Explain how the paradoxes contribute to the conclusion of the play.

Please write a 5+ paragraph response to one of the following prompts. Be sure to organize your essay clearly (including an introduction, body paragraphs and a conclusion) and use multiple specific details (including quotations) from the text in order to support your argument. A high quality response will have a clear and arguable thesis, use important quotes from the play with necessary context, and follow MLA format for citation.

Prompt Questions (pick one)

1. Othello is often identified as a revenge tragedy. Discuss revenge as a theme in this play.

2. Reputation is a key concept in this play. Analyze how the reputation of a select character or characters is essential to the plot and/or subplots of the play.

3. Aristotle defines tragedy as the tale of a person of noble birth who, by the action of his own tragic flaw, brings about his own downfall. Defend or refute that Othello is a tragedy in the classical tradition.

4. Analyze Othello’s final speech (5.2.397-417) for examples of paradox. Explain how the paradoxes contribute to the conclusion of the play.

5. Discuss Iago, his motivations, machinations, and ethics/ morality. Is he purely evil as so many critics have argued, or is there something more to his case than good versus evil?  

6. There are many foils in this play. Nearly every character has one. Take a pair, such as Iago/ Othello, Emilia/ Desdemona, etc., and analyze the form and function of a foil in the play.

7. Looking at Desdemona, Emilia, and Bianca as a group, discuss how these three women represent a “spectrum of women’s roles/identities” for Shakespeare’s contemporary audience.