Othello overview

Reading points: some matters to consider as you read:

Shakespeare's portrayal of the "other": Othello as an outsider.

As with Hamlet, illusion in conflict with reality: what seems to be vs. objective "truth."  Misperception vs. intentional deception.  Rampant irony!

Two different types of women: Desdemona vs. Emilia.

Shakespeare's commentary upon love: comparison with love in the comedies.

Iago's motivation: jealousy/envy vs. pure outright evil?

Iago's effectiveness as a villain: Iago as a masterful manipulator.

 Shakespeare's portrayal of jealousy, "the green-eyed monster."

 A different kind of revenge tragedy: comparison/contrast with Hamlet.

Othello as an Aristotelian tragedy: Othello as a model tragic hero, hamartia, or tragic flaw and all; also recognition and catharsis.

Thematic significance in scenes of comic relief: connections between adjacent scenes.

The question of how much we identify or sympathize with Othello.

 Culpability: how responsible is Othello for his own downfall?