Othello In-Class Essay and Group Project

I. In-Class Essay

Write about what Othello means to you. It’s an in-class essay, so choose a theme wisely. Be sure to talk about the play. You could talk about the theme of love, hate, or jealousy. Do you relate to a character? Do you empathize or hate any of the characters? Does Bianca’s innocence drive you nuts? What about Iago? Can you empathize with him? Did he go too far? What about Othello’s insecurity? Why was he so quick to believe Iago?

Write about what issue, theme, or character stood out to you. Remember to write about the play. You do not need to cite any references.

The paper is an in-class essay, so please have your Blue Book when you come to class. You may have an outline, but that is all

MLA style

Please have an intro, at least on body paragraph, and a conclusion.

Make sure your thesis is in your intro.

Please look at my Essay Evaluation sheet on my website to see how I grade papers. Here is the link: http://iws.collin.edu/ecardona/ESSAY_GRADING_CRITERIA.html

Paper should be free of grammatical errors and written in proper English language.

Penalties for Papers:

The in-class essay will be written on the day it is assigned in class. If you are absent on the day of the in-class essay, then you can take the in-class essay exam the next class period with five points deducted from your paper grade. If you do not write your in-class essay at the next class period, then you earn a “0” on your final paper grade. I will not take emailed papers.

Helpful Info on Othello

Summary: http://www.shmoop.com/othello/

Complete Play: http://shakespeare.mit.edu/othello/index.html

II. Group Project

Choose one of the following topics for a ten-minute presentation. You can use props like posters, power points and videos. Make sure that everyone has an active role in the presentation. Have fun with your presentation and be creative.


1. Examine the role of jealousy, love, or betrayal in the play. You can focus on all three or just one theme.

2. It has been argued that Othello is accessible to us today because of the issues of racism, love, betrayal, and jealousy. Pick one or maybe two themes and explain why Othello is accessible to us.

3. Examine the role of women in the play. Are they passive or direct or obedient or strong?

4. Consider the warning of Desdemona’s father to Othello, and Othello’s response. Are the responses a foreshadowing of what is to come and Othello’s ultimate fate? Explain.

5. Consider the role of the handkerchief. How in the world can a small piece of cloth cause so much trouble?

6. Honest Iago tends to be like a “toxic friend.” Explain.

7. Why is Othello so quick to believe Iago? Does he truly love Desdemona?

8. Examine the role of love. Do these people really love each other?

9. Is Iago really the devil? You could have some fun with this topic.

10. Examine the role of Emilia. She is the “undoing” of Iago through her honesty. Was she right to betray her husband for her lady? Whom did she serve? Does she redeem herself in the end for stealing the handkerchief or did she get what she deserved for betraying her lady in the first place? Or did she betray her lady or duly serve her husband? Consider these questions in your answer.

11. If you feel strong about a topic that is not listed, come see me for discussion and approval.

What to Turn In:

A one-page typed report from each person on what you did for the group. Did you take notes? How did you contribute? What did you research? Did you do anything or did you end up doing it all? If by chance, someone is not pulling his/her weight, please let me know in the report. It’s your report, so please let me know how the group worked together and if there were any issues. Please have the report typed, MLA style, and free from grammar mistakes and typographical errors. Please write in proper English language.

Penalties for Groups:

If someone from your group is not there for the presentation, then that person will be docked 5 points from the final assignment and will have to present the

topic on his/her own during the next class. If that student is not able present the late assignment, then that student will receive a “0” for the presentation part of the assignment.

Helpful Info on Othello

Summary: http://www.shmoop.com/othello/

Complete Play: http://shakespeare.mit.edu/othello/index.html