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Othello Homework Questions

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Here are your questions :)

“Othello, Act I: Homework Questions”

Answer in your Journal!


Scene I & 2

  1. What do you think of Iago’s motives for his actions? Evaluate his “motives.” (1.1.8-42)
  2. Find and list at least three examples of racist remarks made by the characters.
  3. Describe what is happening with Turkish fleet (NOTE:  “Ottomites” = Ottoman Empire = Turks)?  Why are the senators of Venice worried?
  4. Why is Brabantio so hesitant to believe that Desdemona was willing to marry Othello?  Find at least two reasons in the text.
  5. Paraphrase Othello’s speech (Act 1, Sc. 2, L. 20-32).  (NOTE:  paraphrase = “translate” into your own words… line by line) 

Scene III

  1. What is the main message of Iago’s soliloquy (Act 1, Sc. 3, L. 426-447).
  2. Paraphrase Desdemona’s speech (Act 1, Sc. 3. 209-218).
  3. Find and copy down one example of imagery in Act 1.  What is the impact of this image? (How does the image affect the reader?)

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Othello, Act II: Homework Questions

Answer in your Journal!


Scene I

  1. How does Montano feel about Othello?  What evidence do we have to back that up?
  2. What is Cassio’s opinion of Desdemona?  (see lines 68-71 & lines 78-80 & 91-94)
  3. Paraphrase lines 82-90.
  4. What do you think about Iago’s opinion of women?  Emilia and Desdemona take his comments as jokes—would you? Note the paradoxes. (See lines 122-125 & l. 128)
  5. Explain the metaphor in lines 218-220.  (This is one of the most famous lines of the play.)
  6. Reread Iago’s speech, Act. II, Scene 1, lines 242-270.  What are his reasons that Othello’s and Desdemona’s relationship won’t last?


Scene III

  1. How does Iago convince Cassio to drink, even though Cassio knows he shouldn’t?
  2. How does Iago “play both sides” (avoids committing himself to an opinion) when describing the fight between Cassio and Roderigo to Othello? (2.3.235-261)
  3. Paraphrase Iago’s speech in lines 49-66.  How does Iago demonstrate his devious nature?
  4. Paraphrase Othello’s passage in lines 181-190.  How is the racism Othello receives similar to that expressed toward the Turks?
  5. Reread Iago’s speech in lines 356-382.  What are Iago’s reasons that he is not a villain?

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Othello Act III Questions

Othello Act III, Scenes 1 & 2 Homework Questions

Scene 1

  1. What might be the purpose of opening the middle act, Act III, with clowns and musicians? What do you know about other Shakespeare plays and his use of clowns?
  2. What happens at the end of scene 1?


Scene 2

  1. What do you think the purpose of scene two is?
  2. Paraphrase Act III, scene 2, lines 1-4.  What emotions do you think are going on inside Othello’s head in scene 2?


Scene 3

5.       How does Iago use race to push Othello toward thinking Desdemona is unfaithful? (Look to lines 268-278).

6.       In Othello’s speech, lines 299-318, what does he say about reputation and high society?

7.       React to Iago’s conversation with his wife, Emilia, focusing on his views toward women and his plans.

8.       Explain the metaphor in lines 372-377.

9.       Paraphrase lines 389-395.  Would Othello agree with the statement “Ignorance is Bliss”, why/why not?

10.    What does Iago tell Othello with regard to the handkerchief, which only makes Othello even crazier with jealousy? Lines 450-495.


Scene 4

  1. What is the pun that the clown says in the opening of the scene?
  2. Why is the handkerchief so special to Othello?  (lines 57-65)
  3. Paraphrase lines 65-79. 
  4. How does Othello’s and Desdemona’s confrontation about the handkerchief play into Iago’s plan? (page 159).
  5. What are Emilia’s views toward men? (lines 120-123)
  6. Paraphrase lines 160-175.  What does Desdemona think is bothering Othello?
  7. Who is Bianca and what is her relationship with Cassio?

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Othello Act IV Homework Questions

Answer in your Journals!


Scene 1:

  1. What does Othello mean in lines 7-10?
  2. Paraphrase lines 89-104.  What is Iago planning?
  3. How does Iago suggest Othello kill Desdemona? Why?
  4. Why does Othello hit Desdemona?
  5. Who is Lodovico? What news does he bring from Venice? (p. 187)
  6. Paraphrase lines 296-301.  What does Lodovico say about Othello?


Scene 2:

  1. What reasons does Othello give himself for discounting (ignoring) Emilia’s testimony about Desdemona’s honesty? (l. 21-25)
  2. Paraphrase lines 56-74.
  3. Describe the metaphor that Othello is making in lines 76-80.
  4. How are Emilia’s speeches in lines 153-156 and lines 159-169 ironic?  Describe her opinion of the person who has created these problems.
  5. What reason does Iago give Desdemona for Othello’s behavior?
  6. How does Iago convince Roderigo to try to kill Cassio?


Scene 3:

  1. What is the significance of the “song of willow”?  What literary device(s) is(/are) being used by Shakespeare?
  2. Using Emilia’s speech in lines 95-115, describe Emilia’s views on marriage. 

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Othello Act 5 Questions

Answer in your Journals!


  1. In Scene 1, list two ways that Iago places doubt on others in order to remove it from himself.
  2. Describe the interaction between Iago and Bianca at the end of Scene 1.
  3. In scene 2, find an example of an allusion (allusion = brief, usually indirect reference to a person, place, or event--real or fictional—usually from classical literature or history).  Copy it into your journal.
  4. Describe one example of irony from the play.



Paraphrase 3 of the following six quotes.  

  1. Iago:  “No, whether he kill Cassio, / Or Cassio him, or each do kill the other, / Every way makes my gain” (5.1.13-15).
  2. Othello:  “ So sweet was ne’er so fatal. / I must weep, / But they are cruel tears.  This sorrow’s heavenly: / It strikes where it doth love.” (5.2.22-24)
  3. Othello:  “If you bethink yourself of any crime / Unreconciled as yet to heaven and grace / Solicit for it straight” (5.2.30-32).
  4. Othello:  “No. His mouth is stopped. / Honest Iago hath ta’en order for ‘t” (5.2.91-92).
  5. Othello:  “Methinks it should be now a huge eclipse / Of sun and moon, and that th’ affrighted globe / Should yawn at alteration” (5.2.123-125).
  6. Emilia:  “Good gentlemen, let me have leave to speak. / Tis proper I obey him, but not now. / Perchance, Iago, I will ne’er go home” (5.2.232-234).

Othello, General of Venetian Navy



Brabantio, Venetian Senator

Duke of Venice

Roderigo, Venetian Gentleman



Iago, Ensign/ Ancient

Cassio, Naval Lieutenant

Desdemona, Venetian lady

Montano, Venetian Official in Cyprus


reports to:

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Are you a green-eyed monster?