Introduction & Overview of Othello

This Study Guide consists of approximately 151 pages of chapter summaries, quotes, character analysis, themes, and more - everything you need to sharpen your knowledge of Othello.
This section contains 228 words
(approx. 1 page at 400 words per page)
Buy the Othello Study Guide

Othello Summary & Study Guide Description

Othello Summary & Study Guide includes comprehensive information and analysis to help you understand the book. This study guide contains the following sections:

This detailed literature summary also contains Sources for Further Study and a Free Quiz on Othello by William Shakespeare.

Othello is unique among Shakespeare's great tragedies. Unlike Hamlet, King Lear, and Macbeth, which are set against a backdrop of affairs of state and which reverberate with suggestions of universal human concerns, Othello is set in a private world and focuses on the passions and personal lives of its major figures. Indeed, it has often been described as a "tragedy of character"; Othello's swift descent into jealousy and rage and Iago's dazzling display of villainy have long fascinated students and critics of the play. The relationship between these characters is another unusual feature of Othello. With two such prominent characters so closely associated, determining which is the central figure in the play and which bears the greater responsibility for the tragedy is difficult. Written in 1604, Othello is one of Shakespeare's most highly concentrated, tightly constructed tragedies, with no subplots and little humor to relieve the tension. Although he adapted the plot of his play from the sixteenth-century Italian dramatist and novelist Giraldi Cinthio's Gli Hecatommithi, Shakespeare related almost every incident directly to the development of Iago's schemes and Othello's escalating fears. This structure heightens the tragedy's omi nous mood and makes the threat to both Desdemona's innocence and the love she and Othello share more terrifying. Although narrow in scope, Othello, with its intimate domestic setting, is widely regarded as the most moving of Shakespeare's great tragedies.

Read more from the Study Guide

This section contains 228 words
(approx. 1 page at 400 words per page)
Buy the Othello Study Guide
Copyrights
Shakespeare for Students
Othello from Shakespeare for Students. ©2005-2006 Thomson Gale, a part of the Thomson Corporation. All rights reserved.