What would you do?

Performing, writing or understanding dramatic literature is largely about putting yourself in the character’s shoes. Many theorists believe Shakespeare was brilliant at this and that is why he was such a great writer.

Have you ever heard the expression that someone is ‘green’ with jealousy?

O beware, my lord of jealousy.
It is the green eyed monster, which doth mock
the meat it feeds on.

Iago, Act 3, Scene 3

This is one of the many expressions that Shakespeare has introduced to common usage in English. Othello is sometimes seen as a play about jealousy. Jealousy is often seen as the source of the conflict that drives the action of the play.

Individual Task

Choose ONE of the following scenarios and begin by brainstorming how jealousy might be evident. Make notes on how each character might respond to your chosen scenario or dilemma, using the following prompts:

  • How might they act?

  • How should they act?
  • Should they act at all?
  • What do you assume has happened?
  • What might be a different alternative, as opposed to your assumption?
  1. A young man is very respected by his boss. The boss invites him over for dinner frequently and is very interested in his life. As soon as the young man shows interest in the boss’ daughter, the boss treats the young man very differently, in a negative way.
  2. A long serving employee has been passed over for job promotion. Their boss has given the job to someone who is less experienced but has better social connections.
  3. A father has only one child, a young daughter. The father's friend and colleague secretly marries his daughter. The friend is much older than the daughter. The father discovers this information through gossip in the town.
  4. A woman’s partner gives her a gift, but she has suspicions about where they got it. She suspects that her partner has simply passed on an unwanted present from another admirer. 

  5. An individual has overheard gossip that their partner is having an affair with an attractive friend and colleague. The suspicious individual sees their partner deep in conversation with their colleague. When they approaches them, the colleague seems embarrassed and leaves quickly.

Extension task

Find two other people in your class who have chosen your scenario.

Share your ideas with each other. How are they different/similar? Write a short diary entry together from the character’s perspective. Show their inner thoughts and feelings and a justification for it.

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