the right to be married Desdemona? (I.2.22ff.)
10. What does Othello think will save him from Brabantio's wrath? What does his reasoning reveal about Othello's character? (I.2.35ff.)
11. Why does Brabantio believe Othello must have tricked Desdemona into eloping with him?
12. Why are the Duke and the other nobles so anxious to see Othello?
13. How does Othello defend himself against Brabantio's accusations?
14. According to Othello, why did Desdemona fall in love with him? (I.3.188ff.)
15. What advice does the Duke give Brabantio? Does he take it? (I.3.229ff.)
16. The Duke suggests that Desdemona stay with Brabantio while Othello is away fighting the Turks. What is Brabantio's response to the suggestion? Desdemona's? Othello's?
17. In whose charge does Othello put Desdemona? (I.3.320ff.)
18. What is Brabantio's warning to Othello? (I.3.333-4).
19. Roderigo is griefstricken at his loss of Desdemona. What advice does Iago give him? (I.3.361ff.)
20. Why does Iago keep telling Roderigo to put money in his purse?
21. What does Iago suspect of Othello and his own wife, Emilia? (I.3.429ff.)
22. How does Iago plan to use Cassio's looks and Othello's honesty against them? (I.3.435ff.)
23. In II.1, how does Iago insult his wife, Emilia, and all women? What is her reaction? What is Desdemona's reaction?
24. How does Iago talk Roderigo into believing that Desdemona is in love with Cassio? Why does he want Roderigo to believe this?
25. What does Iago want Roderigo to do to Cassio? (II.1.285ff.)
26. Why does Iago want Othello to be jealous of Desdemona? (II.1.317ff.)
27. What is the purpose of Scene 2 in Act II?
28. What information are we given in II.3.9-12?
29. Why does Iago urge Cassio to drink?
30. What joke is made about England in II.3?
31. Cassio asserts that he is not drunk. Is he?
32. Iago tells Montano that Cassio is often drunk. What is Montano's response? How is his response ironic? (II.3.137ff.)
33. Why is Othello so angry about the brawl between Cassio and Montano? (II.3.227ff.)
34. Iago attempts to defend Cassio; how does this hurt Cassio? (II.3.256ff.)
35. What is Cassio's reaction to Othello's dismissal of him?
36. What tactic does Iago advise Cassio to use to get his job back?
37. How does Iago plan to use Desdemona's virtues against her? (II.3.370ff.)
38. Why does Roderigo want to go back to Venice? How does Iago talk him out of it?
39. How does Iago use Cassio's meeting with Desdemona to inflame Othello's jealousy? (III.3.37ff.)
40. Why is Desdemona so determined to have Othello reinstate Cassio? How does this play into Iago's hands?
41. What does Iago say in III.3 about reputation?
42. What does Othello say when Iago warns him against jealousy? (III.3.207ff.)
43. Iago points out that Desdemona deceived her father in marrying Othello. What effect does this have on Othello? Her father pointed this out when he learned of their marriage. Why did it not affect Othello then?
44. What advice does Iago give Othello about Cassio? (III.3.285ff.)
45. Desdemona drops her handkerchief and Emilia picks it up. What does she do with it? (III.3.)
46. Why is the handkerchief so important to Desdemona? (III.3.335ff.)
47. Why does Othello threaten Iago in III.3.?
48. What is Iago's response to Othello's threats?
49. What further "evidence" does Iago give Othello that Cassio is guilty?
50. In III.4., what does Othello tell Desdemona about the handkerchief he gave her? Why won't Desdemona admit she lost it?
51. What does Emilia tell Desdemona about jealousy? (III.4.)
52. How did Cassio get the handkerchief? Why does he give it to Bianca?
53. How does Iago whip up Othello's fury in IV.1.?
54. Why does Othello hit Desdemona in IV.1.?
55. How does Iago use Othello's anger to undermine his reputation with Lodovico?
56. What does Emilia tell Othello about Desdemona and Cassio? Why does he doubt her story?
57. Of what does Othello accuse Desdemona in IV.2.? What is her reaction?
58. Does Emilia know that Iago is responsible for Othello's jealousy? How do you interpret her speeches in IV.2.?
59. Why is Roderigo so angry with Iago in IV.2.? How does Iago allay his anger? What does Iago ask him to do to Cassio?
60. Does Desdemona foresee her own death? (IV.3.)
61. When Desdemona asks Emilia if she would ever be unfaithful to Iago, what does Emilia say?
62. In V.i., why does Iago want Roderigo dead? Why does he want Cassio dead?
63. Who kills Roderigo?
64. Why does Iago want Bianca arrested?
65. Why does Othello tell Desdemona to pray, in V.2.?
66. How does Othello kill Desdemona?
67. Why doesn't Desdemona name Othello as her murderer?
68. In V.2., how does Emilia figure out that Iago is behind the plot?
69. What does Iago say when Emilia accuses him?
70. What does Emilia tell Othello about the handkerchief? How does Iago try to stop her from telling the truth?
71. What does Iago say to Othello that gives him away?
72. Othello stabs Iago, but Iago lives. What happens to him?
73. How does Othello die?
74. Is order restored at the end of the play?
75. What is Othello's tragic flaw?

Click on the picture at the top of the page to find out more about it.