"Othello" by William Shakespeare, Act I

Iago, arguably the greatest villain in all of Shakespeare, manipulates nearly everyone in "Othello" to bring about his fiendish and tragic plans.

As you read Shakespeare's tragedy "Othello," learn these word lists: Act I, Act II, Act III, Act IV, and Act V.

Activities for this list:

definitions & notes only words
  1. abhor
    find repugnant
    If ever I did dream of such a matter, Abhor me.
    "Hate me," says the speaker.
  2. bombast
    pompous or pretentious talk or writing
    Evades them, with a bombast circumstance
  3. epithet
    a defamatory or abusive word or phrase
    Horribly stuff'd with epithets of war;
  4. Moor
    one of the Muslim people of north Africa
    To love the Moor.
    The word "moor" refers to Othello's heritage; Shakespeare implies that he is of Muslim / African lineage.
  5. obsequious
    attempting to win favor from influential people by flattery
    That, doting on his own obsequious bondage,
  6. visage
    the appearance conveyed by a person's face
    Who, trimm'd in forms and visages of duty,
  7. homage
    respectful deference
    Do themselves homage: these fellows have some soul;
  8. rouse
    cause to become awake or conscious
    Rouse him: make after him, poison his delight,
  9. vexation
    anger produced by some annoying irritation
    Yet throw such changes of vexation on't,
  10. timorous
    timid by nature or revealing timidity
    Do, with like timorous accent and dire yell
  11. lascivious
    driven by lust
    To the gross clasps of a lascivious Moor --
  12. delude
    be dishonest with
    For thus deluding you.
  13. promulgate
    state or announce
    I shall promulgate -- I fetch my life and being
  14. manifest
    provide evidence for
    Shall manifest me rightly.
  15. palpable
    capable of being perceived
    'Tis probable and palpable to thinking.
  16. assay
    an appraisal of the state of affairs
    By no assay of reason: 'tis a pageant,
  17. facile
    performing adroitly and without effort
    So may he with more facile question bear it,
  18. mountebank
    a flamboyant deceiver
    By spells and medicines bought of mountebanks;
  19. insolent
    marked by casual disrespect
    Of being taken by the insolent foe
  20. boisterous
    full of rough and exuberant animal spirits
    Othello, the fortitude of the place is best
    known to you; and though we have there a substitute
    of most allowed sufficiency, yet opinion, a
    sovereign mistress of effects, throws a more safer
    voice on you: you must therefore be content to
    slubber the gloss of your new fortunes with this
    more stubborn and boisterous expedition.
  21. alacrity
    liveliness and eagerness
    A natural and prompt alacrity
  22. defunct
    no longer in force or use; inactive
    In me defunct -- and proper satisfaction.
  23. taint
    place under suspicion or cast doubt upon
    That my disports corrupt and taint my business,
  24. scion
    a descendent or heir
    If the balance of our lives had not one
    scale of reason to poise another of sensuality, the
    blood and baseness of our natures would conduct us
    to most preposterous conclusions: but we have
    reason to cool our raging motions, our carnal
    stings, our unbitted lusts, whereof I take this that
    you call love to be a sect or scion.
  25. usurp
    seize and take control without authority
    Put money in thy
    purse; follow thou the wars; defeat thy favour with
    an usurped beard; I say, put money in thy purse.

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