In 2nde Etudes Anglophones, we had a project to understand Othello by Shakespeare and the messages it contains. So, while reading the whole play together (and sometimes acting it), we discovered and discussed the most important and significant quotes of the book, and analyzed them.
Alone or with a partner, we had to check all the quotes and place them into an attributed theme. Among them, there was: Appearance and Reality – The importance of Reputation – Justice – Position of women – Opposites (loyalty vs. disloyalty; honesty vs. dishonesty; light vs. dark) – Alienation and Belonging.
We had to find a relationship between the quotes and the themes, explain each, and show the progression of the theme in the play.
The D-Day (we had the whole February vacation to prepare this project), the group or the person came in front of the class, and started his demonstration, assisted by a poster they made.
The objective was to show how the theme evolved throughout the events of the story, making it clearer, and giving us the opportunity to go deeper into the story and understand the hidden messages the great Shakespeare gives us.
Personally, I received the theme Appearance and Reality, and through this work, it is true that we see the story differently. Iago, the antagonist, makes himself be perceived as an honest and trustful man. But the quotes I underlined let the viewer guess what is really going on : small and subtle clues are hidden in those quotes, and all are proof of the real dishonesty and disloyalty of Iago.
The posters we made had to contain one or many of the quotes, following the order of the scenes and acts. It gives a global view of the work.
Finally, Shakespeare presented us a complex story with large and variated ideas. We learned how people in the play are able to change, and not always realize it. This principle is the same in real life : some people act deliberately by being aware of what they are doing and how it may affect others (for good or for bad), and some people are subjected to pressures and so do not always act in their soul and conscience. We all change one day because we all have to adapt to our changing environment. Even the best people can turn bad, simply because nobody is perfect. This play really offers us a reflection on ourselves.
-By Maude S.