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Elementary Discussion Questions: Othello

Elementary Discussion Questions: Othello

Compare and Contrast

1. Think of characters from other stories who use disguises, like Iago, to cover up their true nature.  Who is the worst?

2. What do Othello and Iago have in common?

3. Think about the three women in the play, Desdemona, Emilia, and Bianca. How are they the same? How are the different?


4. Iago is jealous of Cassio’s promotion and decides to get revenge. Have you ever become jealous of something someone else had? What did you do about it? 

5. Iago asks Emilia to try and get Desdemona’s handkerchief. She suspects he might have bad intentions. What would you do if someone asked you to do something mean to someone you cared about?

6. Which character in the play do you think is most similar to your personality? Why?


7. After getting in trouble for fighting Cassio says, “Reputation, reputation, reputation! I have lost my reputation” (2.3.262). What is a reputation? Is it important? 

8. What does “The robb’d that smiles steals something from the thief” (1.3.108)  mean?

9. About falling in love Iago says, “Virtue! a fig! ‘tis in ourselves that we are thus or thus. Our bodies are our gardens, to the which our wills are gardeners” (1.3.319–21). Do you agree or disagree?

Shakespeare’s World

10. Do you think Shakespeare was for or against a person marrying someone who is
different from him or herself in race or upbringing? 

11. Discuss what it would be like to see this play at Shakespeare’s theatre the Globe, in the hot afternoon, standing up, with all men on stage.

12. How do you think Shakespeare would react if he knew that you were learning about his play more than 400 years after he wrote it?