Othello Literary Guide

Title: Othello

Author: William Shakespeare

Genre: Play (Tragedy)

Publication Date: 1622

Overview

Othello, also known as The Tragedy of Othello, The Moor of Venice, is a famous tragedy written by William Shakespeare, the preeminent English playwright of the Elizabethan Era. The play is believed to have been written in 1603 or 1604; some claim that the play could have been written in 1602. On October 6, 1621, Thomas Walkley entered the play in the Register of the Stationers Company. Walkley then published Othello in quarto format in 1622, one year prior to the publication of the First Folio of Shakespeare’s collected plays.

Othello, one of Shakespeare’s most well-structured plays, is a tale of contention: it focuses on the tussle between order and moral relativity in the human heart or spirit. The character of Iago in the play, who many regard as one of the finest Shakespearean villains, sees human life mainly as a composite of desire, pragmatism, and lust. In his view, human life has little to do with matters of the heart. Throughout the play, the human heart, so to speak, is shaped by human affairs and follies. Accordingly, the play focuses on the heart’s elations and travails.

A good representation of interpersonal relationships and interactions, Othello remains relatable and relevant. The central ideas of honor, race, deceit, dishonesty, jealousy, and justice transcend time and culture.

Othello Biography

Othello Background

Othello Characters

Othello Summary and Analysis

Othello Themes

Othello Quotes

Othello Discussion Questions

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