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Othello Questions and Answers

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    Act I Scene iWhy is Roderigo annoyed with Iago?In love with Desdemona, Roderigo is angry that his supposed friend, Iago, didn’t do anything about the elopement of Desdemona and Othello. Roderigo has been paying Iago to help him in his suit to Desdemona, but he has seen no progress, and he has just learned that Desdemona has married Othello.

    What reason does Iago give for hating the Moor?Iago’s reason for hating the Moor is Othello’s recent promotion of Michael Cassio as lieutenant. In spite of Iago’s service in battle especially in three “great ones” of the city, Othello chose to give the position to a man with no experience.Why does he continue in Othello’s service?As he waits for an opportunity to further his own self-interest, Iago only pretends to serve Othello.Comment on Roderigo’s response to this explanationRoderigo replies with disrespect, “What a full fortune does the thick-lips owe”, he is physically characterizing the Moore (Othello) as being black.

    Why does Iago urge Roderigo to harass Desdemona’s father?Iago advises Roderigo to spoil some of Othello’s pleasure in his marriage by rousing Desdemona’s family against the general. Iago plans to bring about Othello’s downfall, and Roderigo will have Desdemona. They decide to wake Brabantio and cause an outcry.Why does the ensuing incident affect the relationship between Roderigo and BrabantioAt first, Brabantio doesn’t believe what he hears, because he has told Roderigo to stay away from his daughter before and thinks Roderigo is merely scheming once again in order to see Desdemona.

    What impression of Othello do we gain from the comments made by these three acquaintances?They speak with derogatory terms about Othello, “lascivious”. Othello is immediately introduced as a “beast” that has done more bad than good (negative characterisation)Act 1 Scene iiWho is the subject of Iago’s comments to Othello?Brabantio – Iago pretends to warn Othello that he will attempt to break up the marriageWhy does the Duke of Venice seek Othello so late at night?The Duke seeks Othello as war is imminent and the Senate urgently needs Othello. Othello is known for his service to Venice and his noble descent.What is the basis of Brabantio’s complaint against Othello?Brabantio threatens Othello with accusations of using witchcraft to enchant Desdemona into loving him.

    He believes that Othello has used black magic and drugs and should be arrested and charged.How does Othello respond to Brabantio’s demands?Othello responds calmly, standing his ground. He authoritatively tells both sides to put up their swordsHow do the observations on Othello compare with our own observations in this scene We initially view Othello negatively for what he has been accused of doing, however in this scene we are shown his true calm nature of goodwill and his characterisation changes.Act 1 Scene iiiWhat decision does the Council make concerning the intentions of the Turks?The duke has a meeting with his senators about Turkish invasion of Cyprus but is disrupted with the announcement that the Turks seem to have turned toward Rhodes, another island controlled by Venice.

    One of the senators guesses that the Turks’ change of course is intended to mislead the Venetians, because Cyprus is more important to the Turks and far more vulnerable than Rhodes.What assurance of support does the Duke offer Brabantio?Brabantio reassures Brabantio that whoever tricked his daughter and stole her from him will pay for it, and allows him to determine the sentence and impose the death penalty if he chooses to.Note how Brabantio continues his basic complaint about OthelloBrabantio rudely interrupts Othello when the Duke asks him to explain himself, showing Brabantio’s self-centered nature. He believes that his daughter would never make the mistake of falling in love with Othello and is thus determined Othello has been using drugs and magic on her.

    Summarise Othello’s explanation of his and Desdemona’s love for each otherOthello explains that he often talks to Desdemona’s father (Brabantio) about stories of the wars and battles he had fought in, and when he does so, Desdemona used to listen attentively. If she had to go do some household chore, he noticed that she’d always come back quickly to hear more of his stories, and later ask him to complete it.How does Desdemona in turn explain her love for Othello?Desdemona expresses her love for Othello in the transfer of loyalty from her father to Othello. She confirms Othello’s reasons for falling in love with when she says that she gave her whole life to him because of his honor and bravery.

    How does Desdemona in turn explain her present situation regarding these two men, Othello and Brabantio?Brabantio asks her to tell those present to whom she owes the most obedience. Brabantio clearly expects her to say her father. Desdemona, however, confirms that she married Othello of her own free will and that, like her own mother before her, she must shift her primary loyalty from father to husband.What problem does Othello’s new command raise and how is it resolved?It is decided that Othello must go to Cyprus to defend the island from the Turks.

    Othello is willing and ready to go, and he asks that appropriate accommodations be provided for his wife. The duke suggests that she stay with her father, but the others are not willing accept this, and Desdemona asks to be allowed to go with Othello. However Iago is appointed to care for Desdemona.What evidence is there of Iago’s manipulation of Roderigo? What remarks by Iago’s manipulation of RoderigoRoderigo is devastated, however Iago persuades him that Desdemona and Othello will soon tire of one another.

    Iago repeatedly says to Roderigo, “Put but money in thy purse”. Iago urges Roderigo to go to Cyprus with Othello and he will resolve his problems.

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