Explore the power dynamics established in Act 1 Scene 1 of Othello through close study of language choices. A useful activity for KS4 or 5 students to help consider character motivations, relations and themes at the start of Shakespeare's tragedy. Includes a power continuum task and detailed analysis of word choices.
Read through the conversation between Iago and Roderigo in full up to the entrance of Brabantio. The two characters are mid-argument and soon begin discussing Iago’s anger at missing out on a promotion to someone he feels is his inferior, Michael Cassio.
Use your analysis from the first activity to help you respond to the following questions:
- How does the image of purse strings immediately suggest the relationship between Iago and Roderigo?
- How does Iago speak about Othello (the ‘he’ who has denied him a promotion) and Cassio? How does his attitude towards these characters reveal his own personality?