Othello: Essay Topics
1) Some have said that the focus of Othello is not the title character, as is the case with Shakespeare's other great tragedies, Macbeth, King Lear, and Hamlet. Is Othello simply too one-dimensional to be considered a great tragic hero? Does his seemingly unrealistic gullibility lessen our interest in him and his suffering?
2) Why does Othello not investigate Iago's accusations? Why does Othello not seek his own proof of Desdemona's betrayal?
3) Samuel Taylor Coleridge once wrote that Iago's soliloquies are the "motive-hunting of motiveless malignity." Is this an accurate observation? Does Iago have a motive or motives for his hatred of Othello?
4) Explore the character of Desdemona. What does she represent in the play?
5) If you read the play closely you will see that not enough time could have elapsed on Cyprus for Desdemona to have committed adultery. Examine the problem of time in Othello and the possible dramatic reasons behind this unrealistic passage of time.
6) Discuss Othello's relationship with Desdemona. Does he truly love her?
7) Examine the female characters in the play. Do they share a common role in Othello?
8) Explore the issue of racism in Othello and relate it to the problems of racial hatred in Elizabethan England.
Daily Life in Shakespeare's London
Life in Stratford (structures and guilds)
Life in Stratford (trades, laws, furniture, hygiene)
Stratford School Days: What Did Shakespeare Read?
Games in Shakespeare's England [A-L]
Games in Shakespeare's England [M-Z]
An Elizabethan Christmas
Clothing in Elizabethan England
Queen Elizabeth: Shakespeare's Patron
King James I of England: Shakespeare's Patron
The Earl of Southampton: Shakespeare's Patron
Going to a Play in Elizabethan London
Ben Jonson and the Decline of the Drama
Publishing in Elizabethan England
Religion in Shakespeare's England
Alchemy and Astrology in Shakespeare's Day
Entertainment in Elizabethan England
London's First Public Playhouse
Shakespeare Hits the Big Time
Research Your Topic
Othello: Complete Explanatory Notes
Aesthetic Examination Questions on Othello
Shakespeare's Iago Compared with the Original
The Character and Motives of Iago
The Suffering and Murder of Desdemona
Desdemona's Dying Assertion
Othello as Tragic Hero
Stage History of Othello
Othello: Plot Summary
Iago's Power Over Othello
The Moral Enigma of Shakespeare's Othello
Othello: Q & A
Quotes from Othello
How to Pronounce the Names in Othello
Iago Character Introduction
Othello Character Introduction
Desdemona Character Introduction
Othello's Suicide and Morality
The Relationship Between Iago and Emilia
Iago and Roderigo
Roderigo, Emilia and Shakespeare's Secondary Characters
Shakespeare's Use of Introductory Scenes
The Play of Othello as a Whole: Its Rank Among Shakespeare's
Iago's Motives: The Relationship Between Othello and Iago
The Problem of Time in Othello
Shakespeare and Race: The Relationship Between Othello and Desdemona
Shakespeare's Sources for Othello
What is Tragic Irony?
Seneca's Tragedies and the Elizabethan Drama
Characteristics of Elizabethan Drama