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This content is taken from the University of Birmingham & Royal Shakespeare Company's online course, Othello: In Performance. Join the course to learn more.

Skip to 0 minutes and 6 seconds JACQUI O’HANLON: Welcome back to the fourth and final week of the course. During this week, we’ll be hearing from Dr. Anjana Chouhan from the Shakespeare Birthplace Trust. And she’ll be helping us to explore the tragic nature of Othello, particularly focusing on the ending of the play. Focusing on the idea of the play as a tragedy, Anjana will be discussing some of the following ideas. First of all, the different critical readings of the play as a tragedy. Then the context of play, and how its tragic nature has been influenced by the time in which it was written. Then she’ll look at the language in the text, and how it builds to the play’s tragic ending.

Skip to 0 minutes and 48 seconds And finally, we’ll look at the way in which the RSC’s current production presents the tragic ending of the play, specifically looking at Act Five, Scene Two, with Iqbal Khan and the acting company. As you work through this week, consider the questions Anjana puts forward. And which character’s journey do you consider to be the most tragic? Don’t forget to get involved in the discussion boards. And do let us know what you think. I really hope you enjoy discovering more about the tragic nature of the play and the debates that are going to take place around that. Thank you so much for joining us throughout this course.


Welcome to Week 4 of the course where we will be exploring the form of tragedy and the tragic trajectory of the characters in Shakespeare’s Othello. As part of this we will be exploring the definition of tragedy and how the play’s perception as a tragedy has changed throughout its history. We will also consider how the RSC’s current production operates as a modern tragedy.

Over the week Dr Anjna Chouhan from the Shakespeare Birthplace Trust will be asking questions about the genre and how Othello both conforms to and differs from other tragedies, looking at its treatment over time and at the text itself.

You will also get the chance to take a closer look at the impact of the tragic ending in Act 5 Scene 2, with insights from the RSC 2015 acting company and director Iqbal Khan.

Before continuing with the week you may want to take a look at the following for an overview of Shakespearean tragedy.

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This video is from the free online course:

Othello: In Performance

University of Birmingham