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A Comprehensive Guide to Analysing ‘Othello’ for English: Summary, Context, Themes & Characters

Shakespeare Othello

Are you studying Shakespeare’s ‘Othello’ and are struggling to understand his writing, the themes and crafting an essay for your upcoming assessment? We’re here to help you with a simple summary of Othello, its key characters and context so you can formulate your own analysis!

PLUS, you’ll be getting a step-by-step analysis table (called a TEE Table ) as well as a sample paragraph so you can see what an extensive response looks like. 

So, let’s get into it and ace your essay on Othello! 

Summary of Othello Key Characters in Othello Context Themes Explored in Othello Essay Analysis of Othello

Summary of Othello

Othello is one of Shakespeare’s greatest tragedies, performed in five acts depicting the dramatic downfall of a hero as a result of racial prejudice, jealousy and pride.

The play is set in motion when an African General in the Venetian Army, Othello, passes over Iago , a senior officer in the Venetian Army who is under Othello’s command, to promote Michael Cassio as his chief lieutenant instead.

Driven by extreme hate and jealousy of Othello’s celebrated successes and his need for control, Iago is determined to destroy Othello and begins to plot Othello’s undoing through his wife, Desdemona, the daughter of an important Venetian senator, Brabantio. 

Othello and Iago

Laurence Fishburne and Kenneth Brannagh as Othello and Iago in Oliver Parker’s 1995 ‘ Othello’

Iago firstly enlists Roderigo, Desdemona’s rejected lover, to inform Brabantio about Desdemona’s elopement to Othello, urging an enraged Brabantio to appeal to the Duke of Venice to have Othello punished for seducing Desdemona by witchcraft. However, Othello defends himself in front of Brabantio and his senators, Desdemona confirms that she is deeply in love with Othello , and that their marriage was not coerced.

Brabantio warns Othello that Desdemona will betray him , and says, “ Look to her, Moor, if thou hast eyes to see. She has deceived her father, and may thee,” to which Iago takes note as they leave Venice for Cyprus. 

Frith, William Powell, 1819-1909; Othello and Desdemona

After arriving in Cyprus and learning that the storm has destroyed the Turkish fleet, Othello commences a celebration with his army, while he leaves to consummate his marriage to Desdemona. Iago gets Cassio drunk, and persuades Roderigo to duel Cassio.

Montano tries to calm them down, but an inebriated Cassio proceeds to fight, injuring Montano in the process. Othello reappears, questions the men and blames Cassio for the feud, thus stripping him off his rank.

Cassio is distraught, however, Iago convinces him to plead to Desdemona to have Othello reinstate him. She succeeds. 

Iago begins to convince Othello of a false affair between Cassio and Desdemona. When Desdemona drops her handkerchief, Othello’s first gift to her, Emilia (Iago’s wife) gives it to Iago, unaware of his plans.

Persuaded by Iago’s false claims and planting seeds of doubt, Othello swears Desdemona and Cassio’s death, and promotes Iago as his lieutenant. 

Handkerchief

Iago then plants Desdemona’s handkerchief in Cassio’s belongings, while ordering Othello to watch Cassio’s responses as Iago questions him from afar. While Iago questions Cassio about his affair with Bianca, a local courtesan, Othello is made to believe that the two men are talking about Desdemona.

Meanwhile, Bianca appears and accuses Cassio of gifting her with a second-hand item. Othello, still watching from afar, is enraged, and believes Iago’s claims that Desdemona had given this handkerchief to Cassio.

A hurt Othello resolves to kill Desdemona and Cassio with Iago’s help , and strikes Desdemona in front of visiting Venetian nobles. Roderigo, still upset, is urged by Iago to kill Cassio. 

Access Othello Downloadable Sample Paragraph and Examples of Essay Analysis here!

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Roderigo pursues Cassio in the streets, and Cassio injures Roderigo. Meanwhile, Iago appears from the shadows and stabs Cassio from behind, wounding his leg.

In the night, Iago manages to hide his identity, and joins Lodovico and Gratiano when Cassio cries for help, thus appearing as unknowing of the scuffle. When Cassio identifies Roderigo as the attacker, Iago stabs him to prevent him from revealing the plan. 

Othello confronts Desdemona, and smothers her with a pillow. Emilia arrives, calling for help, to which the former governor Montano arrive with Gratiano and Iago. After Othello shows proof of the handkerchief, Emilia realises Iago’s plot and exposes him, whereupon he kills her.

Meanwhile, Othello realises Desdemona’s innocence and stabs Iago in revenge. Iago refuses to explain his motives and Lodovico apprehends Iago and Othello for the murders of both the women, but Othello commits suicide. Cassio arrives and is promoted as Othello’s successor, and punishes Iago justly. 

Key Characters in Othello

Othello As a competent and highly regarded serviceman of the Venetian Republic, Othello is the ‘Moorish’ General of the Venetian Army and the protagonist of our story. He elopes with Desdemona, and ultimately succumbs to Iago’s deceit, leading to his tragic death.  The audience follows Othello’s eventual downfall through the collapse of his own self-perception, as instigated and dominantly narrated by Iago. It is through Iago that the audience sees Othello’s eroding sense of self, calculating his moves to remind Othello that he is the ‘Moor’ and signifying his difference. Here, Othello’s own fears of himself of his age, his status and his race come to light, especially the fear of Desdemona’s infidelity which immediately leads him to farewell his soldierly career. He is referred to as “an old black ram” in comparison to Desdemona’s nature as a “white ewe” (I.i.88), ostracising him from the rest of society and thus making him an easy prey for Iago. Until the very late stages of the play, Othello’s agency is not singular, but instead is driven by Iago.  A Moor by James Northcote (1826) – Ira Alridge as the first Black actor in Britain to play Othello Sourced from Manchester Art Gallery However, Othello also positions himself as an outsider, which adds to his victimisation. Though Othello’s skill as a soldier and leader positions him as a great influence, it is still his exotic qualities that entice others such as Desdemona and Brabantio to him. As an eloquent speaker, the Duke mentions that ‘I think this tale would win my daughter too’ (I.iii.70). These qualities present him as an outsider, both in race and in eloquence, thus creating a cathartic ending for a hero falling prey to tragedy. 
Iago It is clear that Iago’s extreme jealousy and need to avenge Othello’s ‘wrongdoing’ engineers the plot for revenge. Here, Iago’s malicious intentions cultivate the entire scenario of revenge in the play, and thus, he is widely regarded as a ‘Machiavellian’ character (fro​​m Machiavelli’s 1532 political treatise The Prince ). He is cunning, cold, and concerned with personal gain over morality.  Charles Kemble as Iago in Othello, by Richard James Lane (1840) Sourced from National Portrait Gallery, London Iago cleverly distorts Othello’s reality of himself and the reality for the rest of the characters, creating an ambiguous and distrustful narrative that culminates in destruction . Firstly, Iago’s jealousy stems from his hatred for Othello’s success as an outsider in Venice . Othello occupies a difficult position and becomes the most fated soldier, despite his appearance in a European city. This charges Iago’s animalistic language towards Othello, regarding him as a ‘Barbary horse’ (1.i.113). Secondly, he resents Cassio’s rise to power (1.iii). Possessing an extraordinary power to manipulate, Iago’s jealousy acts as a catalyst to create a cycle of revenge and envy that loops in Othello and Roderigo to destruction. 

Context of Othello

The earliest recorded performance of Othello was in 1604, under the title The Moor of Venice , during the cusps of the reigns of Elizabeth I and James I. Othello’s Mediterranean setting is significant as it presents an age of increasing European maritime power, and authority over the ocean was crucial for the politics in Mediterranean states.

This involved both Western powers (Spain, Portugal and Italy) as well as the Eastern Mediterranean empire of the Ottomans (modern day Turkey), who were in constant conflict over control of the Adriatic and eastern Mediterranean seas.

While the first part of the play is set in Europe, Act II of the play is set in the small island of Cyprus , the site of Venetian and Ottoman rivalries. After the death of James II, Venice had full control of Cyprus, which proved strategic for Venetian Army to launch attacks against the Ottomans. Othello’s military successes are set within this conflict. 

Othello Castle

Othello’s Castle, North Cyprus

Sourced from Visit North Cyprus

Othello’s life story also reflects the mobility (including enforced) of lives across the Mediterranean. Othello is referred to as a ‘Moor’, signifying his racial difference from the rest of the — mostly white — European characters.

However, there is no clear concept of ‘Moor’, as the term can refer to an Arabian person from North Africa or a Southern Spanish person. This term is used today in quotations.

Though Othello’s race bridges the gap between his military service and war against the Muslim empire, Othello nevertheless succumbs to Iago’s words, increasingly becoming vulnerable about his status and heightening his insecurities. Iago plays on the cultural divide between black-and-white, ultimately fuelling Othello’s anxiety and the downfall of his status and his marriage.

Themes Explored in Othello

Below are some key ideas from Othello. These are great starting points for you to consider your arguments, thesis and topic sentences:

Racial Prejudice

  • Jealousy and revenge
  • Deception — appearance VS reality

The role of racial prejudice is imperative in Iago’s emotional and mental poisoning of Othello, driving him to the point of distrust and extreme isolation. Other characters already hold Desdemona and Othello’s marriage in disdain, such as Brabantio who warns that “Bond-slaves and pagans shall our statesman be” (1.i.98-99), putting them against the status quo and the present view of their world.

Iago only exacerbates Othello’s ingrained fears of ‘Moorish’ differences towards his position in the Army, his wife and his status in Venice, becoming a lethal weapon in Othello’s self-destruction.

This drives him to the point of isolation and self-hatred, where he trusts no one but Iago. Eventually, Othello begins to blame his complexion for allegedly depriving his wife of her good nature: ‘Her name, that was as fresh / As Dian’s visage, is now begrim’d and black / As mine own face’ (3.ii.386-8).

His inherent fears of his Moorish complexity and exotic characteristics tainting his wife consequently prompts his vulnerability towards his marriage, and his lack of self-reassurance unconsciously places him in a white perspective of his own blackness. Therefore, these ingrained perspectives of himself in society seal both the fates of himself and of Desdemona. 

Jealousy and Revenge

Iago’s jealousy drives him to deadly extremes to emotionally violate his alleged ‘oppressors’, and provokes the rest of his characters such as Roderigo, Bianca and Othello into ‘the green-eyed monster’ (3.iii.166).

Roderigo’s unrequited love for Desdemona makes him extremely jealous of Othello, and Bianca is jealous when she finds Desdemona’s handkerchief in Cassio’s lodgings. Iago provokes this jealousy on Othello with the handkerchief as ‘ocular proof’ (3.iii.360) of the infidelity, which has been passed from Desdemona, to Emilia and then to Bianca, drawing an implicit parallel between the innocent women and the men’s perception of women in marriage.

This consumes Othello the most, in which Iago’s extreme need for revenge fuels the strategically distorted narrative, confirms his suspicions and fulfils his expectations.

Deception — Appearance VS Reality

Iago’s power to manipulate allows him to plant seeds of doubt in Othello and other characters throughout the play. His success to quickly and cleverly manipulate Othello stems from the tales of perceived misogyny and view of female sexuality that is already shared among men.

Iago reminds Othello that Desdemona is a creature of deception, as she ‘did deceive her father, marrying you’ (3.iii.206), and that she will do so to him: ‘Look to her, Moor, if thou hast eyes to see; / She has deceived her father, and may thee’ (1.iii.292-3). 

Dramatic irony (the gap of knowledge between what the audience and the character knows) serves as a catharsis for the audience and provokes an emotional response in the tragedy. Here, Iago continues to finely calibrate a sense of torment in Othello’s imagination through his deceptive language as he tells Othello that Cassio lies ‘with [Desdemona], on her, as you will’ (4.i).

In doing so, he constantly plants mental images of uncertainty and instability in Othello, leaving Othello to connect and unknowingly create a flawed narrative that he believes to be true . Iago masks this deception as he merely justifies his actions by reflecting his victim’s own beliefs: ‘I told him what I thought and no more / Than what he found himself was apt and true’ (5.ii.176-77). 

In this way, he deflects blame from himself, and while he engineers the chaos, he does not become the fundamental source of Othello’s, Desdemona’s and Emilia’s deaths. 

Studying on the night before your exam? Make sure to use our exam prep routine for English here !

Essay Analysis: How to Analyse Othello in 3 Steps

Most students will begin to write their essay and their thesis without any supporting evidence, themes or analysis . You will need to equip yourself with the knowledge of your text before answering anything about it. 

Analysing a text, providing it with evidence and techniques may be easier than you think… it’s like a formula! We can say ‘a + b = c’. But what are these?

A = Evidence B = Technique C = Analysis

After knowing your text, you can build ideas from it, and start writing your thesis! So, let’s walk through on how to analyse Othello:

Step 1: Choosing your evidence (‘A’)

Choosing your evidence can be tough, because there are just so many good ones you can choose from! 

But you need to remember that you must choose evidence that supports your argument and answers the question . But how do we do that?

Let’s gather important pieces that we have seen throughout this article. Here is one we have chosen for you:

‘Even now, now, very now, an old black ram / Is tupping your white ewe’ (1.i.88-89)

Step 2: Identifying your technique(s) (‘B’)

This isn’t just about finding any old technique or using a technique that is fancy and hoping for the best! It’s about what best suits your evidence, your analysis, and subsequently, your answer to the question.

Techniques are what help composers convey the message to their audience and their readers. So, we need to identify a technique that will enable you to say something about your idea that’s interesting, and will contribute to your analysis of Othello. 

Try to focus on finding examples with techniques which unveil a deeper meaning like metaphors, similes, figurative language, connotations, symbolism and recurring motifs. Other techniques like alliteration and repetition are a bit harder to find a deeper meaning in!

We have identified 3 techniques in the quote above: zoomorphism, contrast and metaphor . 

It’s always great to try and find multiple techniques in your quotes as it allows you to take your analysis up a notch!

Step 3: Writing your analysis (‘C’)

When you write the analysis for your essay on Othello, it is important to always focus on what the effect of the technique is . One of the worst things you can do when writing analysis is technique labelling. Technique labelling would look like this:

The zoomorphism between “black ram… tupping [your] white ewe” shows how Iago wants Brabantio to see Othello’s elopement to Desdemona, contrasting his physical appearance and nature to hers. 

Instead, we need to flesh out how those techniques get us to our point . Firstly, Iago’s language is important as he uses zoomorphism to reduce Othello and Desdemona into animals.

Secondly, the contrast between the “black ram” and “white ewe” is important to signify the binary oppositions between Othello and Desdemona.

Lastly, the use of the metaphor of animals is important as it depicts that Othello and Desdemona’s behaviour is greatly looked down upon, especially in a Venetian society. 

So, if we include that in our essay analysis of Othello, this would look like…

Iago’s cries to Brabantio that “Even now, now, very now, an old black ram / Is tupping your white ewe” (1.i.88-89), using zoomorphism to reduce Othello and Desdemona’s wildly radical behaviour into animals. The contrast between the “black ram” and the “white ewe” signifies the binary oppositions between Othello and Desdemona, and is a metaphor for their disapproved marriage against social norms and the racial prejudice pervading their Venetian society.

Need some help with your essay analysis of other texts aside from Othello?

Check out other texts we’ve created guides for below:

  • Romeo and Juliet
  • Run Lola Run
  • The Great Gatsby
  • To Kill a Mockingbird
  • The Book Thief
  • The Tempest
  • Blade Runner
  • Things Fall Apart
  • Mrs Dalloway

We’ve also got articles specifically on plays by Shakespeare which you can have a read through below:

  • King Richard III
  • A Midsummer Night’s Dream
  • The Merchant of Venice
  • Much Ado About Nothing

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Camille Chin is your certified Art of Smart Veteran! Starting as a student at Art of Smart herself, she felt passionate about helping students boost their academic confidence so that they can achieve and reach their full potential in their studies. She currently studies Law and Arts – English at Macquarie University, and loves volunteer firefighting, reading and watching musical theatre in her spare time.

  • Topics: ✏️ English , ✍️ Learn

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Home › Drama Criticism › Analysis of William Shakespeare’s Othello

Analysis of William Shakespeare’s Othello

By NASRULLAH MAMBROL on July 25, 2020 • ( 0 )

Of all Shakespeare’s tragedies . . . Othello is the most painfully exciting and the most terrible. From the moment when the temptation of the hero begins, the reader’s heart and mind are held in a vice, experiencing the extremes of pity and fear, sympathy and repulsion, sickening hope and dreadful expectation. Evil is displayed before him, not indeed with the profusion found in King Lear, but forming, as it were, the soul of a single character, and united with an intellectual superiority so great that he watches its advance fascinated and appalled. He sees it, in itself almost irresistible, aided at every step by fortunate accidents and the innocent mistakes of its victims. He seems to breathe an atmosphere as fateful as that of King Lear , but more confined and oppressive, the darkness not of night but of a close-shut murderous room. His imagination is excited to intense activity, but it is the activity of concentration rather than dilation.

—A. C. Bradley, Shakespearean Tragedy

Between William Shakespeare’s most expansive and philosophical tragedies— Hamlet and King Lear —is Othello, his most constricted and heart-breaking play. Othello is a train wreck that the audience horrifyingly witnesses, helpless to prevent or look away. If Hamlet is a tragedy about youth, and Lear concerns old age, Othello is a family or domestic tragedy of a middle-aged man in which the fate of kingdoms and the cosmos that hangs in the balance in Hamlet and Lear contracts to the private world of a marriage’s destruction. Following his anatomizing of the painfully introspective intellectual Hamlet, Shakespeare, at the height of his ability to probe human nature and to dramatize it in action and language, treats Hamlet’s temperamental opposite—the man of action. Othello is decisive, confident, and secure in his identity, duty, and place in the world. By the end of the play, he has brought down his world around him with the relentless force that made him a great general turned inward, destroying both what he loved best in another and in himself. That such a man should fall so far and so fast gives the play an almost unbearable momentum. That such a man should unravel so completely, ushered by jealousy and hatred into a bestial worldview that cancels any claims of human virtue and self-less devotion, shocks and horrifies. Othello is generally regarded as Shakespeare’s greatest stage play, the closest he would ever come to conforming to the constrained rules of Aristotelian tragedy. The intensity  and  focus  of  Othello   is  unalleviated  by  subplots,  comic  relief,  or  any  mitigation  or  consolation  for  the  deterioration  of  the  “noble  Moor”  and  his  collapse into murder and suicide. At the center of the play’s intrigue is Shakespeare’s most sinister and formidable conceptions of evil in Iago, whose motives and the wellspring of his villainy continue to haunt audiences and critics alike. Indeed, the psychological resonances of the drama, along with its provocative racial and gender themes, have caused Othello, perhaps more than any other of Shakespeare’s plays, to reverberate the loudest with current audiences and commentators. As scholar Edward Pechter has argued, “During the past twenty-five years or so, Othello has become the Shakespearean tragedy of choice, replacing King Lear in the way Lear had earlier replaced Hamlet as the play that speaks most directly and powerfully to current interests.”

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Shakespeare derived his plot from Giraldi Cinthio’s “Tale of the Moor,” in the story collection Hecatommithi (1565), reshaping Cinthio’s sensational tale of jealousy, intrigue, and murder in several key ways. In Cinthio’s story, Alfiero, the scheming ensign, lusts after the Moor’s wife, named Disdemona, and after she spurns his advances, Alfiero seeks vengeance by accusing her of adultery with Cassio,  the  Moor’s  lieutenant.  Alfiero,  like  Iago,  similarly  arouses  the  Moor’s  suspicions by stealing Disdemona’s handkerchief and planting it in Cassio’s bed-room. However, the Moor and Alfiero join forces to kill Disdemona, beating her  to  death  with  a  stocking  filled  with  sand  before  pulling  down  the  ceiling  on her dead body to conceal the crime as an accident. The Moor is eventually captured,  tortured,  and  slain  by  Disdemona’s  relatives,  while  the  ensign  dies  during torture for another crime. What is striking about Shakespeare’s alteration of Cinthio’s grisly tale of murder and villainy is the shift of emphasis to the provocation for the murder, the ennobling of Othello as a figure of great stature and dignity to underscore his self-destruction, and the complication of motive for  the  ensign’s  actions.  Cinthio’s  version  of  Iago  is  conventionally  driven  by  jealousy  of  a  superior  and  lust  for  his  wife.  Iago’s  motivation  is  anything  but  explainable in conventional terms. Dramatically, Shakespeare turns the focus of the play from the shocking crime to its causes and psychic significance, trans-forming Cinthio’s intrigue story of vile murder into one of the greatest dramatic meditations on the nature of love and its destruction.

What  makes  Othello  so  unique  structurally  (and  painful  to  witness)  is  that  it  is  a  tragedy  built  on  a  comic  foundation.  The  first  two  acts  of  the  play  enact  the  standard  pattern  of  Shakespeare’s  romantic  comedies.  The  young Venetian noblewoman, Desdemona, has eloped with the middle-aged Othello, the military commander of the armed forces of Venice. Their union is opposed by Desdemona’s father, Brabantio, and by a rival for Desdemona, Roderigo,  who  in  the  play’s  opening  scenes  are  both  provoked  against Othello  by  Iago.  Desdemona  and  Othello,  therefore,  face  the  usual  challenges of the lovers in a Shakespearean comedy who must contend with the forces of authority, custom, and circumstances allied against their union. The romantic climax comes in the trial scene of act 1, in which Othello success-fully defends himself before the Venetian senate against Brabantio’s charge that  Othello  has  beguiled  his  daughter,  “stol’n  from  me,  and  corrupted  /  By spells and medicines bought of mountebanks.” Calmly and courteously Othello recounts how, despite the differences of age, race, and background, he won Desdemona’s heart by recounting the stories of his exotic life and adventures: “She loved me for the dangers I had passed, / And I loved her that she did pity them.” Wonder at Othello’s heroic adventures and compassion for her sympathy have brought the two opposites together—the young, inexperienced  Venetian  woman  and  the  brave,  experienced  outsider.  Desdemona finally, dramatically appears before the senate to support Othello’s account of their courtship and to balance her obligation to her father and now to her husband based on the claims of love:

My noble father, I do perceive here a divided duty: To you I am bound for life and education; My life and education both do learn me How to respect you; you are the lord of duty; I am hitherto your daughter. But here’s my husband; And so much duty as my mother show’d To you, preferring you before her father, So much I challenge that I may profess Due to the Moor, my lord.

Both Desdemona and Othello defy by their words and gestures the calumnies heaped upon them by Roderigo and Brabantio and vindicate the imperatives of the heart over parental authority and custom. As in a typical Shakespearean comedy, love, tested, triumphs over all opposition.

Vindicated by the duke of Venice and the senate, Othello, accompanied by Desdemona, takes up his military duties in the face of a threatened Turkish invasion, and the lovers are given a triumphal wedding-like procession and marriage ceremony when they disembark on Cyprus. The storm that divides the Venetian fleet also disperses the Turkish threat and clears the way for the lovers’ happy  reunion  and  peaceful  enjoyment  of  their  married  state.  First  Cassio lands to deliver the news of Othello’s marriage and, like the best man, supplies glowing praise for the groom and his bride; next Desdemona, accompanied by Iago and his wife, Emilia, enters but must await news of the fate of Othello’s ship. Finally, Othello arrives giving him the opportunity to renew his marriage vows to Desdemona:

It gives me wonder great as my content To see you here before me. O my soul’s joy, If after every tempest come such calms, May the wind blow till they have wakened death, And let the labouring barque climb hills of seas Olympus-high, and duck again as low As hell’s from heaven. If it were now to die ’Twere now to be most happy, for I fear My soul hath content so absolute That not another comfort like to this Succeeds in unknown fate.

The scene crowns love triumphant. The formerly self-sufficient Othello has now  staked  his  life  to  his  faith  in  Desdemona  and  their  union,  and  she  has  done the same. The fulfillment of the wedding night that should come at the climax of the comedy is relocated to act 2, with the aftermath of the courtship and the wedding now taking  center  stage.  Having triumphantly bested  the  social and natural forces aligned against them, having staked all to the devotion of the other, Desdemona and Othello will not be left to live happily ever after, and the tragedy will grow out of the conditions that made the comedy. Othello, unlike the other Shakespearean comedies, adds three more acts to the romantic drama, shifting from comic affirmation to tragic negation.

Iago  reviews  Othello’s  performance  as  a  lover  by  stating,  “O,  you  are  well tuned now, / But I’ll set down the pegs that make this music.” Iago will now orchestrate discord and disharmony based on a life philosophy totally opposed to the ennobling and selfless concept of love demonstrated by the newlyweds. As Iago asserts to Roderigo, “Virtue? A fig!” Self-interest is all that  matters,  and  love  is  “merely  a lust  of  the  blood  and  a  permission  of  the will.” Othello and Desdemona cannot possibly remain devoted to each other, and, as Iago concludes, “If sanctimony and a frail vow betwixt an err-ing barbarian and a super-subtle Venetian be not too hard for my wits, and all the tribe of hell, thou shalt enjoy her.” The problem of Iago’s motivation to destroy Othello and Desdemona is not that he has too few motives but too many. He offers throughout the play multiple justifi cations for his intrigue: He has been passed over in favor of Cassio; he suspects the Moor and Cassio with his wife, Emilia; he is envious of Cassio’s open nature; and he is desirous of Desdemona himself. No single motive is relied on for long, and the gap  between  cause  and  effect,  between  the  pettiness  of  Iago’s  grudges  and  the monstrousness of his behavior, prompted Samuel Taylor Coleridge in a memorable phrase to characterize Iago’s “motiveless malignity.” There is in Iago a zest for villainy and a delight in destruction, driven more by his hatred and  contempt  for  any  who  oppose  his  conception  of  jungle  law  than  by  a  conventional  naturalistic  explanation  based  on  jealousy  or  envy.  Moreover, Shakespeare, by deliberately clouding the issue of Iago’s motive, finds ever more sinister threats in such a character’s apparently bottomless and unmerited hatred and capacity for evil.

Iago will direct the remainder of the play, constructing Othello’s down-fall out of the flimsiest evidence and playing on the strengths and weaknesses of Othello’s nature and the doubts that erode Othello’s faith in Desdemona. Act 3, one of the wonders of the stage, anatomizes Othello’s psychic descent from  perfect  contentment  in  his  new  wife  to  complete  loathing,  from  a  worldview  in  which  everything  is  as  it  appears  to  one  in  which  nothing  is  as it seems. Iago leads Othello to suspect that love and devotion are shams disguising the basest of animalistic  instincts.  Misled  by  the  handkerchief,  his  love  token  to  Desdemona,  that  Iago  has  planted  in  Cassio’s  room  and  by a partially overheard conversation between Iago and Cassio, Othello, by the end of act 3, forsakes his wife and engages himself in a perverse version of the marriage ceremony of act 2 to Iago. As the pair kneels together, they exchange vows:

Iago: Witness you ever-burning lights above, You elements that clip us round about, Witness that here Iago doth give up The execution of his wit, hands, heart To wronged Othello’s service. Let him command, And to obey shall be in me remorse, What bloody business ever.

Othello: I greet thy love, Not with vain thanks, but with acceptance bounteous, And will upon the instant put thee to’t. Within these three days let me hear thee say That Cassio’s not alive.

Iago: My friend is dead. ’Tis done at your request; but let her live.

Othello: Damn her, lewd minx! O, damn her, damn her! Come, go with me apart. I will withdraw To furnish me with some swift means of death For the fair devil. Now art thou my lieutenant.

Iago: I am your own for ever.

This scene has suggested to some critics that Iago’s true motivation for destroying the marriage of Desdemona and Othello is a repressed homosexual love for Othello. An equal case can be made that Iago here completes his role as Vice, borrowed from the medieval morality plays, sealing the Faustian bargain for Othello’s soul in this mock or black marriage scene.

The play moves relentlessly from here to catastrophe as Othello delivers justice to those he is convinced have wronged him. As he attempts to carry out  his  execution  of  Desdemona,  she  for  the  first  time  realizes  his  charges  against her and his utter delusion. Ignoring her appeals for mercy and avowals of innocence, Othello smothers her moments before Emilia arrives with the proof of  Desdemona’s  innocence  and  Iago’s  villainy.  Othello  must  now  face  the  realization  of  what  he  has  done.  He turns  to  Iago,  who  has  been  brought before him to know the reason for his actions. Iago replies: “Demand me  nothing;  what  you  know,  you  know:  /  From  this  time  forth  I  never  will  speak  word.”  By  Iago’s  exiting  the  stage,  closing  access  to  his  motives,  the  focus remains firmly on Othello, not as Iago’s victim, but as his own. His final speech mixes together the acknowledgment of what he was and what he has become, who he is and how he would like to be remembered:

I have done the state some service, and they know’t. No more of that. I pray you, in your letters, When you shall these unlucky deeds relate, Speak of me as I am. Nothing extenuate, Nor set down aught in malice. Then must you speak Of one that loved not wisely but too well, Of one not easily jealous but, being wrought, Perplexed in the extreme; of one whose hand, Like the base Indian, threw a pearl away Richer than all his tribe.

Consistent with his role as guardian of order in the state, Othello carries out his own execution, by analogy judging his act as a violation reflected by Venice’s savage enemy:

And say besides, that in Aleppo once, Where a malignant and a turban’d Turk Beat a Venetian and tradu’d the state, I took by th’ throat the circumcisèd dog, And smote him—thus.

Othello, likewise, has “tradu’d the state” and has changed from noble and valiant Othello to a beast, with the passion that ennobled him shown as corrosive and demeaning. He carries out his own execution for a violation that threatens social and psychic order. For the onlookers on stage, the final tableau of the dead Desdemona and Othello “poisons sight” and provokes the command to “Let it be hid.” The witnesses on stage cannot compute rationally what has occurred nor why, but the audience has been given a privileged view of the battle between good and evil worked out in the private recesses of a bedroom and a human soul.

Analysis of William Shakespeare’s Plays

Othello Oxford Lecture by Emma Smith

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William Shakespeare’s Othello Summary Essay Example

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Introduction

Othello characters, othello: plot summary, othello analysis: the plot.

Othello is a literary play that was written by William Shakespeare in 1603. The play is a tragedy revolving around four main characters that include Othello, Desdemona, Iago and Cassio. The four main characters have different roles in the play that complement each other in this tragic play.

Othello is the lead character who plays the role of an army commander in the Venetian army. Cassio and Iago are junior military officers who work under Othello. Desdemona plays the role of Othello’s wife and the daughter of a senator. The play begins with a conversation between a rich gentleman known as Roderigo and Iago.

Roderigo complains about Othello’s secret marriage to Desdemona and demonstrates his intense passion for her. Roderigo expected Iago to inform him of this development because of their friendship. Roderigo is in love with Desdemona and his previous efforts to marry her had not succeeded. Iago is not happy with the fact that Othello had promoted Cassio ahead of him despite his inexperience. Roderigo decides to report Othello to senator Brabantio who is Desdemona’s father.

Desdemona’s father goes out to look for Othello but they unexpectedly bump into each other in a security meeting where Othello has been summoned to advise senators on the impending attack on Cyprus by the Turkish troops. There is a very uncomfortable encounter between Othello and Brabantio after the meeting.

Desdemona’s father accuses him of using witchcraft to marry his daughter but Othello manages to defend himself. Brabantio warns Othello that his daughter would betray him. As a general in the Venetian army, Othello leads the army troops to fight against the Turkish troops. Othello leaves Venice in the company of his wife, Iago and Cassio and Desdemona’s attendant known as Emilia.

The Venetian army under the leadership of Othello calls for a celebration after the fall of the Turkish troops. In this celebration, Iago and Roderigo plan a conspiracy to completely destroy Cassio. In their plan, they were going to entice Cassio to drink excessively so that he would cause a commotion at the party.

Othello gets disappointed with this development and decides to punish Cassio for causing a disturbance at the party. The next step for Iago is to harm Cassio through Roderigo. Iago creates a scenario to make things appear as if Cassio and Desdemona are having an affair so that Roderigo would attack Cassio. Iago also tricks Othello into believing that Desdemona is cheating on him with Cassio.

Othello feels betrayed by these events and resolves to kill his wife and Cassio. He sends Iago to kill Cassio and decides to confront his wife on the issue. The end of this play is characterized by a series of murders. Iago kills Roderigo to prevent him from revealing their plot and exonerates himself from an attempt to kill Cassio by implicating Cassio’s girlfriend known as Bianca.

Othello kills Desdemona in a confrontation and tries to justify his action by claiming that his wife had committed adultery. The only evidence he has is Desdemona’s handkerchief that was found in Cassio’s lodging. In Othello’s explanation, Emilia discovers Iago’s plot and reveals it to Othello. Othello regrets his action after discovering that his wife was actually innocent.

Iago kills Emilia for exposing his evil intentions. Othello stabs Iago with an intention of making him feel pain in his entire life and later commits suicide when he discovers that the authorities are about to arrest him for murder. The authorities arrest Iago and execute him for his actions. A Venetian nobleman known as Lodovico makes a declaration that Graziona would be Othello’s heir.

It is evident from the play that Othello’s life changes from good to bad in many instances. In the beginning of the play, Othello is a very successful army commander at the top of his career. This changes drastically when he murders his wife and later commits suicide. It is a shame for a top army commander to die under such circumstances.

Othello’s happy marriage with his wife Desdemona is eventually destroyed by Iago’s conspiracy. Iago succeeds in breaking Othello’s marriage through his evil plot. Othello’s Cyprus mission had a significant influence on his downfall. His rival Roderigo got a perfect opportunity to separate him from his beloved wife. Othello had complete trust in Iago who later betrayed him because of his selfish intentions.

Othello’s weaknesses and flaws are responsible for his demise in this play. Othello’s love for Desdemona is a major weakness that leads to his downfall. Iago exploits this weakness to advance his selfish plots. Iago realizes that Othello is a very jealous man in fear of losing his wife to a Venetian gentleman.

Iago goes ahead to use this weakness to convince Othello that his wife is unfaithful. Othello reacts by killing his wife and this leads to his eventual demise. Othello completely believes in the military system and does not question any information that Iago brings to him. It is this weakness that makes him to believe everything that Iago tells him without careful consideration. It is this flaw that leads to his eventual downfall.

  • Play’s Plot Explored
  • Act 1 Scene 1
  • Act 1 Scene 2
  • Act 1 Scene 3
  • Act 2 Scenes 1-2
  • Act 2 Scene 3
  • Act‌ ‌3‌ ‌Scenes‌ ‌1-2
  • Act‌ ‌3‌ ‌Scene‌ ‌3
  • Act 3 Scene 4
  • Act‌ ‌4‌ ‌Scene‌ ‌1
  • Act 4 Scene 2
  • Act‌ ‌4‌ ‌Scene‌ ‌3
  • Act‌ ‌5‌ ‌Scene‌ ‌1
  • Act 5 Scene 2
  • Characters Analysis
  • Important Quotes
  • Essay Topics & Examples
  • William Shakespeare
  • The Downfall of Othello
  • Trifles: A Play in One Act
  • Jealousy in "Othello" by W.Shakespear
  • Shakespeare’s, Milton’s and Marlowe’s Views on Villains
  • Female Characters in Shakespeare's “Othello”: A Feminist Critique
  • Oscar Wilde’s The Importance of Being Earnest and Heart of Darkness
  • Tragic Error in the "Oedipus the King" by Sophocles
  • Trifles by Susan Glaspell
  • “The Revenger’s Tragedy” a Play by Brain Gibbons
  • The Play "Hamlet Prince of Denmark" by W.Shakespeare
  • Chicago (A-D)
  • Chicago (N-B)

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IvyPanda . 2018. "William Shakespeare's Othello." December 19, 2018. https://ivypanda.com/essays/summary-about-shakespeares-othello/.

1. IvyPanda . "William Shakespeare's Othello." December 19, 2018. https://ivypanda.com/essays/summary-about-shakespeares-othello/.

Bibliography

IvyPanda . "William Shakespeare's Othello." December 19, 2018. https://ivypanda.com/essays/summary-about-shakespeares-othello/.

conclusion paragraph for othello essay

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Othello Conclusion

Othello by William Shakespeare


(approx. 1 page at 400 words per page)

Othello has often been considered the most painful of Shakespeare's tragedies. The fall of a proud, dignified man, the murder of a graceful, loving woman, and the unreasoning hatred of a "motiveless" villain-all have evoked fear and pity in audiences throughout the centuries. If it lacks the cosmic grandeur of Hamlet or King Lear, Othello nevertheless possesses a power that is perhaps more immediate and strongly felt for operating on the personal, human plane.

(See also Shakespearean Criticism, Vols. 4 and 11.)

(read more)


(approx. 1 page at 400 words per page)

View Othello Character Studies

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Othello Fatal Flaw Analysis

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conclusion paragraph for othello essay

Othello - Essay Samples And Topic Ideas For Free

Othello is a tragedy by William Shakespeare, exploring themes of jealousy, betrayal, and racism. Essays on “Othello” could delve into character analyses, thematic explorations, and the play’s historical and social context. They might analyze the play’s treatment of race and the character of Othello as a tragic hero. Discussions could also explore the play’s modern-day relevance, adaptations, and its reflection of, or comment on, the societal norms and racial attitudes of both Shakespeare’s time and today. A substantial compilation of free essay instances related to Othello you can find at PapersOwl Website. You can use our samples for inspiration to write your own essay, research paper, or just to explore a new topic for yourself.

Role and Character of Iago in Othello

In Othello by William Shakespeare, Iago a power hungry ancient drives the plot through his cruel and manipulative ways. In the play Othello and Desdemona are happily married, Othello gives Cassio a promotion to lieutenant, he chooses Cassio over Iago and gives Iago a more trusted and honorable job. Through manipulation Iago is able to bring the downfall of every character he pleases. Iago uses subtle cruelty to manipulate other characters into doing heinous acts which may of otherwise seemed […]

Women’s Role in Othello

Othello presents us with three female leads; Desdemona, Emilia, and Bianca. The way the play is worded implies woman as somewhat slanderous and adulterous and yet in the beginning depicts women mostly as virtuous. All these characters are implied to be whores through the play. During Act 2, Scene 2, Othello’s wife is being referred to as “a maid that paragons description and wild fame” and that “she excels the quirks of blazoning pens”. This states that she is so […]

Iago: the Main Antagonist

In the play Othello by William Shakespeare, the main antagonist Iago guides the audience through his path of deception to justify his revenge towards Othello. As a result of Iago being humiliated and disenfranchised by Othello, he takes from Othello what he values most; the security he feels in Desdemona's untainted love and commitment. Iago justifies his action though: his jealously of Cassio being appointed as lieutenant instead of him, the misconception he has that Othello had sex with his […]

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Misogyny and Violence in Othello

William Shakespeare's play “Othello” makes it clear that women have been vulnerable to male slander and assault for ages. Othello is a story of domestic abuse and male violence. Male violence remains a tragedy for many girls and women. Many victims of intimate partner violence will recognize their experiences in this play. The terrifying transformation of a beloved into an aggressor, the closing off of escape routes, the urgent assertion of fidelity. The #MeToo movement opens up a new way […]

Othello Manipulation Essay

Manipulation is all around us; we frequently do not notice it because it is hidden very well. Humans manipulate others in order to get their requests, they expect them to reveal their flaws to use it against them. In Othello, Iago demonstrates he is the master of manipulation over all characters who had formerly trusted and confined him. Shakespeare’s Iago effectively showcases how humans can use others weaknesses to serve their demands which causes them to expose their faults. Shakespeare […]

Shakespeare: Obedience and Powerless in Women

In Hamlet and Othello, Shakespeare criticizes the feminine issues that were present in his time, bringing awareness to the standard roles and ideal expectations of women by characterizing them in a space of being obedient and powerless. As women are portrayed as having ideal feminine values such as chastity and passiveness, the frailty of women is also brought to the surface. On the other hand, Shakespeare also seems to be suggesting that internal destruction is generated in the sense that […]

Theme of Jealousy in Iago, Roderigo, and Othello’s Characters

Shakespeare explores the theme of jealousy in Othello through Iago,Roderigo, and Othello. Iago starts off the jealousy theme in Othello when he gets jealous of Cassio. Othello puts Cassio as his 2nd in command while he signed Iago to be his ensign which means third in command. Iago then goes crazy and starts plotting to ruin Othello’s marriage and get Cassio fired. He then starts putting words in Othello’s head and starts to make him question everything. “O, beware, my […]

Racism and Racial Prejudice in Othello

In the book, Othello, by William Shakespeare, we see a big impact of racism and racial prejudice. Othello shows a lot of this and how it gets in the way by restraining love in society. He is a black man who is also a great and successful war soldier. He dedicates himself to serve society's goals by fighting for his country. Even though, Othello is a Moor, he is the most hardworking and the most respected. When it comes to […]

Imbalance of Power between Men and Women

Social imbalance can be termed as the presence of inequality opportunities as well as rewards for different gender statuses and social function within the society. The act of imbalance can be attributed to various important dimensions that involve cultures, employment opportunities as well as earnings. Furthermore, an aspect of inequality much revolves around power which is primarily discussed in this paper. The power imbalance between men and women in areas such as religion not only occur in western and British […]

Deaths of Characters in Othello

How many people die on Othello? Knowing Shakespeare, he kills off a majority of his characters. In Othello alone, eighty-five point seven percent of the roles die in the end. Whether killed by a sword or strangled out of jealousy, there were no justified reasonings for the deaths. Emilia, Desdemona, and Othello all fall blind to the truth and die because of it. Desdemona, one of Shakespeare's more naive and innocent character, was killed by her own husband in the […]

Reasons of Othello’s Tragedy

Othello's tragedy is a product of not just Iago, but himself. Though Iago may appear to be the primary cause of Othello's downfall, based on how manipulative, evil, and deceptive Iago was throughout the story. It can also be said, after having read the story, Othello's own insecurities were the product of his own self demise. A combination of putting trust into Iago due to male pride, his lack of confidence of Desdemona and the perception of infidelity and racial […]

Was Iago a Real Villain?

The Considering Iago as a "Villain" in  the play Othello, the character Iago plays a main role in the destruction of Othello and all of those around him. People could say that Iago's actions are simply a scheming liar and that he is a purely evil character. Others say Iago's talent for understanding and manipulating the desires of those around him that makes him both a powerful and a compelling figure that represent some greater force. We find soon in […]

Description of Othello’s Character

Othello is the main character in the play Othello by William Shakespeare. He is a well-respected African general in the Venice army and is happily married to Desdemona, a white woman. Othello being African already makes him an outsider and highlights racism in Venice. Throughout this play, there are slurs that have been used to describe Othello, "Moor, is an example of one. Even though Shakespeare did not make race the main theme in the play it is a huge […]

Iago’s Jealousy in Othello

William Shakespeare is prolific for his plays of love, revenge, deceit and jealousy. Among his most celebrated plays is the tragedy Othello, in which the themes of jealousy and deceit play a central role. In Othello, one of his most recognized tragedies was revolving around the central theme of jealousy and deceit. The themes of jealousy and deceit go with love. Love consumes all those who take part in it and in Othello’s case, his love for Desdemona has blinded […]

Literary Devices Used Othello

In Othello by William Shakespeare, Othello considers and thinks about all his actions before going through with them. By analyzing his soliloquies, we can understand his thoughts, and his reasons behind his actions. In act 5 scene 2 the first soliloquy Othello contemplated him killing his wife. This monologue gives you an inside scoop of Othello's thinking process because he doesn't want to kill his wife but feels as if he needs to. Othello makes choices that he might not […]

Lies, Revenge and Betrayal in Othello

Lies are extremely common in our society today, with millions of people masking their true intentions. In Shakespeare's play titled Othello, one of the characters, Iago, is no different and in fact the same as those deceptive individuals in society. Behind his act as a trustworthy friend, Iago is a manipulative and deceptive character creating disorder and causing many mishaps to occur. Iago uses many acts of manipulation to undermine every single character's weaknesses to get exactly what he wants, […]

Insanity Within the Plays of William Shakespeare

William Shakespeare in his many plays and other pieces of literature created some of the most well thought out characters of all time. The characters often had reasons for what they did or what they thought, shedding new light on what it meant to actually be “insane”. The characters’ motives were often shown during his stories, Because of that, Shakespeare, through his use of literature and understanding of the human mind, shaped western culture’s perception of insanity from negative feelings […]

Othello as an Ideal Representation of the Tragic Hero

William Shakespeare's Othello is a clear representation of the downfall of a tragic hero. Set in Venice and Cyprus during the 16th century, Othello, a moor, deals with the manipulative actions of a general of the Venetian army, Iago. Due to losing his desired position of being Othello's lieutenant to another solider Cassio, he plots is revenge in deviousness. Othello becomes persuaded by Iago 's rumors, framing, and miscommunications, causing him to kill Desdemona, his believed unfaithful wife. In realization […]

Sexism in Shakespeare’s Play Othello

"In the book, Othello written by Shakespeare, there is a main theme of sexism present throughout the book, Although the book was written in the 1600s, and there have been great decreases in sexism around the world, many of these ideas and scenarios are still present to this day. Sexism is defined as prejudice, stereotyping, or discrimination, typically against women, on the basis of sex. Sexism has been present for centuries, in many different forms, such as wage gaps, gender […]

Power and Control in Othello

In modern society, there are instances where one person has power over another. It is found in professions, school, and everyday life. What is meant by control is having some sort of influence in the way you act, make money, or are seen by others. This in no way means that someone completely owns another person. Power and control of others can be found by lying to others for benefits, men taking a higher role than women, and higher-ranked people […]

Othello Gullible Essay

The start of the Renaissance marked a time of a creative movement that promoted the greatest artists and creators to come forth and produce the best that their minds could think up. One of these artists that today still hold a position of being greatly respected and admired by the public is William Shakespeare. Shakespeare was a poet, writing over 154 sonnets, and a playwright, and in each of the 37 plays, he was able to “capture the complete range […]

With Love, Violence and Vengeance

Through the twisted minds of human nature, love is shown through acts of violence and vengeance committed by mankind. William Shakespeare's, Othello and Homer’s The Odyssey violence and vengeance are portrayed through jealousy, prejudice, justice, and honor. Their roles are woven throughout these books to portray the idea that love is a violent concept. Violence and vengeance can be found in several ways. It can be expressed physically, verbally, and mentally. Othello shows how envy and jealousy can overpower and […]

Importance of Literary Devices in Othello

This passage highlights Iago's character through the use of diction, imagery, irony, and other instances of figurative language. In this exchange, Iago continues to inconspicuously accuse Desdemona of being unfaithful to Othello and accuse Cassio of being disloyal to his superiors. He inserts various remarks at different times to execute this plan. At the end of this echange, Iago has effectively created an unfaithful and untruthful image of Cassio and Desdemona, and planted a seed of jealousy and doubt in […]

A Short Review of the Othello Play

In Act 1 of Othello, we are introduced to Iago and Roderigo. Iago is upset because Othello gave Cassio the position Iago wanted. Iago felt Cassio was not qualified for the position because he had never been in actual situations unlike Iago. The true colors of Iago are shown because this is the first time the audience has been exposed to the deceitful side of Iago. He talks about only following Othello just so he can turn his back on […]

My Attitude to Othello and Iago

Iago the antagonist within Othello written by William Shakespeare. I am so engaged with Iago because I want to secretly be like him. To get away with all the destruction he exerts. I get bored of the good guys always succeeding. He embodies both attraction and repulsion. The character of dramatic irony gropes us into his story and makes me agree that the most effective villain is one that both attracts and repels, which is why a villain is a […]

Characters in the Play Othello

The play Othello written by Shakespeare in the 1600s takes place in Venice, and Cyprus an island in the Mediterranean Sea. Shakespeare’s tale focuses on love, jealousy, and betrayal. Main characters being; Iago, Othello, Desdemona, Cassio, Bianca, and others. While some of these main characters go through some minor and big changes throughout the play. The character Othello undergoes many changes from start to finish, although some of the other characters in this play have a part in the way […]

A True Reason of Othello Demise

The novel Othello is about a General man named Othello and his wife Desdemona, just trying to be a normal couple, but problems occur when Iago starts to stir things up and starts to put lies in Othello's head. Iago starts to stir things up because Iago wanted to get the rank as lieutenant but Othello thought Cassio deserved it more and gave it to him so Iago wants revenge and wants to mess up Othello's relationship with Desdemona. Iago […]

Racism in Othello

Throughout history, men have the tendency to seek power. They may initially intend on pursuing the greater good, but eventually, pride rules out. And according to Cornelius Tacitus, senator of the Roman Empire, “the lust for power, for dominating others, inflames the heart more than any other passion” (Tacitus). This desire that is stained within our human nature gradually instigates tension between individuals and is largely influenced by race. Therefore, while those who triumph usually become centered, those without, get […]

Othello as an Aristotelean Tragedy

Legendary playmakers, such as Aristotle and Sophocles, held an influential position in the history of theatrical performances. In creating works like Oedipus the King, such experts seemingly knew how to intertwine human emotion with the actions of the narrative. This prowess eventually adopted by other artists led to the creation of some of the greatest plays in history. Interestingly, most of these plays entailed a protagonist, covered in splendor and valor throughout the play. The lead character often gained high […]

Prominent Theme in Shakespeare’s Othello

Within the play "Othello, written by William Shakespeare, the main and prominent theme of the play concerns with Othello's primary flaw, his jealousy. Thus, it is evident within the play the term "The Green-Eyed Monster whom Iago refers as jealousy suggests why The role of jealousy within Othello is focused from his delusional jealousy described as "Othello Syndrome, how his jealousy can resonate with readers and the connection with real-life marriages. In Shakespeare's Othello, he introduces the term of the […]

Originally published :1905
Author :William Shakespeare
Adapted from :Un Capitano Moro
Characters :Iago, Othello, Desdemona, Cassio, Roderigo, Brabantio
Location :Venice sparknotes.com

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How To Write an Essay About Othello

Understanding the play 'othello'.

To write an effective essay about Shakespeare's 'Othello,' it's crucial to have a comprehensive understanding of the play. 'Othello' is a tragedy that explores themes such as jealousy, love, betrayal, and racism. Start by familiarizing yourself with the plot, characters, and Shakespeare's language. It's important to understand the historical and cultural context in which Shakespeare wrote the play. Research the Elizabethan era's attitudes towards race and gender, as these are central themes in 'Othello.' Understanding the play's context and themes will provide a solid foundation for your essay.

Formulating a Thesis Statement

Your essay should be driven by a clear, concise thesis statement. This statement should offer a unique perspective on 'Othello.' You might choose to focus on a character analysis of Othello or Iago, explore the theme of jealousy, or examine the play's treatment of race and ethnicity. Whatever focus you choose, your thesis should guide your analysis and provide a central argument for your essay.

Gathering Evidence from the Play

Once you have your thesis, gather evidence from the play to support your argument. This involves closely reading the text to find relevant quotes, dialogues, and scenes. For example, if you're discussing the theme of betrayal, identify instances in the play where betrayal is evident and examine the consequences of these actions. This evidence will form the backbone of your essay and strengthen your arguments.

Analyzing Shakespeare's Techniques

In your essay, analyze how Shakespeare uses various techniques to convey themes and develop characters. This might include his use of language, imagery, symbolism, and dramatic structure. For instance, explore how Shakespeare uses irony or foreshadowing to enhance the tragic elements of the story. Your analysis should provide insight into how Shakespeare's techniques contribute to the overall meaning and impact of 'Othello.'

Concluding the Essay

Conclude your essay by summarizing the main points of your analysis and restating your thesis. Your conclusion should tie together your analysis and reinforce your overall argument. It's also an opportunity to reflect on the broader significance of 'Othello' in terms of its relevance to contemporary audiences or its place in Shakespeare's body of work.

Reviewing and Refining Your Essay

After writing your essay, review and refine it for clarity and coherence. Check for grammatical and spelling errors, and ensure that your essay flows logically from one point to the next. Consider seeking feedback from peers or instructors to further improve your essay. A well-written essay on 'Othello' should not only demonstrate your understanding of the play but also your ability to engage critically with Shakespeare's work.

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How to Write a Good Conclusion: Outline and Examples

How to Write a Good Conclusion: Outline and Examples

Writing a well-structured and insightful concluding paragraph is akin to putting the final cherry on top of a delicious cake – it completes the experience and leaves a lasting impression. Whether you are crafting a paper, a report, or research, creating a persuasive closing paragraph can significantly enhance your work’s influence. This guide delineates the specifics of how to write a conclusion, explores the essential elements of a closure, offers strategies for writing one that resonates, and shares practical tips to sidestep common errors. Read on if writing a summative and logical ending seems challenging to you.

What is a Conclusion Paragraph and Why is it Important?

At its core, a paragraph conclusion serves to recap the major points of your paper and synthesize your primary argument. It serves as a final opportunity to make a memorable impact on your audience. Crafting a logical closure requires skillfully integrating key elements to reinforce the main argument and connect with the wider significance explored in the essay.

Types of concluding paragraphs include:

  • Summative Conclusion : This kind of closing paragraph briefly sums up the central points of the composition or report without adding new details.
  • Synthetic Closure : In this paragraph, the wrap-up statement goes beyond summarization to discuss the more extensive implications or relevance of the concepts expressed.
  • Final Comment : This type of summation, often used in persuasive or argumentative papers, makes a final appeal or recommendation based on the claims presented.

Different kinds of ending paragraphs fulfill various purposes, each aimed at making a strong impression on the reader. For additional assistance with essay writing, let’s say, generating ideas on how to start a conclusion paragraph, consider exploring AI tools such as the Aithor essay generator, available at https://aithor.com/ai-essay-generator .

Conclusion Paragraph Outline

Concluding paragraphs play a vital role in wrapping up an essay or report effectively. If you are wondering how to write a conclusion paragraph, follow our instructions: recap your central idea and major arguments, adding insight. A carefully constructed summation typically consists of three key elements:

  • Thesis Restatement : Begin writing your final paragraph by paraphrasing your central idea in a slightly different way than you did in the intro to reaffirm it.

Example : In a composition advocating for the significance of renewable energy, the summary statement may begin with: "Throughout history, energy sources have been central in shaping societies..."

  • Summary of Key Points : Next, recap the prime points or views earlier discussed in the body sections. This highlights the thesis and briefly reminds the audience of the path taken through your writing.

Example : From solar and wind to hydroelectric power, each renewable energy source offers distinct benefits in mitigating environmental change and reducing dependence on mineral fuels.

  • Final Comment : End your paper with a sentence that leaves a lasting impression or motivates the reader to act, based on the essay's purpose.

Example : As we look ahead to a sustainable future, utilizing sustainable energy not only helps the environment but also boosts the economy and enhances energy security.

To master writing a well-rounded conclusion, remember these essential steps. This conclusion paragraph structure effectively wraps up your paper, reinforces your primary ideas, and leaves an insight.

Strategies for Writing an Effective Conclusion

Crafting a captivating concluding section that resonates with your readers, is crucial for leaving a long-lasting impression. When writing your closing paragraph, consider employing these strategies:

Circle Back to the Intro : Referencing a key phrase or reasons from your opening paragraph can create a sense of cohesion and closure.

Example : If your introduction highlighted a current environmental crisis, your final paragraph could explore how renewable energy could offer a solution to this crisis.

Pose a Thought-Provoking Query : Encourage deeper contemplation by posing an intriguing question related to your essay topic.

Example : How can people and governments work together to speed up using renewable energy technologies?

Offer a Prediction or Recommendation : Based on your central points, suggest what might happen over time or recommend a course of action.

Example : Investing in renewable energy now can pave the way for a more sustainable and cleaner planet for prospective generations.

Connect to a Broader Context: Relate your paper’s topic to a larger issue or ongoing discussion to underscore its significance and relevance.

Example: The shift to renewable energy is not just about reducing emissions; it's part of a global movement towards sustainable development and ecological stewardship.

Avoid Overly Emotional Call-to-Action: While urging action, maintain a balanced tone to avoid coming across as overly emotional or sensational.

Example: Let's come together to adopt renewable energy and forge a more promising tomorrow for future generations.

By employing these techniques, make sure that your ending paragraph not only recaps your central arguments smoothly but also leaves a sense of purpose and inspiration to your readers.

What to Avoid While Writing a Conclusion

When composing your final paragraph, it's crucial to avoid typical pitfalls that may weaken your closing remarks. Consider some common errors:

Adding Fresh Details : Avoid presenting completely new thoughts or examples that haven’t been addressed in the body parts.

Example : In brief, whereas renewable energy has many benefits, nuclear power remains a controversial alternative.

Overusing Clichés or Generalizations : Keep your language fresh and related to your essay’s topic. Avoid clichéd phrases like "In conclusion," as they add unnecessary redundancy to the text.

Example : In essence, it is obvious that renewable energy is the path of the future.

Undermining Your Efforts : The essay’s last paragraph should assert the validity of the thesis, not undermine it.

Example : While my research has limitations, I believe renewable energy is still a practical alternative.

Overly Emotive Call-to-Action: Balance emotional appeal and confidence and avoid being overly dramatic while encouraging action.

Example: We must act now to embrace renewable energy for a sustainable future.

Confusing Summary with Analysis: Differentiate between recapping key points and providing deeper analysis. Reflect on your insights rather than repeating facts.

Example: Briefly, renewable energy benefits the environment and promotes economic stability.

Avoiding such pitfalls ensures – your closing statements contribute positively to the quality of your assignment. How to write a conclusion paragraph efficiently? Stay concentrated, specific, and assertive to generate an insightful closure that enhances your paper's impact.

Useful Phrases When Starting the Conclusion

Transitioning smoothly into your recap can enhance the influence and clarity of your final comments. Check out some useful phrases categorized by their purpose:

1.       Summarizing : "To sum up,...", "In summary,..."

2.       Reaffirming : "It is evident that...", "This reinforces the notion that..."

3.       Reflecting : "Considering these arguments,...", "Taking this into account,..."

4.   Looking Forward : "Considering the future,...", "Moving forward,..."

By using these connectors, you will write a paragraph that coherently wraps up your ideas and leaves stimulating thoughts.

Conclusion Samples with Explanation

Ending your composition and highlighting your focal points is essential to effectively generate a solid final paragraph. Here are two A-level samples, each crafted for different assignment types:

  • Summative Conclusion : To sum up, the investigation of renewable energy sources underscores their key role in addressing environmental change and lessening our reliance on limited resources. Solar, hydroelectric, and wind power – each provide distinct benefits that contribute to sustainability.

Explanation : This closing paragraph summarizes the central points discussed throughout the paper highlighting the paper’s thesis, without presenting new details.

  • Final Comment : As global energy requirements continue to rise, embracing renewable energy not only addresses environmental concerns but also opens avenues for financial prosperity and energy self-sufficiency. By putting resources into renewable technologies today, we set the stage for a more promising future for coming generations.

Explanation : This paragraph goes beyond summarization to underscore the wider implications and prospects specific to the main idea in the final part.

These conclusion examples illustrate how to create a memorable impression by briefly repeating key points and emphasizing broader implications.

In a nutshell, a meticulously crafted summary paragraph comprises three essential elements that elevate the essay’s impact and overall coherence. A well-structured conclusion paragraph outline involves skillfully recapping the central points, reaffirming your thesis, and forming a strong final impression. Also, the assignment’s ending represents your final occasion to provide insight, so make it count. By avoiding typical errors and employing effective tactics, you can guarantee that the closure not only ties your writing together but also resonates with the audience.

Now that you've learned the secrets of writing a closing paragraph, this guide has equipped you with the essential tools to navigate the process, ensuring your piece is succinct, coherent, and insightful. By adhering to these principles, your finale not only serves to reinforce the topic’s relevance but also inspires thoughtful reflection on its critical role in shaping a brighter future for upcoming generations.

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Writing essays can be a challenging task, especially when faced with strict word counts. Sometimes, despite thorough research and thoughtful arguments, your essay may fall short of the required length. If you’re struggling with a long essay and wondering how to make your essay longer, this guide provides practical strategies to increase your essay length effectively without compromising on quality.

Understand the Requirements

Before you start adding words to make your essay longer, it’s crucial to understand the essay requirements thoroughly. This includes the topic, word count, formatting guidelines, and any specific instructions provided by your supervisor or professor. Knowing these details ensures that you meet the expectations and avoid unnecessary filler content.

Expand Your Introduction

The introduction sets the tone for your essay and provides a brief overview of the topic. To make your essay longer, consider expanding your introduction. Start with a hook to grab the reader’s attention, provide more background information on the topic, and outline the structure of your essay. This not only increases your essay length but also makes the introduction more engaging and informative.

Add More Evidence and Examples

One of the most effective ways to make your essay longer is to include additional evidence and examples. Support your arguments with more detailed evidence, such as statistics, quotes from experts, and real-life examples. This not only adds length to your essay but also strengthens your arguments and makes your essay more convincing.

Elaborate on Ideas

When you’ve made your main points, go back and see where you can elaborate. Sometimes, initial drafts can be quite concise, missing out on opportunities to expand on ideas. Look for sections where you can delve deeper into explanations, provide further analysis, or explore different perspectives. This method helps to increase your essay length while adding depth to your content.

Integrate Quotations

Incorporating quotations is another effective strategy to make your essay longer. Find relevant quotes from reputable sources to support your arguments. Remember to integrate these quotations smoothly into your text and provide explanations or interpretations. This adds credibility to your essay and contributes to the overall word count.

Use Transitional Phrases

Transitional phrases help to connect ideas and ensure a smooth flow in your essay. They can also add to your essay length. Phrases such as “furthermore,” “in addition to,” “moreover,” and “consequently” can be used to link paragraphs and sentences. However, use them judiciously to avoid redundancy .

conclusion paragraph for othello essay

Include Additional Subheadings

Adding subheadings can help structure your essay better and make it easier to read. They can also provide an opportunity to introduce new sections and expand on your points. Each subheading should represent a key idea or argument that you can explore in detail. This approach not only increases your essay length but also enhances its organisation.

Revise Your Conclusion

The conclusion is your final opportunity to leave a lasting impression on the reader. To make your essay longer, revise your conclusion to summarise the main points more comprehensively. Reflect on the broader implications of your arguments, suggest areas for future research, or provide a thought-provoking statement to end your essay on a strong note.

Detailed Descriptions

Another way to add length to your essay is by providing more detailed descriptions. Whether you’re describing a concept, a historical event, or a piece of literature, go into more detail. Describe the context, the key elements, and their significance. This not only helps to make your essay longer but also provides a richer reading experience.

Address Counterarguments

Addressing counterarguments shows that you’ve considered different viewpoints and strengthens your essay. By acknowledging and refuting opposing views, you can add depth to your arguments and increase your essay length. This demonstrates critical thinking and a thorough understanding of the topic.

Use More Words

Sometimes, simply rephrasing sentences to use more words can help make your essay longer. For instance, instead of saying “The study shows,” you can say “The results of the study clearly indicate.” However, ensure that the added words are meaningful and do not compromise the clarity or quality of your essay.

Edit and Proofread

After implementing these strategies to make your essay longer, it’s essential to edit and proofread your work. Ensure that the added content is relevant and contributes to your argument. Check for any grammatical errors, inconsistencies, or redundancies. A well-polished essay not only meets the required length but also maintains high quality.

Common Pitfalls to Avoid

While these tips can help you make your essay longer, it's important to avoid common pitfalls that can diminish the quality of your work:

Adding unnecessary words or sentences just to increase the word count can weaken your arguments and bore the reader.

Ensure that all additional content is relevant to your topic and supports your thesis statement.

Do not sacrifice clarity for length. Your essay should remain clear and concise, even with the added content.

The Bottom Line

Increasing the length of your essay requires careful consideration and thoughtful expansion of your ideas. By following these strategies, you can effectively make your essay longer while maintaining its quality and coherence. Remember, the goal is to add value to your essay, not just to meet the required word count.

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How Tench Coxe Shaped the Ratification Debates: Essays of A Pennsylvanian

By: Mike Maharrey | Published on: Jul 14, 2024 | Categories: Constitution , Ratification Debates , Tench Coxe

History often overlooks Tench Coxe, but he was one of the most important founding fathers. While the Federalist Papers are celebrated and widely discussed today, Coxe’s essays, written under the pen name “A Pennsylvanian,” had a far greater impact on swaying public opinion during the ratification debates. 

But they’re almost completely ignored today.

Distributed widely beyond Pennsylvania, Coxe’s work directly addressed the opposition’s concerns and became crucial ammunition for ratification efforts in many states.

Pennsylvania ratified the Constitution on Dec. 12, 1787. Six days later, a majority of the delegates who opposed ratification issued a public statemen t titled “The Address and Reasons of Dissent of the Minority of the Convention of the State of Pennsylvania.”  

Like most Anti-federalist writings , the dissent focused on the prospect of consolidation, arguing that the Constitution would allow the federal government to grow too centralized and powerful. It specifically cited the general welfare and necessary and proper clauses as avenues for tyranny. 

Coxe took up his pen and wrote a number of essays rebutting the Anti-federalist arguments. In February 1788, the Pennsylvania Gazette published four under the pen name “A Pennsylvanian.”

While these essays were obviously too late to impact the outcome of the Pennsylvania ratifying convention, they were widely read in states that had yet to ratify. For example, James Madison distributed the essays throughout Virginia. 

Professor Jacob E. Cooke, a prominent Coxe biographer, described the Pennsylvanian essays as “ Coxe’s most noteworthy contribution to the ratification debate ,” adding that they “invite comparison to the best of the literature spawned by that controversy, including the Federalist essays. ”

CONSOLIDATION AND FEAR

Throughout his essays, Coxe primarily attacked the Anti-federalist worries about consolidation.

The fear was the Constitution would allow the federal government to centralize power. Ultimately, anti-federalists worried that this would annihilate the states and render them powerless in the face of an all-powerful national government. During the Virginia ratifying convention, Patrick Henry called the dangers of consolidation “the most destructive.”

Coxe summarized these Anti-federalist fears, writing that “ the proposed constitution will annihilate the legislative, executive and judicial powers of the several states ” was “ the great ground, on which all the fears of the opposition rest in Pennsylvania, and throughout the union. ”

However, he argued this fear was unfounded because so many government functions were left outside of the federal sphere. 

“The legislature of each state must possess, exclusively of Congress, many powers, which the latter can never exercise.”

In the first two essays, Coxe also focused on internal factions in Pennsylvania, writing, “You well know, my countrymen, the unhappy and baneful party contentions which have distracted Pennsylvania.”

The implication was that much of their opposition to the ratification of the Constitution was rooted in party politics.

DELEGATED AND RESERVED

He went on to itemize many powers that remained with the states. These fit into several categories.

For instance, Coxe said states would retain most powers relating to infrastructure, including “the improvement of the country by general roads, canals, bridges, clearing rivers, erecting ferries, building state houses, town halls, court houses, market houses, county gaols [jails—ed.], poor houses, places of worship, state and county schools and hospitals. ”

Coxe also said the states would retain police powers, including the authority to “ prescribe the various punishments that shall be inflicted for disorders, riots, assaults, larcenies, bigamy, arson, burglaries, murders, state treason, and many other offences against their peace and dignity, which, being in no way subjected to the jurisdiction of the federal legislature, would go unpunished. ”

And of course, the federal government was to have no power over the internal administration of the state. This included civil and criminal matters, elections, and more. “They can create new state offices, and abolish old ones; regulate descents of lands, and the distribution of the other property of persons dying intestate; provide for calling out the militia, for any purpose within the state; prescribe the qualifications of electors of the state, and even of the federal representatives; make donations of lands; erect new state courts; incorporate societies for the purposes of religion, learning, policy or profit; erect counties, cities, towns and boroughs; divide an extensive territory into two governments; declare what offenses shall be impeachable in the states, and the pains and penalties that shall be consequent on conviction; and elect the federal senators.”

All of these powers would be reserved to  the states and could be exercised by them “independent of the control or interference of the federal government .” 

Coxe argued that would make it impossible for the federal government to swallow up the states. 

“How then can it be said, that they will be absorbed by the Congress, who can interfere in few or none of those matters, though they are absolutely necessary to the preservation of society and the existence of both the federal and state governments.”

POWER OF THE SWORD

Coxe also addressed worries that the “power of the sword” was solely in the hands of Congress. He countered that the sword was truly in the hands of “the yeomanry of America from sixteen to 60.”

By this, he meant the militia, and he believed it was an essential first line of defense for the United States.

Coxe wrote, “The militia of these free commonwealths, entitled and accustomed to their arms, when compared with any possible army, must be tremendous and irresistible.”

And who makes up the militia? 

As Coxe pointed out, it is the people themselves.

“ Is it feared, then, that we shall turn our arms each man against his own bosom?”

In other words, Coxe argued that since the militia is the people, it is not ultimately a threat to the people. 

Furthermore, Coxe pointed out, “ Congress have no power to disarm the militia.”

Again, that power is in the hands of the people. Coxe argued this wasn’t just a constitutional issue, it was their natural right.

“Their swords, and every other terrible implement of the soldier, are the birth-right of an American.”

RELIGIOUS LIBERTY

In the fourth essay, Coxe took on the charge that the Constitution would endanger religious liberty.

“The most careful examination of the powers to be vested in Congress will not enable us to discover one clause, by which the fœderal legislature can interfere in religious affairs.”

Fundamentally, Coxe was arguing that the federal government would only possess the powers delegated to it. 

Given that there are no delegated powers relating to religious liberty, that power would be left to the state governments. As Coxe put it, “ The Convention have carefully avoided investing them with any authority of that nature .”

He went on to write, “ Here, we cannot omit to observe, is an highly important and influential power, remaining with the state governments. ”

STATES TO RETAIN THEIR POWER

Coxe summed up the differences between the federal and state governments, arguing that they are entirely different entities with different purposes and powers. “The federal government and the state governments are neither co-ordinate, co-equal, nor even similar. They are of different natures.”

He went on to contrast the two types of governments.

“The general government is fœderal, or a union of sovereignties, for special purposes. The state governments are social, or an association of individuals, for all the purposes of society and government.”

Coxe conceded that the “greater” could swallow up the “lesser,” but he argued that if that was true, “ let the federal government take care, for it is surely less powerful than the state governments combined .”

“Without the state governments, that of the union can have no power, since the latter is created by them—but the state governments have and ever must have much separate and independent power, and do not derive, from the fœderal government, any part of what they possess.”

Coxe echoed many of the arguments advanced by other Federalists. He insisted the federal government wouldn’t become dangerously oversized because the Constitution strictly limited its power. He was convinced that this careful division of power would guard against consolidation.

With their wide circulation and persuasive arguments, it’s undeniable Coxe’s essays influenced ratification in other states. His assurances almost certainly moved some fence-sitters to vote for ratification.

This is significant because it reveals the extent of the power people believed they were delegating to the federal government. This was how supporters of the Constitution sold the document and served as the basis for ratification. 

This being the case, Coxe’s essays provide strong evidence that the federal government has dramatically overstepped its constitutional limits. 

Tags: A Pennsylvanian , Consolidation , Federalism , Federalists , ratification debates , Tench Coxe

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Publication - Iranian Art from the Sasanians to the Islamic Republic: Essays in Honour of Linda Komaroff (Edinburgh, 2024)

We are pleased to announce the publication of Iranian Art from the Sasanians to the Islamic Republic: Essays in Honour of Linda Komaroff , edited by Sheila S. Blair, Jonathan M. Bloom, and Sandra S. Williams for Edinburgh University Press. 

Linda Komaroff, long-time curator of the Art of the Middle East at the Los Angeles County Museum of Art (LACMA), has pioneered in the study and exhibition of Islamic art to include contemporary works. Her interests have long focused on the arts of Iran. With this volume her friends and colleagues celebrate her broad scope with essays exploring many new areas. These 13 essays examine different media, including architecture, manuscripts, portable arts and textiles, as well as the contemporary arts of painting, photography, printmaking and video, from the early Islamic period to the present. In addition to traditional approaches to art-historical scholarship, such as textual analysis, connoisseurship, design, technical and material analysis, and archaeology, the contributors take on such newer themes as gift giving, the diaspora of Iranian art, political art, the relationship of the present to the past or vice versa, and the connections between Iranian art and the arts of the West. Some essays also deal with music and dance. Contents include:

INTRODUCTION: Celebrating the Career, Writings and Exhibitions of Linda Komaroff CHAPTER 1 A Mongol Historian Looks at Art: Abu’l Qasim Kashani’s Description of Sultaniyya Sheila Blair and Wheeler M. Thackston CHAPTER 2 From Memory to Drawing: The Evolution of Islamic Design Jonathan M. Bloom CHAPTER 3 A Reflection on Armour of Then and Now Filiz Çakır Phillip CHAPTER 4 Allusive Expressions: Siah Armajani’s Persian-period Collages (1957–1964) Maryam Ekhtiar CHAPTER 5 Ceramic Decals on Minaʾi Wares John Hirx CHAPTER 6 An Overview of Islamic Artefacts Brought to Pre-Modern Japan: Glass, Ceramics, Textiles, Metalwork and Calligraphy Tomoko Masuya CHAPTER 7 The Baysunghur Kutubkhana and Emulation in the Arts of the Book Bernard O’Kane CHAPTER 8 Shahpour Pouyan Venetia Porter CHAPTER 9 Musical Life in Seventeenth-Century Isfahan Amir Hosein Pourjavady and Shadi Shafiei Javadi CHAPTER 10 Gift-giving between Iran and Iberia from Timur to Tahmasp Marianna Shreve Simpson CHAPTER 11 A Speculation on the Design of the Ardabil Carpets Tim Stanley CHAPTER 12 Minaʾi from Fustat: An Iranian Spoke in a Fatimid Ceramic Wheel Oliver Watson CHAPTER 13 A Queer Palimpsest: Historical Layers in Salman Toor’s The Bar on East 13th Street Sandra S. Williams Appendix: Linda Komaroff: Selected Bibliography  

The volume is available for preorder here: https://edinburghuniversitypress.com/book-iranian-art-from-the-sasanians-to-the-islamic-republic.html .

Please feel free to use the discount code NEW30 for 30% off the list price.

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