CUT ALONG DASHED GUIDE LINE
Design by Danielle Knight (Study All Knight), 2014
Shakespeare, About Othello, Themes
CUT ALONG DASHED GUIDELINE
(born 1564; died 1616) was an English poet and playwright, widely regarded as the greatest writer
in the English language and the world's preeminent dramatist. He is often called England's national
poet and the "Bard of Avon". His surviving works, including some collaborations, consist of 38 plays,
154 sonnets, two long narrative poems, and several other poems. His plays have been translated
into every major living language and are performed more often than those of any other playwright.
Shakespeare was born and raised in Stratford-upon-Avon. At the age of 18, he married Anne Hathaway, who bore him three
children: Susanna, and twins Hamnet and Judith. Between 1585 and 1592, he began a successful career in London as an actor,
writer, and part owner of a playing company called the Lord Chamberlain's Men, later known as the King's Men. He appears to
have retired to Stratford around 1613, where he died three years later. Few records of Shakespeare's private life survive, and
there has been considerable speculation about such matters as his physical appearance, sexuality, religious beliefs, and
whether the works attributed to him were written by others.
Shakespeare produced most of his known work between 1589 and 1613. His early plays were mainly comedies and histories,
genres he raised to the peak of sophistication and artistry by the end of the sixteenth century. He then wrote mainly tragedies
until about 1608, including Hamlet, King Lear, and Macbeth, considered some of the finest works in the English language.
Many of his plays were published in editions of varying quality and accuracy during his lifetime. In 1623, two of his former
theatrical colleagues published the First Folio, a collected edition of his dramatic works that included all but two of the plays
now recognized as Shakespeare's.
It’s a tragedy…
In everyday life, the word ‘tragedy’ is used very differently
from the way it is used in a Shakespearean play. It is often
used to refer to a sad or dreadful event or disaster. We see
examples in the news all the time of events that are
described as being tragedies.
Consider three recent events that you have read or
heard about in the news that have been described as
Sometimes the term ‘tragedy’ is used as a way of
exaggerating an event or experiences that is inconvenient
or unexpected and is used to describe situations that are
not “life and death”.
Example: The way she dressed was an absolute tragedy.
• Othello…is a tragedy by William Shakespeare, believed
to have been written in approximately 1603, and based
on the Italian short story , “A Moorish Captain“ by
Cinthio, a disciple of Boccaccio, first published in 1565.
• The work revolves around four central
characters: Othello, a Moorish general in the
Venetian army; his wife, Desdemona; his
lieutenant, Cassio; and his trusted ensign, Iago.
• Because of its varied and current themes of
racism, love, jealousy, and betrayal, Othello is
still often performed in professional and
community theatres alike and has been the
basis for numerous operatic, film, and literary