Othello Presentations


Step up, scholars!  Here is your chance to teach your peers a section of Othello.  In pairs, you will need to read the whole scene and study your section in detail together to create a Googleslide presentation (collaborative work) – this will be set for homework over the weekend and you will have Monday’s lesson to double-check and refine your material.  In each class we will read a section of the text following which you will deliver a short concise analysis of the significance of the language used, the characters and their relationships and the themes developed in the text.  Examine the suggested text-related activities on the left hand side of your text book to help stimulate your analytical thinking.

Each presentation will be 10- 15 minutes long, based around several key points of enquiry which you and your partner decide upon (these questions will form the headings of your slides) and require the following format:

  1. STRUCTURE – outline the main plot elements; use of dramatic irony; foreshadowing, entrances and exits; dramatic devices.                                                              (1 slide)
  2. CHARACTERS – what we learn about the characters’ views and values and their relationships; diagrams may be helpful                                                           (up to 4 slides)
  3. THEMES – big ideas explored or developed in the scene                             (up to 4 slides)
  4. IMAGERY AND LANGUAGE – a slide on which there is a visual related to Shakespeare’s choice of language in the text. This can be used to stimulate the class to find the relevant quotation from the text                                                                                                                                                                                                                                (min 1 slide)

Every slide will contain at least one key quotation which is essential to understanding the nature of the scene.  Every slide will contain a key question as its heading.

You will be expected to answer questions from the class regarding any aspect of the text studied.

Maximum slides: 10

Presentations begin: Tuesday 7 March


ACT 2, Scene 1 Himasha and Pedro

ACT 2, Scene 3  Nathan and Zac

ACT 3, Scene 3 (Part 1, lines 0–259) Alex and Daniel X

ACT 3, Scene 3 (Part 2 lines270-end) Bernard and Lorenzo

ACT 3, Scene 4  Taha and Josh

Act 4, Scene 1   Part 1 (lines 1-161 Cassio’s exit) Memphis and Raph

Act 4, Scene 1 Part 2 (lines 162 – end) Finn and Corey

Act 4, Scene 2 (lines 1- 170 Desdemona and Emilia’s exit) [Ms Carroll to finish the scene. Daniel and Julian

Act 4, Scene 3 Stefan and Tim

Act 5, Scene 1  Oscar and Jeremy

Act 5, Scene 2 (Part 1 1- 234 the stabbing of Emilia) Cheuk and Raymond

Act 5, Scene 2 (part 2, 235-end) Noah and Billie

Othello as a Tragedy: examine the structure of tragedy and how the play presents Othello as a tragic hero. Harvey and Sriram

Critical Perspectives on Othello: examine the ways in which Othello may be interpreted by using two contrasting critical perspectives (your choice) from the list provided on page 222 of your texts.  Pick at least two scenes or dramatic moments from Othello and explain how they can be interpreted I a way that supports your selective reading. Andrew and Hao

How far have we come? Portrayals of race in on screen.

Watch this excerpt from the film Malcolm X, starring Denzel Washington, which shows a young Malcolm X being schooled in the meaning of black and white:

Here is South African comedian Trevor Noah, now presenter of The Daily Show, speaking about black and white matters…

Take your time to read through the information presented on the Venngage article: 6 Facts That Prove that The Oscars is More Racist Than You Think.

Read ‘How To Fix Hollywood’s Race Problem’ by Nadia and Leila Latif which gives an historical context to our understanding of the #HollywoodSoWhite hashtag.

Here is Aziz Ansari dealing with the notion of stereotypes:

Watch Aziz Ansari’s portrayal of Dev Shah in episode 4: Indians on TV from his ‘Master of None’ comedy series on Netflix.

Stereotypes and sexist language in Othello



Elizabethan and Jacobean society was patriarchal. Men were seen as superior in every way and had power and authority over women.  Fathers were seen as the heads of the house and decided when and to whom their daughters would marry.  They demanded total respect from wives and children.  They had legal control over their wife and her property.

Women were expected to be subservient.  Their virginity and chastity was prized and seen as essential to avoid disputes over inheritance.  A common stereotype was that women were naturally promiscuous and men feared that their wives would stray.  Without chastity a woman was seen as worthless.  A man could be mocked by society for being a ‘cuckhold’ if his wife had been unfaithful.

Women were seen to be create by God for two reasons: marriage and childbearing.  That said, there was an emphasis placed on the idea of women being seen as goddesses to be worshipped and adored and it was fashionable for young men to court women through the writing of love poems and the sending of gifts.

Other common stereotypes included the idea that women talk too much and that those who showed intelligence and independence were ‘curst’ and a burden on their fathers and husbands.



IAGO: “Nor the division of a battle knows more than a spinster…” (1.1.23-4)

OTHELLO: “Let housewives make a skillet of my helm…” (1.3.268)

IAGO: ” Ere I would say I would drown myself for the love of a guinea-hen, I would change my humanity with a baboon.” (1.3.309-10)


Machiavellian Machinations


In Machiavelli’s The Prince (1513) we can read about the political manoeuvring that is often defined as ‘Machiavellian’ – where the taking of political scalps (“the killing of innocents”) and dishonest and unscrupulous dealings are detailed as a necessary means to an end.

Iago is often put forward as an excellent example of a Machiavellian villain.

Othello: a political portrayal


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Although the play may not seem to be about politics, its presentation of Othello as black and older than Desdemona clearly raises crucial issues of race, age and culture.  In the 20th century the play proved a significant symbol in the struggle for black emancipation.  A long running American production in 1943 included the first ever kiss on stage between a black man and a white woman.  All later productions in America commented with varying directness on the Civil Rights movement for equality between races.


The 1987 production of Othello at the Market Theatre, Johannesburg, with John Kani playing Othello and Joanna Weinberg as Desdemona.

Similarly, in South Africa, a famous production at the Market Theatre, Johannesburg became a potent focus for the anti-apartheid campaign.  Iago was portrayed as an intolerant Afrikaaner and Othello was played by a township black.  Today fierce debate rages as to whether only a black man should play Othello.  A 1999 production in Washington found a solution by casting a white actor as Othello and having every other character played by black actors.

(source: p. 51, Shakespearean and Jacobean Tragedy by Rex Gibson, 2000)

Take the time to look at how Othello has been cast over time here.