Othello Possible Coursework Questions
1. Discuss Shakespeare's presentation of Othello as a tragic hero.
2. Some commentators have claimed that the character of Othello is not admirable enough to be a tragic hero. Examine two or three key episodes in the play and discuss whether you agree with this viewpoint.
3. Desdemona is sometimes played as a passive sacrificial victim at other times she is portrayed as a more active and self-willed character. Write about how Shakespeare presents her character and consider her role in the development of the tragedy.
4. To what extent does Shakespeare present Othello as an isolated tragic hero in Act 4, Scene 1?
5. To what extent does Shakespeare present Othello as a tragic victim in Act 5, Scene 2?
6. Read Iago's soliloquy 'Thus do I ever make my fool my purse' in Act 1, Scene 3. Using this as a starting point, consider how Shakespeare ensures that the audience of Othello is fascinated by the skill of Iago as a tragic villain?
7. To what extent is Iago presented by Shakespeare as a tragic villain without any redeeming features?
Focus your discussion on a close exploration of two or three episodes in the play.
8. 'Tragedy is the art form created to confront the most difficult experiences we face: death, loss, injustice, thwarted passion, despair' (Wallace)
How does Shakespeare present these tragic elements within Othello.
9. Consider the significance of the minor characters in developing the tragedy of Othello.
10. Identify two different critical views on an aspect of the Shakespeare tragedy you are studying. Negotiate a title with your teacher that allows you to consider these views and offer your own interpretation.
11. How are aspects of disorder developed in Othello?
12. The disorder of society is matched by the mental disorder of the tragic hero. To what extent is this true of Othello?...