Act I, Scenes 1-3
1. Explain how Iago uses his power of persuasion with Roderigo, Brabantio, and Othello to create his scheme to undo the Moor.
2. Contrast what Iago says about Othello with what Othello reveals about himself through his own words.
Act II, Scenes 1-3
1. Verbal irony is a dramatic technique by which characters say the opposite of what they mean. Identify examples of verbal irony and explain the difference between what is said and what is meant.
2. In Act II, Iago’s scheme to undo Othello becomes more calculated and involves more victims. Explain the steps he takes to achieve his goal and how he traps his victims.
Act III, Scenes 1-4
1. Identify characters and incidents which provide comic relief as the drama intensifies.
2. Trace the significance of Desdemona’s handkerchief through Act III.
Act IV, Scenes 1-3
1. Describe the changes that occur in Othello during the course of Act IV as Iago increases his attempts to rouse Othello’s jealousy.
2. Defend or refute this statement: Emilia’s opinion about betrayal expresses a contemporary view of the relationship between the sexes.
Act V, Scenes 1-2
1. Describe the rapid series of events which bring about Othello’s demise.
2. Defend or refute this statement: Othello’s suicide is an honorable act.
10 great essay topics for Othello
William Shakespeare’s plays and sonnets have made him one of the most celebrated writers of all time. One of the most famous of these is the tale of Othello, the Moor, who is tricked into killing his wife by one of his jealous ‘friends’. The play is rich with themes that can be successfully explored. The following represent just a few.
Othello: Racism in Shakespearean England
Non-European characters are often written in ways that would hardly be considered politically correct in modern times. This essay can look int how that affected the character of Othello.
Desdemona: Tragic Heroine
Throughout the play, Othello’s wife is portrayed as the perfect subjective wife who remains loyal to the end and is killed as a result. The roles of women can be looked into in this essay.
Othello: The Murderous Moor as an archetypeThe idea that Othello could easily be provoked to rage and murder can be explored in terms of parallels with other modern stereotypes.
Othello and Desdemona: Romeo and Juliet by other names
Just as the other pair of ill fated start crossed lovers popularized by Shakespeare, Othello and Desdemona are unable to conquer the obstacles between them with love.
Othello: Blackface in early theatre
The character of Othello was historically played by a Caucasian actor wearing dark makeup to appear to disguise his race. This practice is not as common anymore but an essay can explain how actors of color were not always given opportunities in theater.
Deception and the Bard: Comparisons between Othello and A Midsummer Night’s dream
The tragedy that occurs in Othello is as a result of deception. This essay can explore how common that theme is in Shakespearean works.
The Dutiful Wife: Desdemona’s final words
Desdemona claims to have killed herself to free her husband from punishment. The depths of self sacrifice in female characters can be explored in this essay.
Redemption through death: How Othello’s suicide rectifies his crime
This essay can look at how Othello made amends for his homicide through suicide.
Historical reasons for the writing of Othello
Through research into Shakespeare’s England the reasons for this play can be examined.
Judas Characters: Why Othello needed Iago
This essay can look into the literary significance of characters like Iago that betray.
These essays can all be thoroughly explored by diligent students of literature.