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20 Othello Essay Topics

Othello is, perhaps, one of the most complex and controversial plays written by the famous poet, writer, actor, and playwright William Shakespeare. Writing an analytical essay on his play can be as difficult as reading the play itself. This is why we have prepared this three-in-one guide for you. By using it you will actually learn the easiest and fastest way to compose your analytical essay on Othello.

In this second guide, we have gathered 20 Othello essay topics that are going to help you start writing immediately. We have also included a sample essay which will help you understand how to write an essay, and will be a good starting point for your own topic.

Without further ado, here they are:

  1. Should Othello be considered a Tragic Hero or a Guilty Murderer?
  2. Why is it that Iago’s Accusations Are Not Initially Сonfirmed by Othello?
  3. What Were Othello’s Real Motives?
  4. What Was the Real Reason that Led Othello to Kill His Wife?
  5. Othello’s Relationship with Desdemona: An Analytical Essay on Love Versus Lust
  6. The Motives of Shakespeare in the Play: Racism or Feminism?
  7. How Did Iago Defeat Othello Despite Othello’s Deep Love to His Wife?
  8. Why Did Shakespeare Add His Own Character – Roderigo?
  9. What Is the Role of Verbal Communication in the Play Othello by William Shakespeare?
  10. What Does Desdemona Represent in the Play, Written by William Shakespeare?
  11. A Thorough Analysis on the Female Characters and Their Common Traits in Othello by William Shakespeare
  12. In What Way Does Othello’s and Iago’s Jealousy Correlate with Each Other?
  13. How is Iago/Emilia’s Marriage Similar to Othello/Desdemona’s Marriage?
  14. A Comparison on Emilia’s and Desdemona’s View on Love, Sex, Men, and Marriage
  15. Why Othello Was Played by a White Man with a Blackface?
  16. Why Othello is Considered as One of Shakespeare’s Most Relevant and Controversial Plays?
  17. Othello’s Tragic Flaw which Caused Him to be Defeated by Iago
  18. The Four Important Monologues in Othello: What is Their Role and Meaning?
  19. A Critical Analysis on Othello’s Character in Act I and in Acts from II to V
  20. The Real Motives of Iago in Othello

But before you start writing, we also recommend you to have a thorough look at our final guide, how to write a killer analytical essay on Othello, which is a perfect manual that’ll help you compose a stellar and sublime analytical essay which would definitely be admired by your teacher, professor or instructor.

Here it is:

A Sample Essay on The Four Important Soliloquies in Othello: What are they and What Do They Mean?

William Shakespeare, the greatest playwright, writer, actor and poet of all time, has always used soliloquies in his plays. There is only slight difference between soliloquies and monologues, and mostly these terms are interchangeable. In fact, if making the content analysis of Shakespeare’s plays, it is evident that he is fond of using soliloquies. Arguably, this preference came out of the desire and necessity to emphasize the inner thoughts that have  been lurking in his character’s minds, thus, giving the audience an insight into some crucial information. In simple words, you’ll find several soliloquies in Othello, because they helped Shakespeare develop and drive the plot and the character accordingly.

For example, when Iago pronounces words such as “I am not what I am”, it displays the honesty of the character, it helps to underline the complexity of his figure in this play, and to provoke broader understanding of the dramatic dilemma.

In Act I, Scene iii and Act II, Scene I, it can easily be seen what Iago’s self-interest is and how the misinterpretation of circumstances has led him to the decision about the necessity of revenge, and finally to almost clinical obsession. These soliloquies reveal Iago’s intentions, and overwhelming desire to take revenge by manipulating Othello and taking advantage of Othello’s open nature.

In Act I, Scene iii, 393, the soliloquy “I know his trumpet” delivered by Iago where “his” relates to Othello, clarifies that Iago knows the weak points of Othello, and he intends to use his jealousy against Othello himself. He does this by misleading Othello about his Desdemona having an affair with Cassio, a noble lieutenant under Othello’s command and a friend of Desdemona. As the story plays along, the audience realizes that Lago is relishing his satisfaction for revenge, which can be seen in his soliloquy in Act II, Scene iii. In this soliloquy, the audience then gets to know Iago’s developing plan and how easily it has been for him to use Cassio and Roderigo for his wicked avail.

In Act III, Scene iii; we can see how Othello has been crippled by Iago’s deceit when he uses the soliloquy, “for I am black,” which shows his insecurities and doubts. Listening to this dramatic speech,  we can see that Othello struggles over his faith in his wife, Desdemona.

In Act V, Scene ii, it can be clearly perceived how Iago’s deception has led Othello to believing that his wife has been having an affair with Cassio behind his back. The idea of being deceived was so striking that Othello decided to kill the love of his life. .Verbally, in the “betray more men” soliloquy, Othello explains his decision not with the allusions to his love or pain, but with the intention to prevent Desdemona from deceiving other man. Till now there are hot discussions around the honesty of those claims.

However, in the last soliloquies, “so sweet was ne’er so fatal” and “oculus proof”, it is confirmed that Othello has been defeated by the over-riding effects and misleading manipulation of Lago. Shakespeare, known for his soliloquies, uses them to ensure that the audience knows what’s going on with the plot and to keep them informed about the character’s intention, which is what has made his plays so interesting to read.

Without the use of these soliloquies, it would have been almost impossible to let the audience know what’s happening inside of the tragic hero’s’ soul, without disrupting the characters or play.

By now, you must have pretty good idea on how you should get started, choosing one of ten facts for analytical paper on Othello, and how an analytical essay on Othello should be composed. But of course, you don’t want to write some mediocre paper, you want to write something that can catch the attention of your professor or teacher, and leave him astonished. If that’s the case, then let’s head on to our third guide on how to write a killer essay on Othello right away.

References:

  1. Bhattacharyya, J. (2006). William Shakespeare’s Othello. Atlantic Publishers & Dist.
  2. Shakespeare, W. (2003). The new Cambridge Shakespeare. Othello. N. Sanders (Ed.). Cambridge University Press.
  3. Hadfield, A. (Ed.). (2005). William Shakespeare’s Othello: A Routledge Study Guide and Sourcebook. Routledge.
  4. Howard, J. E., & O’Connor, M. F. (2013). Shakespeare reproduced: the text in history and ideology. Routledge.
  5. Potter, Lois (2002). Othello:Shakespeare in performance. Manchester University Press. p. 12.
  6. Clemen, W. (2004). Shakespeare’s soliloquies (Vol. 6). Psychology Press.
  7. Bullough, G. (1973). Narrative and Dramatic Sources of Shakespeare’s: Major tragedies. Hamlet, Othello, King Lear, Macbeth. Volume VII (Vol. 7). Columbia University Press.
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