We have read and discussed both Shakespeare’s Othello and Susan Glaspell’s “Trifles.” Choose one of the following prompts to develop an essay of approximately 1200-1500 words (4-5 double-spaced pages, not counting the Works Cited page). You should rely upon the play itself as your primary source, although you are allowed to use scholarly published articles as references as long as you cite your sources following MLA format. (It is not acceptable to reference other student essays you find online, SparkNotes,, Wikipedia, and the like.) Actually, the prompts are written in such a way (and additional information already provided on Canvas) that you really shouldn’t need to use outside sources at all. Save secondary sources for Essays 3 and 4 when you will definitely need them.


Is Othello a racist play, or does it critique racist people? Explain. Be sure to consider what the characters in the play say and do, what stereotypes are employed, and the overall storyline. Your interpretation may likely depend on whether you see Othello as a monstrous fool or as an admirable man who is duped by a very good liar.

Explain whether Othello meets all of the characteristics of the Shakespearean tragic hero. This will require you to determine what is Othello’s one tragic flaw. Is it foolishness or is it jealousy (if jealousy, can that be linked to the idea of pride or, possibly, some internalized racism on his part)? Or is his flaw something else?

This prompt has two parts: (1) Explore the various “trifles” in Glaspell’s play. (What in the play are trifles? Are they really trifles? How are the women’s “trifles” used to solve the motive for the crime?) (2) Is the verdict the women reach for their peer a fair one? Explain why or why not. (Note: this play was also published as a short story with the title “A Jury of Her Peers.”

Here is the website for Othello PDF. You can have a look.

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