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The tragedy of Otello analysis

he assignment will require a structural analysis of William Shakespeare’s tragedy, Othello, first in terms of race and then of gender, with certain restrictions to be explained shortly.

Introduction: Summarize how the play is a tragedy, as defined in Aristotle’s Poetics, noting the moments of peripeteia and anagnorisis. Summarize enough of the play in the introduction to set up the analysis, but keep it brief, no more than two pages.

Thesis: Transition from the summary of Shakespeare’s tragedy to the thesis by answering the following question:

As a tragedy, how does Othello display the structural binaries of race (colonialism) and gender in the characters of Brabantio and Othello and Iago and Emilia, respectively?

Thus, an outline of the body parts of your paper will first consider race issues (or colonialism) in terms of Brabantio and Othello, and then consider gender in terms of Iago and Emilia. You will have to explain the characters first and their relations to one another, and then find passages in the play from each to illustrate these binary opposites. Again, quote and cite appropriately.

In the first body part of your essay, focus on how race or “other” backgrounds impact the community’s treatment of Othello and his “outsider” status. You may consider how Brabantio view Othello as inferior, despite his military heroism. Remember that structural binary opposition always considers one side as “better” than the other; hence, the Eurocentric prejudice (in this case, Italian or Venetian) over non-European ethnic groups (African, Arabs, Turks, etc.).

In the second body part of your essay, argue the impact of gender differences within the relationship between Iago and Emilia. Consider how the two genders here (male and female) view one another and themselves. How are these stereotypes supported and/or challenged in the play?

Conclusion: Compare these perspectives on race and gender to current perspectives of racism, xenophobia and sexism, to analyze the play’s cultural relevance. When commenting on current sentiments, give specific examples for support and not vague generalizations.

The following lessons will focus on Othello and these theories of structuralism, race/colonialism and gender studies, so make sure to review them thoroughly. If you are having difficulties with how to approach this assignment, these lessons will greatly help

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