Othello Study Guide

Othello by William Shakespeare is an outstanding piece of literature. Written in the 17th century, it still attracts readers from all around the globe. Othello, the Moor of Venice is performed in the theaters even today. This tragic story touches the viewers of different ages and nationalities. Othello is a play that doesn’t leave the audience indifferent.

Wondering what is the author’s fundamental idea? This Othello study guide will tell you that! See what characters, themes, and symbols appear in the text.

Othello Key Facts

Full Name Othello, the Moor of Venice
Author William Shakespeare
Genre Tragedy
Date of Publishing 1622
Setting (Time) The second half of the 16th century
Setting (Place) Venice, Cyprus, Mediterranean Sea

Othello Articles

Othello: Summary & Analysis

An English writer William Shakespeare is one of the most significant figures in world literature. His famous play Othello, the Moor of Venice, attracts millions of readers throughout the globe.

Othello: Characters

Are you confused because of the numerous Othello characters? Do you need to analyze their personality types and investigate their role in the play? We have good news for you! Our team created the list of characters for you to dive deep into the world of…

Othello: Themes

Do you know what is crucial for a deep understanding of Othello? The themes! And Shakespeare has a lot to offer. So, this page contains the major themes in Othello. Explore them with us and become an expert in Shakespeare’s art.

Othello: Symbols

Do you want to understand all the aspects of Othello? The symbols can help you with that! In his play, Shakespeare includes various symbols that help him to deliver his message to the reader. Our team prepared a detailed analysis of imagery and symbols in…

Othello: Essay Topics & Samples

Do you need to compose an essay on Othello? Are you unsure of your writing skills? Don’t stress out! You are on the right page! Here, you can find compelling Othello essay topics, insightful prompts, and useful examples. So, check out our ideas and be…

Historical Context of Othello

While getting familiar with the play, the readers see a dramatic love story of Othello and Desdemona. However, there is a rich historical background behind the tragedy that must be considered for a deeper understanding of the book.

Othello is an influential piece of art because it brings both cultural and historical value. The play depicts the political tension between the representatives of European and non-European members that occurred in the Elizabethan Era. During that period, black-skinned people were considered inferior. Shakespeare introduces the Moorish protagonist to highlight the issue of racial prejudice in Elizabethan England.

A Muslim/Arab/African person, or in general, non-white and non-Cristian, is a typical Moor definition. Othello, however, is a noble military leader of the Republic of Venice with a Cristian background. His controversial status in society makes the readers focus on the theme of racial discrimination and injustice.

Othello’s time period covers a major historical event – the Ottoman-Venetian War of 1570-1573 (also known as the War of Cyprus). The historians claim that Cyprus had been under the rule of Venice since 1489. It was located in the middle of the Ottoman empire. Thus, Turks aimed to invade the island.

According to historical criticism, Othello twists the facts. In reality, Turks won the war. Yet, Shakespeare gives a win to Othello, the Moor of Venice, to make him more heroic and noble.

There is an impressive number of versions that explain Othello’s historical context. Many scholars believe that Shakespeare took the Ottoman-Venetian War as a basis of the play to suit King James’s interest in Turkish history. Overall, there are still many secrets hidden behind Othello. So, the book is indeed worth reading!

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