The Inquiry into the Sinking of the Titanic

During the last couple of weeks TY students have been studying a broad range of poetry including works from greats such as Seamus Heaney and TS Eliot. Last week, “After the Titanic” by Derek Mahon was the focus of attention. The poem looks at the tragedy of the Titanic from the point of view of a survivor – Bruce Ismay. He was the managing director of White Star Line the company that owned the Titanic. Mahon’s interpretation vividly captures the haunting memories of the broken up ship and describes Ismay’s feelings when the investigation into the sinking took place.

After reflecting on the poem, a challenge was put to the TY’s. In 20 mins, and in groups of 8 or 9, they had to prepare a rehearsed improvisation of the  inquiry into the sinking of the Titanic centering on Bruce Ismay. In group one, Jack Conway led the courtroom process with great authority while Drew Keeley defended himself in the role of Ismay. Witnesses were called and barristers examined. This improvisation was very convincing indeed.

Witness for the Prosecution
Witness for the Prosecution

Another group was led strongly by the prosecuting barrister, Ciaran Mulroy. Gabriel Mayrhofer, as Bruce Ismay did not stand a chance under the tough line of questioning. Despite many objections by counsel for the defence, Sean Landers, Ismay was found guilty of negligent manslaughter.

The Questioning of Ismay
The Questioning of Ismay

Both groups got very much into the spirit of the hearing and everyone fulfilled their roles and improvised greatly without any written script. This experiment  with rehearsed improvisation is one that will be repeated during the course of the year.

Some key quotes from Act II of ‘Othello’

Remember to keep on top of your quotes as we are progressing through the play! Here are some of the key quotes from the second Act:

Scene 1

‘News, lads! Our wars are done:
The desperate tempest hath so banged the Turks
That their designment halts. A noble ship of Venice
Hath seen a grievous wrack and sufferance
On most part of their fleet.’
Third Gentleman

‘He hath achieved a maid
That paragons description and wild fame,
One that excels the quirks of blazoning pens,
And in th’essential vesture of creation,
Does tire the ingener.’
Cassio, about Othello’s marriage to Desdemona

‘Sir, would she give you so much of her lips
As of her tongue she oft bestows on me,
You’d have enough.’
Iago to Cassio, about Emilia

‘You are pictures out of doors;
Bells in your parlours; wild-cats in your kitchens;
Saints in your injuries; devils being offended;
Players in your housewifery; and housewives
In your beds.’
Iago’s misogynistic view of women

‘These are fond paradoxes to make fools laugh i’th alehouse.’
Desdemona to Iago

‘He takes her by the palm – ay, well said, whisper! – with as little a web as this will I ensnare as great a fly as Cassio. – Ay, smile upon her, do! I will gyve thee in thine own courtship. – You say true, ’tis so, indeed. – If such tricks as these strip you out of your lieutenantry, it had been better you had not kissed your three fingers so oft, which now again, you are most apt to play the sir in.’
Iago, in an aside, about Cassio

‘If I were now to die,
”Twere now to be most happy; for I fear
My soul hath her content so absolute
That not another comfort like to this
Succeeds in unknown fate.’
Othello to Desdemona

‘Come hither, if thou be’st valiant – as they say base men being in love have then a nobility in their natures more than is native to them – list me: the lieutenant tonight watches on the court of guard. first, I must tell thee this: Desdemona is directly in love with him.’
Iago to Roderigo

‘Besides, the knave is handsome, young, and hath all those requisites in him that folly and green minds look after – a pestilent complete knave, and the woman hath found him already.’
Iago to Roderigo

‘And nothing can or shall content my soul
Till I am evened with him, wife for wife;
Or, failing so, yet that I put the Moor
At least into a jealousy so strong
That judgement cannot cure’
Iago, soliloquy

Scene 3

‘Iago is most honest.’
Othello to Cassio

‘I have very poor and unhappy brains for drinking. I could well wish courtesy would invent some other custom of entertainment.’
Cassio to Iago

‘If I can fasten but one cup upon him,
With that which he hath drunk tonight already,
He’ll be as full of quarrel and offence
As my young mistress’ dog.’
Iago, soliloquy

‘I learned it in England, where indeed, they are most potent in potting. Your Dane, your German, and your swag-bellied Hollander – drink, ho! – are nothing to your English.’
Iago to Cassio

‘You see this fellow that is gone before?
He’s a soldier fit to stand by Caesar
And give direction; and do but see his vice –
‘Tis to his virtue a just equinox,
the one as long as th’other. ‘Tis pity of him:
I fear the trust Othello puts him in,
On some odd time of his infirmity,
Will shake this island.’
Iago to Montano

‘And ’tis great pity that the noble Moor
Should hazard such a place as his own second
With one of an ingraft infirmity:
It were an honest action to say
So to the Moor.’
Montano to Iago

‘For Christian shame, put by this barbarous brawl!
He that stirs next to carve for his own rage
Holds his soul light: he dies upon his motion.’
Othello to crowd

‘What’s the matter,
That you unlace your reputation thus,
And spend your rich opinion for the name
Of a night-brawler?’
Othello to Montano

‘Now, by heaven,
My blood begins my safer guides to rule,
And passion, having my best judgement collied,
Assays to lead the way.’
Othello to crowd

‘I had rather have this tongue cut from my mouth
Than it should do offence to Michael Cassio.’
Iago to Othello

‘I know, Iago,
Thy honesty and love doth mince this matter,
Making it light to Cassio. – Cassio, I love thee;
But never more be officer of mine.’
Othello to Iago and Cassio

‘Reputation, reputation, reputation! O I have lost my reputation! I have lost the immortal part of myself, and what remains is bestial.’
Cassio to Iago

”Reputation’ is an idle and most false imposition, oft got without merit, and lost without deserving.’
Iago to Cassio

‘I will rather sue to be despised than to deceive so good a commander with so slight, so drunken, and so indiscreet an officer. Drunk, and speak parrot, and squabble? Swagger, swear, and discourse fustian with one’s own shadow? O, thou invisible spirit of wine, if thou has no name to be known by, let us call thee devil!’
Cassio to Iago

‘O God, that men should put an enemy in their mouths to steal away their brains; that we should, with joy, pleasance, revel, and applause, transform ourselves into beasts!’
Cassio to Iago

‘Our general’s wife is now the general.’
Iago to Cassio

‘She is of so free, so kind, so apt, so blessed a disposition, she holds it a vice in her goodness not to do more than she is requested. This broken joint between you and her husband entreat her to splinter.’
Iago to Cassio

‘For, whiles this honest fool
Plies Desdemona to repair his fortune
And she for him pleads strongly to the Moor,
I’ll pour this pestilence in his ear:
That she repeals him for her body’s lust:
And by how much she strives to do him good
She shall undo her credit with the Moor.’
Iago, soliloquy


Some key quotes from Act I of ‘Othello’

It is essential to keep up to date with quotations from ‘Othello’. They will form a central part of every essay that you write. If you learn them well in now, it will make life much easier for you later on.

Here are some of the key quotes from Act I:

Scene 1

‘I know my price, I am worth no worse a place’
Iago to Roderigo

‘Mere prattle without practise
Is all his soldiership.’
Iago to Roderigo about Cassio

‘I follow him to serve my turn upon him.’
Iago to Roderigo

‘In following him, I follow but myself –
Heaven is my judge, not I for love and duty,
But seeming so, for my peculiar end;
For when my outward action doth demonstrate
The native act and figure of my heart
In compliment extern, ’tis not long after
But I will wear my heart upon by sleeve
For daws to peck at: I am not what I am.’
Iago to Roderigo

‘Call up her father,
Rouse him, make after him, poison his delight,
Proclaim him in the streets. Incense her kinsmen,
And, though he in a fertile climate dwell,
Plague him with flies: though that his joy be joy,
Yet throw such changes of vexation on’t,
As it may lose some colour.’
Iago to Roderigo

‘Your heart is burst, you have lost half your soul:
Even now, now, very now, an old black ram
Is tupping your white ewe. Arise, arise!
Awake the snorting citizens with the bell,
Or else the devil will make a grandsire of you.’
Iago to Brabantio

‘Because he come to do you service and you think we are ruffians, you’ll have your daughter covered with a Barbary horse; you’ll have your nephews neigh to you; you’ll have coursers for cousins and gennets for germans.’
Iago to Brabantio

‘Farewell, for I must leave you:
It seems not meet, nor wholesome to my place,
To be produced – as, if I stay, I shall –
Against the Moor.’
Iago to Roderigo

‘Though I do hate him as I do hell pains,
Yet, for necessity of present life,
I must show out a flag and sign of love –
Which is indeed but a sign.’
Iago to Roderigo

‘Is there not charms
By which the property of youth and maidhood
May be abused?’
Brabantio to Roderigo


Scene 2

‘For know, Iago,
But that I love the gentle Desdemona,
I would not my unhoused free condition
Put into circumscription and confine
For the sea’s worth.’
Othello to Iago

‘I must be found:
My parts, my title and my perfect soul
Shall manifest me rightly.’
Othello to Iago

‘Keep up your bright swords, for the dew will rust them.
Good signior, you shall more command with years
Than with your weapons.’
Othello to Brabantio and officers

‘If she in chains of magic were not bound,
Whether a maid so tender, fair and happy,
So opposite to marriage that she shunned
The wealthy curled darlings of our nation,
Would ever have, to incur a general mock,
Run from her guardage to the sooty bosom
Of such a thing as thou, to fear, not to delight.’
Brabantio to Othello


Scene 3

‘She is abused, stol’n from me, and corrupted
By spells and medicines bought of mountebanks;
For nature so preposterously to err,
Being not deficient, blind, or lame of sense,
Sans withcraft could not.’
Brabantio to Duke

‘Rude am I in my speech,
And little bless’d with the soft phrase of peace:
For since these arms of mine had seven years’ pith,
Till now some nine moons wasted, they have used
Their dearest action in the tented field,
And little of this great world can I speak,
More than pertains to feats of broil and battle,
And therefore little shall I grace my cause
In speaking for myself. Yet, by your gracious patience,
I will a round unvarnishe’d tale deliver
Of my whole course of love; what drugs, what charms,
What conjuration and what mighty magic,
For such proceedings I am charged withal,
I won his daughter.’
Othello to Duke

‘A maiden never bold;
Of spirit so still and quiet, that her motion
Blush’d at herself; and she, in spite of nature,
Of years, of country, credit, every thing,
To fall in love with what she fear’d to look on!
It is a judgement maim’d and most imperfect
That will confess perfection so could err
Against all rules of nature, and must be driven
To find out practices of cunning hell,
Why this should be. I therefore vouch again
That with some mixtures powerful o’er the blood,
Or with some dram conjured to this effect,
He wrought upon her.’
Brabantio to Duke

‘If you do find me foul in her report,
The trust, the office I do hold of you,
Not only take away, but let your sentence
Even fall upon my life.’
Othello to Duke

‘She thank’d me,
And bade me, if I had a friend that loved her,
I should but teach him how to tell my story
And that would woo her. Upon this hint I spake:
She loved me for the dangers I had pass’d,
And I loved her that she did pity them.
This is the only witchcraft I have used’
Othello to Duke

‘I do perceive here a divided duty:
To I am bound for life and education;
My life and education both do learn me
How to respect you; you are the lord of duty;
I am hitherto your daughter: but here’s my husband,
And so much duty as my mother show’d
To you, preferring you before her father,
So much I challenge that I may profess
Due to the Moor my lord.’
Desdemona to Brabantio

‘I here do give thee that with all my heart
Which, but thou hast already, with all my heart
I would keep from thee.’
Brabantio to Othello

‘The Turk with a most mighty preparation makes for Cyprus.’
Duke to Othello

‘So please your grace, my ensign;
A man he is of honest and trust:
To his conveyance I assign my wife,
With what else needful your good grace shall think
To be sent after me.’
Othello to Duke

‘If virtue no delighted beauty lack,
Your son-in-law is far more fair than black.’
Duke to Brabantio

‘Look to her, Moor, if thou hast eyes to see:
She has deceived her father, and may thee.’
Brabantio to Othello

‘My life upon her faith! Honest Iago,
My Desdemona must I leave to thee:
I prithee, let thy wife attend upon her:
And bring them after in the best advantage.’
Othello to Brabantio and Iago

‘It cannot be that Desdemona should long continue her love to the Moor – put money in thy purse – nor he his to her: it was a violent commencement, and thou shalt see an answerable sequestration – put but money in thy purse. These Moors are changeable in their wills: fill thy purse with money – the food that to him now is as luscious as locusts, shall be to him shortly as bitter as coloquintida. She must change for youth: when she is sated with his body, she will find the error of her choice: she must have change, she must: therefore put money in thy purse.’
Iago to Roderigo

‘I have told thee often, and I re-tell thee again and again, I hate the Moor: my cause is hearted; thine hath no less reason. Let us be conjunctive in our revenge against him: if thou canst cuckold him, thou dost thyself a pleasure, me a sport.’
Iago to Roderigo

‘Thus do I ever make my fool my purse:
For mine own gain’d knowledge should profane,
If I would time expend with such a snipe.
But for my sport and profit. I hate the Moor;
And it is thought abroad, that ‘twixt my sheets
He has done my office: I know not if’t be true;
But I, for mere suspicion in the kind,
Will do for surety. He holds me well;
The better shall my purpose work on him.
Cassio’s a proper man: let me see now:
To get his place and to plume up my will
In double knavery – How, how? Let’s see –
After some time, to abuse Othello’s ear
That he is too familiar with his wife.
He hath a person and a smooth dispose
To be suspected, framed to make women false. The
Moor is of a free and open nature,
That thinks men honest that but seem to be so,
And will as tenderly by led by the nose
As asses are.
I have’t. It is engender’d. Hell and night
Must bring this monstrous birth to the world’s light.’
Iago – soliloquy