Compose a formal essay one of the prompts or research questions listed below.

  • Examine the role of jealousy, love, and/or betrayal in the play. You may want to choose only one character and only one issue.
  • Examine the character and motivation of Iago. Why does he hate Othello so much?
  • Explore the character of Desdemona. What does she represent in the play?
  • Examine the female characters in the play. Do these characters provide an accurate representation of women in general? You may want to choose only one female character.
  • Consider the role of the handkerchief. How can such a small piece of cloth cause so much trouble? Is it realistic that this small cloth can cause so much destruction?
  • Examine the relationship between Emilia and Iago and/or Desdemona and Othello. Compare and Contrast the couple’s views on love, hate, and marriage.
  • Compare and contrast the issue of loyalty in the play. You may want to focus on one character’s interpretation or misinterpretation of loyalty.
  • Consider the warning from Desdemona’s father, Brabantino, to Othello in Act one. Does this warning foreshadow the events to come? Prove your claims.
  • Examine the role of the setting and/or geography in Othello.
  • Explore the issue of racism toward Othello. You may want to choose one character’s racial discrimination toward Othello.
  • It has been argued that Othello is accessible to modern readers today because of certain issues, such as racism/prejudice, love, betrayal, and jealousy. Pick one issue and argue why it is accessible for modern readers.
  • The main characters of this play are in fact Iago and Othello. However, it has been argued that Iago serves as the protagonist of the play instead of Othello. Choose either Iago or Othello as the protagonist and argue your reasoning.
  • Emilia’s role is extremely significant for the resolution of the plot. How does Emilia’s character change from stealing the handkerchief, a dishonest deed, to telling the truth about her own husband’s deceit while also implicating her as well?
  • Roderigo is seen as the gullible, wealthy character of the play. Does Roderigo’s character change throughout the play as he becomes aware of Iago’s deceit?
  • Michael Cassio is a character who knows the importance of reputation. How does his role in Othello support his claims that reputation is everything to him?


  • Typed in the basic MLA format
  • 2 scholarly sources as well as the primary source
  • Annotated Bibliography Due Friday, April 19th
  • Includes a Works Cited page
  • 1500-200 words in length
  • Submit to the turnitin tab provided in Canvas
  • Due by 11:59pm on Sunday, April 26th


10% Introduction: The student establishes the importance of the literary theme or topic being analyzed in his/her opening paragraph. The essay uses an anecdote or some research to demonstrate why the chosen subject is significant to the primary text being analyzed. The introduction insists on the need to redefine the issue.

15% Thesis: You state in 1-2 sentences your main idea. The thesis is the culmination of your introduction. The thesis asserts a clear and coherent interpretation of the selected topic.

15% Organization and Development: On a paragraph-by-paragraph basis, the essay uses transition devices and topic sentences to remind the readers of the basic thesis being argued throughout the essay. Each paragraph demonstrates a proficiency with literary analysis by explaining cited passages. Secondary sources (research) are cited to support the student’s thesis, or as a contrast to it. Each paragraph is well developed.

15% Research: The essay employs a combination of secondary sources from the Troy University library catalogue and databases to demonstrate knowledge of existing criticism on the chosen theme or topic in the work selected.

15% MLA Formatting and Works Cited: The essay demonstrates proficiency with the use of the parentheses to designate the page of the cited quote from either the primary or secondary source (Act. Scene. Line), recognizing that MLA does not make use of “p.” or “pg.” The student demonstrates knowledge of when and when not to include the author’s last name within the parenthesis. The Works Cited page demonstrates a commitment to the proper MLA formatting procedures.

10% Conclusion: The student has incorporated a clear conclusion that goes beyond simply summarizing the topic to include the potential implications of their analysis.

20% Grammar and Mechanics: Your paper avoids basic grammar mistakes, such as fragments, comma splices, fused sentences, dropped apostrophes in possessives, subject/verb agreement, arbitrary tense switches, etc. The paper demonstrates a commitment to proofreading by avoiding easy-to-catch typos and word mistakes (effect for affect, for example). The mistakes from the first series of essays in the class should disappear on this last essay.


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