Othello

Big Ideas:  Essential Questions:
Learners will understand and recognize theme as enduring and universal as a broad message conveyed through a literary work. Universal ideas include human nature or society, as well.
Learners will explore the way in which Shakespeare presents the female characters in Othello.
Learners will evaluate racism in the play and society and evaluate 17th century perspective and modern day cultural impact.
Learners will explore the use of language in rhetorical context.
Tragedy:
1.What kind of tragedy is Othello? Is it about a good man brought low by a tragic flaw? If so, what is that flaw? Or is this a different kind of tragedy?
2. Is Iago a tragic hero? Evaluate and defend your response.
3. Why does Othello choose to believe Iago rather than Desdemona?
4. Is Othello a play about race? How important is race in the play?
5. The 17th century critic Thomas Rymer called Othello the tragedy of the handkerchief and said that its lesson was that women should take good care of their laundry. Is Rymer right?
6. How does Shakespeare use image patterns in this play to reveal characters and changes in character?
7. Does Othello love “not wisely but too well,” as he claims at 5:2:344?
8. Discuss Othello as a play about playing/acting. What does this work say about the stage?
9. Is Desdemona a fool? Is she heroic? Is she believable? What do you make of her character?
Learners will develop an understanding of rich vocabulary through an examination of contextual meaning and a revised definition. They will also apply knowledge of literary devices and narrative techniques to enhance appreciation of literature.
Learners will distinguish between guilt and innocence in the outcome of the play.
Learners will formulate a debate using 21st century skills as a performance assessment in judging character.
Drama:
1.How is drama created in Othello? Answer the following questions to see if you understand what makes Shakespeare such a clever craftsman.
2. How do Iago’s soliloquies create tension?
3. Evaluate Shakespeare’s purpose in why he often changes the tone or mood between scenes..
his attention wandered and he got fed up of what he was writing
4. Provide an analysis of the example of dramatic irony in the play when Othello hides and listens to Iago’s conversation with Cassio.
5. Analyze the impact in purpose when, toward the end, Desdemona goes to speak to Othello, unaware that he intends to kill her, the audience feels:
bored because they know what will happen at the end.
Learners will synthesize information from research, the life of the author, events, characterization, theme, plot events and details to draw conclusions and infer meaning. 5.How does the understanding of historical context impact cultural nuances in theme?
Language:
1.Compare and contrast Iago and Othello’s language throughout the play. How does each character’s language illustrate his character? At what point do the characters begin to speak alike? What is the implication in that change?

Knowledge: What should students know by the end of the lesson?
Students will be able to:

  • explain the use of motif and theme
  • analyze the use of dramatic irony in creating tone and mood
  • analyze the function of the flashback structure
  • trace the development of the dynamic structure
  • analyze the significance of the geography and setting within the context of the novel
  • trace the development of complex and intertwining themes

Learning Targets: Teachers list the various tasks students will engage in throughout the unit, include use of media/other forms of information.
Students will be skilled at…

  • annotating historical information and synthesizing the information to draw meaning to literary text
  • understanding the nuances in secular differences in English culture
  • applying the historical information to infer discreet meaning of Shakespeare’s life characterization in literary text
  • synthesizing theme across multiple literary works and evaluating how Greek literature impacts the work as a whole
  • adapting understanding to the framework of the play and the integration of dramatic irony in the engagement of the audience
  • analyzing the use of the dramatice foil how it develops the play through contrast
  • applying literary devices and thematic concepts to mixed genres to enhance understanding and appreciation

Lesson 1

Objectives:  Students will be able to define traits of Shakespearean tragedy by thinking of common fairy tales and the extent to which those traits are present in the fairy tale they selected.

Do now:  Describing a Fairy Tale. Take one of the classic fairy tales and summarize it. In your summary, include all significant characters (both major and minor), locations, the central conflict, any supernatural elements, and how the story ends. Describe the characters and their noteworthy features and traits.The more you understand the prescribed structure and qualities, the more successful you will be.

Mini Lesson What is a Shakespearean Tragedy?

Part A:

Below is a description of what qualifies as a Shakespearean tragedy. Read the description for each and then paraphrase the description in your own words to help solidify your understanding. Many definitions exist for the word “tragedy.” In contemporary society it is often referred to as something heartbreaking, appallingly awful, or something that is surprisingly sad. However, the roots of the word highlight a more detailed, nuanced definition. Aristotle, the grandfather of philosophy, described a tragedy as “an imitation of an action that is serious, complete in itself, and of a certain magnitude.”

However, in order to qualify as a Shakespearean tragedy, a story must meet very specific criterion. Below are several defining features of a Shakespearean tragedy.

Understanding these elements are paramount to being able to properly identify a text as a Shakespearean tragedy, which is the focus of the unit.

Part B:  Common Themes in Shakespearean Tragedies

There are also common themes that run throughout Shakespearean tragedies. Below is a brief description of each theme. Paraphrase the description to ensure full comprehension.

Part C: Evaluating Elements of a Tragedy in a Fairy Tale

While it isn’t imperative that every single element of a Shakespearean tragedy apply to a text, the majority of the criterion needs to be present. Evaluate the extent to which the fairy tale you selected for Activity One fits the criterion of a Shakespearean tragedy by placing a check next to each element if it pertains to your fairytale.

Independent Practice: 

As a group, complete each worksheet.

Reflect: Define a Shakespearean tragedy.

Homework: Complete the character map.