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A Guide to Teaching Othello

Christine Sweeney | Wednesday February 16, 2011

Categories: Drama, Othello, Hot Entries, Shakespeare, Shakespeare's Plays, EDEXCEL A Level English Literature, 6ET02, AQA A Level English Literature A, LITA4, OCR A Level English Literature, F663, KS5 Archive, AQA A Level, EDEXCEL A Level, OCR A Level

Associated Resources

How to improve grades when writing for Othello

This EnglishEdu guide on Shakespeare’s popular A Level play, Othello, aims to supplement rather than replace other readily available Internet and printed material for the teaching of the play.

The guide explores the issues, themes and characters in the play that are particularly relevant to the current (2010) A Level Literature specifications. To add to the usefulness, and with an eye to the central AO requirement of close textual analysis of form, structure and language, each exploration gives close textual references for each statement and provides alternative views with the intent of assisting teachers in guiding their students through text-based explorations of the issues, themes and characters. Suggested tasks are also occasionally offered.

  • The guide also suggests how you might find free Othello resources on the internet and points you to some useful lesson plans and schemes which particularly suit the current A level Literature specifications.
  • We also suggest useful sources of critical analysis.

In the section ‘Improving Grades’, the guide offers a sample analysis, guidance on writing a focused critical response; how to include context and alternative viewpoints.

For those teachers looking at what the various examination boards require, a separate guide to the requirements of each specification for the teaching of a Shakespeare play at A Level Literature is available separately on Englishedu.

  • All references in this guide are to the Arden edition of Othello.


  • Sources of schemes, lesson plans and tools
  • Sources of critical reception
  • Overview of the specifications and units
  • The theme of love
  • Other themes
  • The theme of tragedy
  • The Setting
  • Dramatic function and presentation of characters
  • Improving grades

Useful Online Resources

Online Teaching ‘Tools’

A user friendly concordance of Shakespeare’s plays is Folger’s‘Shakespeare Searched’...

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