We are currently working on the first half of act 5 scene 2 whereby Desdemona is smothered by her husband, Othello, who is misguided by his jealously and hatred at the thought of Desdemona being unfaithful to him.
This play, Othello, is a tragedy; and this scene is the climax of the tragedy. It needs to be tragic!
Othello's rash decisions when he becomes emotional feature very prominently in this scene and it is important that Othello portrays this in his actions.
Noting the relationship between Othello and Desdemona at this point in the play, the couple have not spent a great deal of time together since their marriage. They have not spent one uninterrupted night together.
This constant lack of each others company creates a great mistrust on Othello's part. This mistrust has built up to this scene and adds to the drama. Othello presents his accusations in an untrustworthy fashion.
The first 23 lines of the scene are Othello's thoughts. He is trying to justify the sacrifice he is about to make. He goes through much mental turmoil in this speech and the audience needs to see the anguish on his face and the distress in his voice. The speech is to be spoken quietly and to himself but still with the changes of tone to show his frustration. For example line 5 into line 6 his voice must be soft and tender while describing Desdemona's "whiter skin than that of snow and smooth as monumental alabaster-" but then a quick change of tone to the harsh and resigned statement that "she must die, else she'll betray more men".
Following this speech Desdemona will wake. She must appear completely unaware of the crimes she has supposedly committed. Her complexion must be that of shock and she...