Othello Lesson Plan

Instructor: Kevin Newton

Kevin has edited encyclopedias, taught history, and has an MA in Islamic law/finance. He has since founded his own financial advice firm, Newton Analytical.

Themes of jealousy, loyalty, and passion are explored in this lesson plan on Othello, one of the most well-known of Shakespeare's tragedies. Additionally, it also follows the plot, allowing students to see each theme in action after they have read the play.

Lesson Objectives

After this lesson, your students should be able to:

  • discuss and summarize Othello
  • analyze the characters of Othello and their motivations


  • 35 minutes for discussion plus 35 minutes for the activity


  • This lesson plan is designed for students that have read the play.

Curriculum Standards


Determine two or more themes or central ideas of a text and analyze their development over the course of the text, including how they interact and build on one another to produce a complex account; provide an objective summary of the text.


Analyze the impact of the author's choices regarding how to develop and relate elements of a story or drama (e.g., where a story is set, how the action is ordered, how the characters are introduced and developed).

Key Terms

  • Othello
  • Desdemona
  • Iago
  • Roderigo
  • Cassio
  • Tragedy


  • Before starting this lesson, ask your class the following question:
    • When someone tells you gossip about your friends, do you believe it?
  • Discuss this for a few minutes and how it relates to Othello.
  • Watch the lesson: The Tragedy of Othello: Summary, Analysis, & Quotes and discuss the following questions, stopping at the marked points:
    • 3:22: What are the reasons behind Iago going after Othello? You can have students list these in their note books or create a master list on the board.
    • 5:35: How does Othello change throughout the play? What aspects would characterize this play as a tragedy? Again have students create a list in their note books or create a master list on the board.
    • 8:42: What does Iago mean by the green eyed monster when speaking to Othello?

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