Fast Othello Inclass Essay Prompts

Prompt 1. Works of literature often depict acts of betrayal. Friends and even family may betray a protagonist; main characters may likewise be guilty of treachery or may betray their own values. Select a novel or play that includes such acts of betrayal. Then, in a well-written essay, analyze the nature of the betrayal and show how it contributes to the meaning of the work as a whole. Through his betrayal, Iago destroys the lives of others in order to ruin Othello’s reputation and better his own.
Prompt: Critic Roland Barthes has said, “Literature is the question minus the answer.” Choose a novel, or play, and, considering Barthes’ observation, write an essay in which you analyze a central question the work raises and the extent to which it offers answers. Explain how the author’s treatment of this question affects your understanding of the work as a whole. Avoid mere plot summary. Thesis: Iago’s motivation to seek revenge on Othello is not only based on the obvious points given in the play, but in the hidden truths that lie behind Iago’s character.
The most important themes in literature are sometimes developed in scenes in which a death or deaths take place. Choose a novel or play and write a well-organized essay in which you show how a specific death scene helps to illuminate the meaning of the work as a whole. Avoid mere plot summary. The death of desdemona illuminates the meaning of the play by enhancing the pureness of desdemona, dishonesty in Iago, and naive elements in Othello.
4. Writers often highlight the values of a culture or a society by using characters who are alienated from that culture or society because of gender, race, class, or creed. Choose a novel or a play in which such a character plays a significant role and show how that character’s alienation reveals the surrounding society’s assumptions or moral values. Thesis: Othello’s inner visage exemplifies that Venice’s values are molded by what is most convenient for the state and their belief of Venetian supremacy.
In a novel or play, a confidant (male) or a confidante (female) is a character, often a friend or relative of the hero or heroine, whose role is to be present when the hero or heroine needs a sympathetic listener to confide in. Frequently the result is, as Henry James remarked, that the confidant or confidante can be as much “the reader’s friend as the protagonist’s.” However, the author sometimes uses this character for other purposes as well. Choose a confidant or confidante from a novel or play of recognized literary merit and write an essay in which you discuss the various ways this character functions in the work. In Othello, Shakespeare expresses the theme of perception versus reality through Iago’s position as Othello’s confidant and mortal enemy; thus, displaying that trust can be used for one’s own gain
Prompt 6 Choose a distinguished novel or play in which some of the most significant events are mental or psychological; for example, awakenings, discoveries, changes in consciousness. In a well-organized essay, describe how the author manages to give these internal events the sense of excitement, suspense, and climax usually associated with external action. Do not merely summarize the plot. thesis statement: In Shakespeare’s Othello, Othello originally denies the Venetian opinion of him, but as jealousy and distrust grow within him his psyche transforms to reflect the Moor people accused him of being.
Choose a complex and important character in a novel or a play of recognized literary merit who might on the basis of the character’s actions alone be considered evil or immoral. In a well-organized essay, explain both how and why the full presentation of the character in the work makes us react more sympathetically than we otherwise might. Avoid plot summary. Thesis: In Shakespeare’s Othello, while murdering Desdemona is an evil action, Othello is easily sympathized with because of Iago’s manipulation and Othello’s status as an outsider.