Online text of Othello
AP English Literature UNIT PLANNING
UNIT: The Role of the Outsider in the Shakespearean Tragedy/Unit Plan TIME FRAME: Five Weeks TEACHER/GR: Saunders AP English Literature
Unit Summary and Rationale: To foster the concept of intertwining themes, the role/archetype of the outsider synthesizes with that of the Shakespearean epic form in prior academic year and supports the concept of the dangers of discrimination, isolation, racisim and the inescapability of one’s fears. This unit combines drama, poetry, pop-culture, prior literature, and embraces rich discussion of current events,thematic concepts and literary devices. The anchor text is William Shakespeare's Othello. This unit serves as an introduction to the analysis and evaluation of the epic form transformation from ancient greek Aristotelian model to Shakepeare's model. The unit culminates in a Fire vs. Ice activity anchored in the text and launched by Robert Frost's poem of the same name. This activity uses a grid to outline choice and control for learners to create, communicate, collaborate and think critically. Students demonstrate knowledge through a team challenge Fire, Iago, vs. Ice, Othello, which is judged by the pit, peasants from the famous Globe Theatre, to determine which character contributed more dimensionally to the tragedy of Othello.

Unit Connection College and Career Ready Descriptions: These are the descriptors that must be included to ensure the unit is fully aligned to the CCSS and relevant to the college and career ready student.
ü Students will demonstrate independence.
ü Students will value evidence.
ü Students will build strong content knowledge.
ü Students will respond to the varying demands of audience, task, and discipline.
ü Students will critique as well as comprehend.
ü Students will use technology and digital media strategically and capably.
ü Students will develop an understanding of other perspectives and cultures.

Unit Standards: Teachers should list the standards to be addressed within the unit.
Literature _x
Key Ideas and Details
1. Cite strong and thorough textual evidence to support analysis of what the text says explicitly as well as inferences drawn from the text, including determining where the text leaves matters uncertain.
2. Determine two or more themes or central ideas of a text and analyze their development over the course of the text, including how they interact and build on one another to produce a complex account; provide an objective summary of the text.
3. Analyze the impact of the author’s choices regarding how to develop and relate elements of a story or drama (e.g., where a story is set, how the action is ordered, how the characters are introduced and developed).
Craft and Structure
4. Determine the meaning of words and phrases as they are used in the text, including figurative and connotative meanings; analyze the impact of specific word choices on meaning and tone, including words with multiple meanings or language that is particularly fresh, engaging, or beautiful.
5. Analyze how an author’s choices concerning how to structure specific parts of a text (e.g., the choice of where to begin or end a story, the choice to provide a comedic or tragic resolution) contribute to its overall structure and meaning as well as its aesthetic impact.
Integration of Knowledge and Ideas
9. Demonstrate knowledge of eighteenth-, nineteenth- and early-twentieth-century foundational works of American literature, including how two or more texts from the same period treat similar themes or topics.

Informational Text_
11-12 RI
Key Ideas and Details
1. Analyze a complex set of ideas or sequence of events and explain how specific individuals, ideas, or events interact and develop over the course of the text.
Integration of Knowledge and Ideas 7. Integrate and evaluate multiple sources of information presented in different media or formats (e.g., visually, quantitatively) as well as in words in order to address a question or solve a problem.
Text Types and Purposes
1. Write arguments to support claims in an analysis of substantive topics or texts, using valid reasoning and relevant and sufficient evidence.
a. Establish and maintain a formal style and objective tone while attending to the norms and conventions of the discipline in which they are writing.
2. Write informative/explanatory texts to examine and convey complex ideas, concepts, and information clearly and accurately through the effective selection, organization, and analysis of content.
b. Develop the topic thoroughly by selecting the most significant and relevant facts, extended definitions, concrete details, quotations, or other information and examples appropriate to the audience’s knowledge of the topic.
f. Provide a concluding statement or section that follows from and supports the information or explanation presented (e.g., articulating implications or the significance of the topic).
Production and Distribution of Writing
5. Develop and strengthen writing as needed by planning, revising, editing, rewriting, or trying a new approach, focusing on addressing what is most significant for a specific purpose and audience.
7.Conductshort as well as more
sustained research projects to answer a question (including a self-generated question) or solve a problem; narrow or broaden the inquiry when appropriate; synthesize multiple sources on the subject, demonstrating understanding
of the subject under investigation.
9. Draw evidence from literary or informational texts to support analysis, reflection, and research.
a. Apply grades 11–12 Reading standards to literature (e.g., “Demonstrate knowledge of eighteenth-, nineteenth- and early-twentieth-century foundational works of American literature, including how two or more texts from the same period treat similar themes or topics”).
Speaking and Listening
Comprehension and Collaboration
1. Initiate and participate effectively in a range of collaborative discussions (one-on-one, in groups, and teacher-led) with diverse partners on grades 11–12 topics, texts, and issues, building on others’ ideas and expressing their own clearly and persuasively.
a. Come to discussions prepared, having read and researched material under study; explicitly draw on that preparation by referring to evidence from texts and other research on the topic or issue to stimulate a thoughtful, well-reasoned exchange of ideas.
c. Propel conversations by posing and responding to questions that probe reasoning and evidence; ensure a hearing for a full range of positions on a topic or issue; clarify, verify, or challenge ideas and conclusions; and promote divergent and creative perspectives.
3. Evaluate a speaker’s point of view, reasoning, and use of evidence and rhetoric, assessing the stance, premises, links among ideas, word choice, points of emphasis, and tone used.
Presentation of Knowledge and Ideas
4. Present information, findings, and supporting evidence, conveying a clear and distinct perspective, such that listeners can follow the line of reasoning, alternative or opposing perspectives are addressed, and the organization, development, substance, and style are appropriate to purpose, audience, and a range of formal and informal tasks.
11-12 L
Conventions of Standard English
1. Demonstrate command of the conventions of standard English grammar and usage when writing or speaking.
2. Demonstrate command of the conventions of standard English capitalization, punctuation, and spelling when writing.
Knowledge of Language
3. Apply knowledge of language to understand how language functions in different contexts, to make effective choices for meaning or style, and to comprehend more fully when reading or listening.
Vocabulary Usage and Use
4. Determine or clarify the meaning of unknown and multiple-meaning words and phrases based on grades 11–12 reading and content, choosing flexibly from a range of strategies.
a. Use context (e.g., the overall meaning of a sentence, paragraph, or text; a word’s position or function in a sentence) as a clue to the meaning of a word or phrase.
d. Verify the preliminary determination of the meaning of a word or phrase (e.g., by checking the inferred meaning in context or in a dictionary).
5. Demonstrate understanding of figurative language, word relationships, and nuances in word meanings.
a. Interpret figures of speech (e.g., hyperbole, paradox) in context and analyze their role in the text.
b. Analyze nuances in the meaning of words with similar denotations.
6. Acquire and use accurately general academic and domain-specific words and phrases, sufficient for reading, writing, speaking, and listening at the college and career readiness level; demonstrate independence in gathering vocabulary knowledge when considering a word or phrase important to comprehension or expression.
HS.TT.1.3 Use appropriate technology tools to design products and information with others.

Big Ideas:
Essential Questions:
Learners will understand and recognize theme as enduring and universal as a broad message conveyed through a literary work. Universal ideas include human nature or society, as well.
Learners will explore the way in which Shakespeare presents the female characters in Othello.
Learners will evaluate racism in the play and society and evaluate 17th century perspective and modern day cultural impact.
Learners will explore the use of language in rhetorical context.
1.What kind of tragedy is Othello? Is it about a good man brought low by a tragic flaw? If so, what is that flaw? Or is this a different kind of tragedy?
2. Is Iago a tragic hero? Evaluate and defend your response.
3. Why does Othello choose to believe Iago rather than Desdemona?
4. Is Othello a play about race? How important is race in the play?
5. The 17th century critic Thomas Rymer called Othello the tragedy of the handkerchief and said that its lesson was that women should take good care of their laundry. Is Rymer right?
6. How does Shakespeare use image patterns in this play to reveal characters and changes in character?
7. Does Othello love "not wisely but too well," as he claims at 5:2:344?
8. Discuss Othello as a play about playing/acting. What does this work say about the stage?
9. Is Desdemona a fool? Is she heroic? Is she believable? What do you make of her character?
Learners will develop an understanding of rich vocabulary through an examination of contextual meaning and a revised definition. They will also apply knowledge of literary devices and narrative techniques to enhance appreciation of literature.
Learners will distinguish between guilt and innocence in the outcome of the play.
Learners will formulate a debate using 21st century skills as a performance assessment in judging character.
1.How is drama created in Othello? Answer the following questions to see if you understand what makes Shakespeare such a clever craftsman.
2. How do Iago's soliloquies create tension?
3. Evaluate Shakespeare's purpose in why he often changes the tone or mood between scenes..
his attention wandered and he got fed up of what he was writing
4. Provide an analysis of the example of dramatic irony in the play when Othello hides and listens to Iago's conversation with Cassio.
5. Analyze the impact in purpose when, toward the end, Desdemona goes to speak to Othello, unaware that he intends to kill her, the audience feels:
bored because they know what will happen at the end.
Learners will synthesize information from research, the life of the author, events, characterization, theme, plot events and details to draw conclusions and infer meaning.
5.How does the understanding of historical context impact cultural nuances in theme?
1.Compare and contrast Iago and Othello's language throughout the play. How does each character's language illustrate his character? At what point do the characters begin to speak alike? What is the implication in that change?
Knowledge: What should students know by the end of the lesson?
Students will be able to:
  • explain the use of motif and theme
  • analyze the use of dramatic irony in creating tone and mood
  • analyze the function of the flashback structure
  • trace the development of the dynamic structure
  • analyze the significance of the geography and setting within the context of the novel
  • trace the development of complex and intertwining themes

Learning Targets: Teachers list the various tasks students will engage in throughout the unit, include use of media/other forms of information.
Students will be skilled at…
  • annotating historical information and synthesizing the information to draw meaning to literary text
  • understanding the nuances in secular differences in English culture
  • applying the historical information to infer discreet meaning of Shakespeare's life characterization in literary text
  • synthesizing theme across multiple literary works and evaluating how Greek literature impacts the work as a whole
  • adapting understanding to the framework of the play and the integration of dramatic irony in the engagement of the audience
  • analyzing the use of the dramatice foil how it develops the play through contrast
  • applying literary devices and thematic concepts to mixed genres to enhance understanding and appreciation

Reading TasksAnnotating Informational Texts

Study Guides
"My Last Duchess"
"Fire vs. Ice"
"Sympathy for the Devil"
Writing Tasks
OthelloEssay Choices:
From five free response essays
Study Guide for Five Acts
Soliloquy and Aside Activity:
Students synthesize one monologuefor iambic pentameter in a one page written response
Discussion Tasks:
OthelloFire vs. Ice Debate!
Small Group and Seminar
Aggregate Responses
Music/Voice Overs
Narrative Techniques and DevicesMotif
Literary Allusions,
Dramatic Irony,
Dramatic Foil,

Theme Chart:
Students locate a supporting
passage or event to tie
to five major themes
Language/Vocabulary Tasks:
Iambic Pentameter
On Events, Characters, and Details.
Vocabulary Chart
Defining Words through context
Ongoing, student monitored:
Chapter/WordContextual DefinitionRevised Definition

Assessment Evidences:

Pre-Assess Knowledge of Time Period
Review of The Kite Runnerand the Role of the Archetype of the Christ figure and theoutsider in literature
Video Clip Pre-Assessment of literary archetypes
Annotated Documents
Study Guide Ongoing Review
Analysis of "Fire and Ice" by Robert Frostwith Survey Responses
Aggregate Log Responses/Seminar Activities
Theme Chart
Point of View and Tone Activity
Crossword Puzzle
AP Modeled
Objective Exam

Item Analysis

Test Corrections

and Seminar

Plans Developed
Fire vs. Ice Team Challenge!*withStudent-Generated Rubric

Objective Exam
*This presentation uses a sample from the classroom readily extended to an anchor text or unit. The four Cs from 21st Century Learning, creativity, critical thinking, communication and collaboration, are punctuated in a matrix that highlights student choice and control. Through the matrix, students research facts, write about findings, and present information to peers. This highly engaging activity culiminates in a team debate. The format appeals to multiple intelligences. The musically inclined learner will gravitate toward the area of the same name. Bodily-kinesthetic will enjoy role-play as actors or presenters, etc. Gardner's Multiple Intelligences are synthesized with Bloom's and the 4Cs in this activity.
Fire vs. Ice21st Century Menu
Directions: Chose activities in a four square design. Each person has a role to play in this activity.

Think Critically
Peasantin the PitVisual-SpatialBodily-KinestheticInterpersonal
Authenticate and don peasant garb in attire worn at the Globe Theatre.
With peers to determine, by round, which team proposed and defended the best argument in response to the prompt.
Hear Ye!
Announce in authentic Elizabethan language, the winner of each round with support and analysis of key points from the rubric provided.
Decide Fate!
Decide outcome using rubric provided to examine the key points and aims of argument to determine the group excelling in each round.
Theme Music
Create an original song or synthesize with an existing song that overlaps thematically with your team.
Use a digital survey to learn opinions and anticipate issues or about some fact, idea, or feature of your theme approach.
Communicate how the song will apply thematically in the future of our debate in our Elizabethan society.
Blend a thematic approach to the team to encapsulate the views and goals of the team into a visual model or thematic dress code.
Fact Cards
Gather details and develop original flashcards, or computer generated game.
Team Prep
Analyze thematically the major textual support and teach others how to apply them to theme.
Anticipate thematic connection and possible pratfalls with team from the perspective of your character.
Categorize information thematically in terms of theme and literary devices. Compare and contrast.
TownCrierBodily- KinestheticLogical-MathematicalLinguisticInterpersonal
Plan Create mock arguments from both sides of the team in preparation for event.
Lead Team
Assess the preparation and evaluate the major components of the team in anticipation of the event.
Analyze and assess the argument proposed and, using the text provided by the team, synthesize the argument in support of the character.
Evaluate the best approach to the argument, by determining the flaws in the opposing team’ position and bolstering own team’s position with facts.

Fire and Ice Process.PNG


Ice (Iago)

Peasants in the Pit

Fire (Othello)



(Which character represented the topic/archetype better)



Meredith S






Religious Archetypes




















False Appearances







Military Honor






Gender Roles


Meredith K

The Outsider


Ice (Iago)

Peasants in the Pit

Fire (Othello)




































Shakespeare's Globe: About Us - Virtual Tour - Yard / Shakespeare's Globe

A View from the Pit

Shakespeare's Globe: About Us - Virtual Tour - Middle Gallery / Shakespeare's Globe

A View of the Pit

5th Period Team Fire Video

Follow that handkerchief!

Interactive Game
Othello in Context
Online text of Othello

The Plot of Othello