Write a critical analysis of Othello. Focus on a particular theme or motif. Anchor your discussion and analysis in the specifics of a single passage, scene, moment, or episode, and move outward from there. Show how the microcosm of your selected passage is either a tautology or a destabilizer of larger themes/motifs in the play.

Locate at least two peer-reviewed items (either books or journals) and integrate one short quote from each of these into your paper at least one time each. You can (and should) consider using some of the critical essays at the back of the Norton edition of Othello, but do not count any of these as part of your required two.

It is important to use what you’ve learned from They Say, I Say to articulate ideas in your own critical voice while still contextualizing your opinion in the context of what other critics have said.

You are responsible for organizing your essay and you will be evaluated on that and on the logical transparency and thoroughness of your argument. You MUST use specific textual evidence (ie quotations) to support your claims. Unsubstantiated claims will be accepted. If the text doesn’t explicitly state what you want to show, then you must paraphrase in your own voice to say what you think is implied (sub-text) and WHY you think that (transparency of thought process). Be wise! Spend time in consultations and dialogue with your tutorial leader to get this right. Set yourself up to succeed! Use the SPARK resource to help you plan your approach.

Your analysis and interpretation must also include a discussion of several cinematic or theatrical dramatizations of your chosen scene and some clear use of visual rhetoric in your analysis. For cinema, use the terms mentioned in Some Cinematic Terms and, if appropriate, in the document entitled, Narratology terms. For visual rhetoric, start with the material under “Readings to Be Completed” in week 9. Your tutorial leader will guide you with these requirements.

Formatting and Works Cited should follow MLA 8th edition, 2016. Please read all of the submission requirements on the assignments page.


Some Further Suggestions

You could also show how the scene moves and how it is structured, but also show something of how the scene reflects, reproduces and/or deconstructs and/or mirrors ideas elsewhere in the play.

Here are some further considerations. Look to the content of your chosen scene–its theme, structure, sequencing and movement, metaphors, tropes, and other literary devices, but also pay very close attention to language. If more than one character appears in the scene, explore the possibility of differences in language use, according to character. You can start with the general theme or motif and then move to the specific of your chosen passage, scene, moment, or episode, or vice versa.

Be very careful about the length, difficulty and relevance of the passage, scene, moment, or episode you decide to engage. Choose wisely. If the passage is too short, you won’t have enough to say. If it is too long, you will have trouble focusing. If it is not significant enough to have relevance across the whole play, your argument will be weakened considerably. Length: 3000 words maximum

 
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