William Shakespeare's Othello text guide

Othello coverOthello is one of Shakespeare's great tragedies, a play about passionate love and villainous deception. By delving into this revenge drama, we encounter a world that seems distant but familiar - a cultural context that we're far removed from, but themes that we intuitively understand.

This text guide will help you understand the cultural context Shakespeare lived in, while giving you a new appreciation of the themes and imagery used, a deeper understanding of the characters, as well as helpful analysis.

William Shakespeare

William ShakespeareA prolific writer of plays and poems, Shakespeare became well-known in London around 1592. The theatre his had shares in, The Globe, staged many of his plays from 1598. Read more . . .

Context of Othello

Elizabethan IShakespeare was born in the 16th century, a century remembered for the English reformation and the ongoing struggle between Catholicism and Protestantism for dominance. Depending on the monarch, the population had to adapt to different rule and practices, or risk their lives. Read more . . .

Dive in to the Othello text guide

Synopses and commentary - Scene by scene synopsis, commentary and analysis of the entire play.

Characters in the play - Detailed analysis of all the main characters in Othello and their role in the overall plot.

Othello Timeline - Helpfully puts history, literary events and Shakespeare's life side by side so you can make sense of events.

Themes and significant ideas - research themes and significant ideas such as the ideas of jealousy, prejudice, appearance and deception.

How to do well in your essays

Decide what the key words of the question are, and underline them.

If you are asked to analyse an extract, read it through two or three times.

Do not adopt the first possible approach - be willing to dispute the terms of the question if you are given the opportunity.

Want more essay and exam tips?

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Free downloadable Othello work sheets, ready to be printed and used in class.


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