Some questions to help with your postings on Shakespeare’s OTHELLO: 1. One could argue that Shakespeare’s tragedy OTHELLO has many interwoven themes: love; hatred; jealousy; self-doubt; gullibility; betrayal, to name a few. If you were to choose one of these (or something else) as OTHELLO’S most important theme or overriding concern, what would it be, and why? 2. The play is called OTHELLO, but some critics have argued it is more about IAGO than Othello and therefore should have been called IAGO. Do you agree or disagree, and why? 3. Why do you think Othello is so vulnerable to believing the lies that Iago tells him? 4. In what ways does Venetian society display prejudice and racism against Othello in this play (one example is how Othello and Desdemona marry secretly because Desdemona’s father would never approve of his daughter’s husband Othello being black). 5. Why do you think Othello is more inclined to believe Iago’s lie (that Othello’s beautiful Caucasian wife, Desdemona, and Othello’s own right-hand man, Cassio, are having an affair, which they are not) than he is to believe Desdemona’s truthful insistence that they are not? Does Othello have an inferiority complex despite all his military glories? Could this be because of society’s racism directed against him? 6. If you had to identify a main flaw in Othello’s personality (and/or world view) that leads to all his other troubles, what would it be? 7. The handkerchief Othello gives to Desdemona was given to him by his mother. What did Othello’s mother tell him about the handkerchief when she gave it to him, to give to his eventual wife? 8. Why, then, is Othello so devastated when he thinks Desdemona has given the handkerchief to Cassio (she has not). 9. How does Cassio actually get the handkerchief? 10. Does anyone “win” at the end of this play? Why or why not?”
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