Group Discussion Questions

Each group will respond to one of the following questions, using specific references to the text to support your answers.
 
1. A critic said:
"You could strike out every reference to [Othello's] black skin and the play would be essentially the same. Othello's trouble is that he is an outsider. He is not a Venetian....The Senate has no consciousness whatever of his colour.... It simply has no place in their minds."
Do you agree or disagree with this statement?  Why?


2. Samuel Taylor Coleridge (1772-1834) said that Iago displayed a "motiveless malignancy." What do you think?  Why does Iago do what he does?


3. "Iago only has to get [Othello] to suspect that Desdemona does not [really love him as the person he really is], to release the repressed fears and resentments of a lifetime, and the question of what she has done or not done is irrelevant."
Do you agree or disagree with this statement?  Why?  What are his repressed fears and resentments? 


4. "The handkerchief  is the symbol of a woman's power, her loving, civilizing, sexual power."  Do you agree or disagree with this statement?  Why? (See 3.3.307-45, 3.3.454-87, 3.4.50-114) See Jstor essay 


5. Is Othello a tragic hero? Why or why not?