"Tis neither here nor there.": Foreshadowing in Act IV of Othello

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SWBAT analyze the behavior of the characters in order to predict the end of Othello by examining Shakespeare's use of foreshadowing.

Big Idea

"Speak to me as to thy thinkings, As thou doest ruminate"...Students ruminate with Act IV of Othello in text and movie. What secrets are hidden in Shakespeare's words?

Let's Get Started: Summary, Questions, and Figurative Language in Act IV.

25 minutes

Today, we will watch part of the movie, Othello. So I am going to skip the whole class objective summary.  I tell the students to sit in their play groups.  They have 25 minutes to complete the following activities:

  1. Share their objective summaries and make corrections where necessary (RL 9-10. 2)
  2. Answer the questions on Act IV from their journals (SL 9-10. 1c). This is an ongoing activity from their dialectical journal.  For homework, they develop questions over the scene and then use them as discussion questions in class (SL 9-10.1c)
  3. Consider foreshadowing in Act IV, where can they find an example of foreshadowing and what do they predict will happen in ACT V? 

I really want them to focus on foreshadowing.  Act IV of Othello sets up the tragic ending in Act V. A close reading of act IV reveals most of the events of act V.  I want to see how many of those clues the student pick up as they discuss the text. 

We have already discussed that Othello is a tragedy and that in Shakespearean tragedies almost everyone dies. The goal is to analyze the foreshadowing in order to predict how the characters die and who is the lucky one to live (L 9-10 5a).

I walk around the room listening to questions like, What will happen between Othello and Desdemona? and the response to the question.  I also ask students to share their examples of foreshadowing and make a prediction about Desdemona and how she is going to die.

Applying Knowledge: Examining the Characters on Film

25 minutes

The students and I have tried to figure out a movie time.  They all want to watch Othello however we could not figure out a time after school when the majority of the class could be there.  Practice, jobs, and family obligations made an extended stay after school impossible.  Therefore, I promised we would watch some of it in class so that we can critically compare this recent movie adaptation to Shakespeare's text.  With only two instructional days left in the semester and the final day, we will critically view part of the movie today and part of the movie the next class.  Any student who wants to see the end of the movie will have to come to conference at the end of the day on Monday. Conference or tutoring time is build into our school day on Monday for one hour. The combination of the two partial classes and the conference period should let us finish the movie and have time to debrief on the critical analysis notes that students will take while viewing the movie. The part of the movie we will watch in class is not the same section that we discussed in class.  We will start at the beginning of the movie.  

I tell the students to shift from their play discussion groups to their character discussion groups so that they can focus on their assigned character. As we watch the film, they need to take notes on any changes they see to the original plot of the play and to critique the performance of their assigned character (RL 9-10. 7).  I give them some questions to work from such as: 'Is the actor believeable? Age appropriate? Sympathetic, Devious? etc."  

I tell them that their exit ticket is to tell me one thing they liked or didn't like about the beginning of the movie in compared to the play. This will hold them accountable as well as allow me to quickly assess in an informal way their mastery of RL.9-10.7.

Wrap Up: Thoughts on Iago and Homework

5 minutes

I remind the students that they need to read and complete their journal entry for Act V.  Their journal entires are the base of class discussion. As each student walks out the door, s/he tells me something they liked or disliked about the film so far. I have seen this movie so many times,  I am curious to see what their fresh eyes picked up on.