Home
Shop  |  Calendar  |  Join  |  Buy Tickets  |  Hamnet  |  Site Rental  |  Press Room  
  
About UsWhat's OnUse the CollectionDiscover ShakespeareTeach & LearnFolger InstituteSupport Us
Teaching Resources
• Teaching Modules
Teaching Modules Archive

   Sign up for E-news!
   Printer Friendly

"How to choose a good Wife from a bad...": Were Othello and Desdemona doomed from the start?



Teachers' Rating:
  18 ratings


Alexander Niccholes. A discourse of marriage and wiving. London, 1615

 
February 2004
 
Annmarie Kelly Harbaugh teaches English at West Ashley High School in Charleston, South Carolina.
 

Plays/Scenes Covered
Othello. This lesson works best after students have read the entire play.
 
What's On for Today and Why
It is easy to reduce Othello and Desdemona's failed marriage to Iago's scheming and Othello's jealousy. But the rules of choosing and keeping a wife were slightly different in 1615, according to Alexander Niccholes's book, "A discourse, of marriage and wiving: and of the greatest Mystery therin contained: How to choose a good Wife from a bad...," and it can be useful for students to examine Othello with an eye toward these standards.

This lesson will take one 50-minute class period.
 
What You Need

Folger edition of Othello
Available in Folger print edition and Folger Digital Texts


Documents:
A Discourse of Marriage
 
 
What To Do
1. Either for homework or as a class, have students read the handout, "Certaine Precepts to be observed either in Wiving or Marriage" from "A discourse, of marriage and wiving." Be sure to explain to students how to read the document (i.e. how to translate the various letters). You may need to give them this key:
v = u
u = v
i = j
f = s
vv = w

2. Ask students to circle at least 3 rules applicable to Othello and Desdemona's relationship.

3. In groups of 2 or 3, have students locate and record evidence of each of these precepts in the play.

4. Ask students to find at least one precept on the handout that is applicable to Iago and Emilia's relationship. They should find textual evidence for this as well.

5. As a class, have students share their findings. You might want to ask students to compare the two marriages, highlighting similarities and differences.

6. For homework, and with these precepts in mind, have students write journals in which they explore their own precepts for marriage. What does it take these days for a marriage to work? Are any of these rules still applicable? You may want to have them discuss this with respect to their own parents.
 
How Did It Go?
Did students verbalize their difficulty reading an "old" text? ("Why do all these "s's" look like "f's"?) Did they move beyond that grumbling into deciphering and remarking on the rules for marriage? Have they begun to at least question the responsibility of the married characters in this play? Were they intrigued by the timelessness of the rules of love? If you got high school boys to talk about relationships, you've done good work here.
 


If you used this lesson, we would like to hear how it went and about any adaptations you made to suit the needs of YOUR students.

Login or register to post comments.

40 CommentsOldest | Newest

You have shared awesome posts for everyone, content of this post is really useful. ncrformsco.co.uk
jordan January 22, 2015 4:57 AM

Very useful and interesting post. Your post is very attractive and unique. keep sharing. gym mats
James January 21, 2015 3:06 AM

Nice detail shared in this post. I really like the title "Select good Wife from bad" interesting to read this post. Keep it up. UK's manufactured garage flooring
James January 7, 2015 6:36 AM

I am glad after reading that post. I was searching that topic from few days its increase my knowledge. horse mats made by best rubber
James January 7, 2015 6:23 AM

Superb post. You have gained a new fan. Please keep up the good work and I look forward to more of your great posts. grass matting
James January 7, 2015 6:06 AM

Good tips shared in this post. Very nice helping material this is. I like your post. Cheers buy gymnastic mats online
James January 7, 2015 4:39 AM

I have visited this blog this blog is really awesome with its informative posts I want to say that you have done a great sharing. keep posting. Custom Stickers Clear Background
jordan January 7, 2015 4:17 AM

Obat Kutil Kelamin Untuk Wanita Obat Kutil Kelamin Untuk Pria Cara Menyembuhkan Kutil Kelamin Cara Mengatasi Kutil Kelamin
tina January 2, 2015 1:20 AM

Obat Kencing Nanah Gejala Penyakit Sipilis Penyakit Kutil Kelamin Obat Kutil Kelamin Alami Obat Kutil Kelamin Herbal Pengobatan Kutil Kelamin Cara Mengobati Kutil Kelamin Obat Kencing Nanah Obat Gonore Obat Raja Singa Ampuh
tina January 2, 2015 1:07 AM

Obat Kutil Kelamin Untuk Pria Cara Menyembuhkan Kutil Kelamin Cara Mengatasi Kutil Kelamin Obat Kutil Kelamin Wanita Cara Mengobati Kutil Kelamin Penyebab Sipilis Cara Mengobati Sipilis Obat Kutil Kelamin Obat Wasir Ampuh Obat Wasir Herbal Obat Sipilis Tradisional Obat Sipilis Pada Pria Obat Kanker Payudara Obat Sipilis Raja Singa Obat Wasir Luar Obat Penyakit Kutil Kelamin Obat Sipilis Ciri Penyakit Sipilis Tanda - Tanda Penyakit Sipilis Obat Kutil Kelamin Pria Obat Kutil Kelamin Wanita Jual Obat Wasir atau Ambeien Pada Pria Dan Wanita
tina January 2, 2015 1:04 AM


View More
  Common Core State Standards

There are no standards associated with this Lesson Plan.
 
 
How To

Note to Mozilla Firefox Users:

If the PDF documents are freezing, please try the following fix:
Go to Tools. Under Options click the Applications icon. Under Content Type, find Adobe Acrobat Document. Select Use Adobe Reader. If the option already says Use Adobe Reader, try changing the option to Use Adobe Acrobat.





Bookmark and Share   
 
     Copyright & Policies   |   Sitemap   |   Contact Us   |   About This Site
RSS   
 
  Address:
201 East Capitol Street, SE
Washington, DC 20003
Get directions »

Federal Tax ID #04-2103542
    Hours:
PublicReading Room
10am to 5pm, Monday through Saturday8:45am to 4:45pm, Monday through Friday
12pm to 5pm, Sunday9am to noon and 1pm to 4:30pm, Saturday
    Phone:
Main: 202 544 4600
Box Office: 202 544 7077
Fax: 202 544 4623