Suggested Essay Topics
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.