William Shakespeare, Othello
Lesson plans and other teaching resources

For introductory, background and other resources, try Shakespeare and the Elizabethan Age. For links to other plays, try the Shakespeare Main Page.

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Othello E-Notes Lesson Plan
Introductory lecture, scene-by-scene lesson plans, essay and discussion questions, assessments. Also available: puzzle pack, response journal, activity pack, more.

Teacher Guide to The Tragedy of The Tragedy of Othello, the Moor of Venice by William Shakespeare
How might students use storyboards to demonstrate and to extend their learning? Check the resources here. Includes plot diagram and summary, essential questions, character maps, Aristotelian elements of the tragic hero, themes, motifs and symbols, conflict analysis, vocabulary, more. Note: Storyboard That helps sponsor this site.

60-Second Shakespeare
On this page, a tabloid-style summary of the play from the BBC. Follow links to learn how your students can produce something similar.

CliffsNotes Othello video
The play in a 7-minute cartoon updated for contemporary audiences. Includes introduction of major themes. A great pre-reading activity!

A Cultural Context for Othello
This essay provides background information.

"Divinity of hell!": Soliloquies, Cutting and Computers
In this standards-based, technology-integrated lesson, students work with soliloquy to understand a character and the power of language.

Fear and Loathing in Othello
In this standards-based lesson, students use The History and Description of Africa by Leo Africanus to understand attitudes about Africans in Elizabethan England.

"How to choose a good Wife from a bad...": Were Othello and Desdemona doomed from the start?
After reading the play, students examine Alexander Niccholes's 1615 book, "A discourse, of marriage and wiving: and of the greatest Mystery therin contained: How to choose a good Wife from a bad...." They discuss the relationship from the perspective of the time.

Images of Othello: A Shakespearean WebQuest
Students examine the text of the play, then use online resources to see what Othello has looked like in previous productions. They write an essay explaining the type of actor who should play Othello today. Adobe Reader or compatible application required for access to the handout.

Investigating Othello: Peeling Away Layers of Meaning
In this standards-based lesson, students explore how issues are connected throughout the play. Issues include the pathology of the evil person, how militarism affects characters and events, the role of racism throughout the play, the treatment of women, how colonialism affects characters and events, and building and destroying reputations in the play.

MTV Othello
Students dramatize Desdemona's "Willow Song" to "recognize how music and lyrics contribute to the mood and meaning of a scene."

"O, I have lost my reputation:" Why Reputation Matters in Othello
In this simple activity students explore the importance of reputation in order to better understand plot and theme.

Teaching guide, including summary, prereading, discussion questions, journal prompts, analysis and suggestions for performance, bibliography. This extensive teaching guide requires Adobe Reader or compatible application for access.

Reading strategies, including an anticipation guide, a biopoem, and a writing task.

Background, suggestions for writing about the play, and extensive analysis. Scroll to the bottom for sample essay questions.

Othello, the Moor of Venice
Plot summary, themes, discussion of irony, essay topics, more.

Othello: ExxonMobil Masterpiece Theatre
Support materials for the updated version by Andrew Davies, set in London and featuring "New Scotland Yard in the era of race riots, neo-Nazis, and political spin." Scroll down for a link to teaching materials and other resources.

Othello's Father of the Bride
Students analyze the character of Brabantio by examining his reaction to Desdemona's marriage to Othello.

Othello Paraphrasing Worksheet
Students practice putting Shakespearean language into their own words. Designed for grades 5-8. 77 pages; word processor required. Consider using the document digitally or downloading it and printing only what students will use.

Othello vocabulary:

Words are presented in context and with definitions. Click on a word for pronunciation, synonyms, more.

Shakespeare's Othello and the Power of Language
Students explore the relationship between Iago's use of language and his ability to manipulate others. This unit includes short group performances, writing exercises, and the guided use of online dictionaries and concordances to study Shakespeare's language.

A Teacher's Guide for The Merchant of Venice and Othello
Plot summary, pre-viewing activities, essay "On Race and Religion" and supporting activities, and a discussion of the difference a camera angle can make. These materials are provided by PBS as part of the ExxonMobil Masterpiece Theatre series.

That's Moor Like It!
Using resources available online from the New York Times, "students focus on the play Othello and its screen adaptation O to explore how modern adaptations of Shakespeare have the potential to both enhance the original text and detract from its meaning."

The Trial of Iago: "To you. . . remains the censure of this hellish villain"
In this standards-based lesson, students "analyze text and utilize outside resources to determine Iago's fate, which is not addressed by Shakespeare in the play. They will then present their findings in an organized "trial" scenario."

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