The Evolution of Tone in Othello Act V: Critical Reading and Viewing

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SWBAT analyze the change in tone in Othello by examining how the attitudes and behaviors of the characters change after Iago's plan is revealed.

Big Idea

"Of one that loved not wisely but too well"... Students look at and listen to the final words of the dead in Othello for meaning and tone.

Let's Get Started: Summary, Questions, and Tone in Act V of Othello

25 minutes

Today, we will continue watching the movie, Othello. So I am going to skip the whole class objective summary of Act V.   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 V from their journals (SL 9-10. 1c).
  3. Consider how the tone in Act V changes, where can they find an example of the shifts in tone and what do these shifts tell you about the characters? Specifically, look at the characters' final words before they die.

I walk about listening the the questions about how Iago blames Bianca. However I am more interested in how they identify and assess the shift in tone

After about 20 minutes I call on students to share their examples of shift in tone with the class (RL 9-10. 4)

Applying Knowledge: Examining the Characters in the Film

60 minutes

I promised the students we would watch the movie.  We are watching the Kennith Branagh 1995 version of Othello. I had not originally planned to include the movie as part of my instructional time.  I was going to show it after school.  Unfortunately we could not come up with a time after school, so we are watching it during class time.   I am giving them  an entire hour to watch the next section of the film.  I tell them move to their character discussion groups and continue the notes that we started yesterday. They are critiquing the portrayal of their assigned character in the movie as compared to the text (RL 9-10.7).  I consider this activity very informal and comparison between the movie and the play was not originally an assessment I planned for this unit.  I don't feel like I adequately prepared them to write a movie character critique, so I do not want to make this a major assessment. We only have one day left in class this semester, so this activity is definitely a formative assessment. 

Wrap Up: What is on your final?

5 minutes

I tell them their final activity will be an in -class writing about Othello.  They need to be prepared to talk about tone and dichotomy specifically the diabolical vs the divine. The essay is open notes (journals), they can use their books, and they can discuss the prompts with their groups.  However everyone has to write their own answers in their own words.  Any responses that are too similar--nearly word for word will not be graded. 

Originally, I was going to give the students three prompts to choose from.  One on characterization, one on tone, and finally a question on dichotomy/theme.  However, we don't have time for an extended writing. Instead I have minimized the questions into four short answer questions that the students will be able to write about in the 50 minutes we have to give a final.  Overall I have been disappointed in this unit. There is so much I want to do with Othello I feel like my students got a slightly more than superficial experience with Othello and Shakespeare.  I have to do better next year.