"Othello" is a major Shakespearean text, studied widely and often adapted for film and TV and especially challenging for a multicultural society. "Othello" lends itself to criticism through discussion of the major characters although this study will also focus on recent criticism's analysis of the characters as 'signifiers'. The study of the key characters takes the discussion of the text immediately into the central issues of 'otherness', gender, race and power. The guide includes: an introductory overview of the text, including a brief discussion of the background to the play including its publishing and reception history; an overview of the narrative structure; chapters discussing in detail the representation of the key characters including Othello, Iago and Desdemona as well as the more minor characters; a conclusion reminding students of the links between the characters and the key themes and issues and a guide to further reading."Character Studies" aims to promote sophisticated literary analysis through the concept of character.
It demonstrates the necessity of linking character analysis to texts' themes, issues and ideas, and encourages students to embrace the complexity of literary characters and the texts in which they appear. The series thus fosters close critical reading and evidence-based discussion, as well as an engagement with historical context, and with literary criticism and theory.
Nicholas Potter is the Head of School of Humanities and Performing Arts and lectures in English at Swansea Institute, UK.