Resources for the History, Culture, and Gender Stereotypes in Othello

“Death of Desdamona” by Eugene Delacroix.

For Embedded Assessment 1, Unit 3 of the grade 12 English curriculum students are being asked to do the following:

Choose one of the critical lenses you feel allows for the most compelling/accurate/interesting view of Othello. You will use textual evidence to support your argument for either the cultural, feminist, or historical lens.

This Othello Critical Lenses Graphic Organizer with an outline of the three lenses should help to support this process.

The following list of resources will also provide background information about the cultural, historical and gender specific context of the play.

A Cultural Context for Othello” from Shakespeare Theatre Company

  • Has information on the history, culture and stereotypes of the time period

“Cultural Context: Elizabethan Era” and “Othello Historical Information Context Sheet” from MsNGPrelimaryEnglish

  • The PDF files of these documents are available from this website (see links)
  • Has information on the history, culture, and racial and gender stereotypes of the time period

Othello, the Moore of Venice” from the Marin Theater Company

  • Has information on Othello’s character as an outsider in society and the impossibility if his success in his relationship with Desdamona

1500-1600 End of the Renaissance and the Reformation” from Khana Academy

  • Gives a historical context for Venice in the 1500’s (the time period in which the play was placed)

Elizabethan England” from

  • Has Information on the role of women in Elizabethan England

Adultery” and “Chastising Bad Women” from Duke

  • Has information about how women were expected to behave in marriage and what adultery and sexuality meant to men and women

Rights of Women” from UMBC

  • Has information about how women were seen in the Elizabethan era

Please feel free to give the link or the name of this article to students for easy access to the resources, or you can download and pass out this handout to them if you prefer:

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