English 339--Introduction to Shakespeare--Steven Marx

Discussion Questions on Othello III, iii



• First break at Iago's second exit, line 258

"I like not that" 34

What's Iago's method of attack?

Tone and import of Desdemona's pleadings (lines 70, 83)? Effect on Othello?

"Leave me but a little to myself" (85) "When I love thee not chaos is come again"

Why is Othello so edgy?

(100-105) Iago's echoing? Strategy here? How does Othello fall for it? How does Iago know how to proceed? How's he a "good listener"? What does he pick up and how does he use it?

What hints does Iago plant in 126-175; 205-240--how do they appeal to special vulnerabilities of Othello?

190 ff. How does Iago manipulate O. into craving proof of D's adultery? How does this forward his purpose?

• Second break; line 355 after Othello's Farewell to Arms speech

What's effect of Iago's exits and reentrances

What are the stages and symptoms of Othello's breakdown? How is his intensifying suffering dramatized? . What deeper elements of his psyche erupt? contrast with the Othello of earlier scenes.

What's accentuated in Desdemona's response to Othello?

What's relation of what Emilia does to what Iago does?

What's connection between inference ("Dangerous conceits") and proof as presented here and in Act I's trial scene? Suggestions about proof and trial procedures in general? About religious proofs and witch trials?

Why does Othello see his career fold up here?

• Third break; end of scene

What's revealed here about the genesis of murderous hate? What does Othello see as "satisfaction"?

What's the psychological function of Othello's demonic imagery and diction?

How does the theme of proof and inference--the summoning of evidence--continue? What kind of evidence does Iago present?

What are the side effects of Iago's stories--410-425; 436

What are the kinds of gratification Iago gets from carrying out his scheme?