Some of you asked me if I like the play Othello, and I told you I got to liking it a lot this past summer when I researched the issue of race in performance. I thought you might be interested to see the paper I wrote about race in performances of the play. It is one example of how to incorporate research into your English papers, which you will need to start doing once you get to college.
To Activate It, Explode It, or Ignore It
Race in Othello Productions of the 20th Century
By Betsy Potash
Many different readings of race lie locked in the script of Shakespeare’s Othello. In one, race hardly matters, as a husband succumbs to jealousy and destroys his wife. In another, racism spreads insidiously from the character of Iago, infecting Brabantio, Roderigo, Emilia and Othello himself. In still another, Othello is simply different, perhaps proudly so, representing in some ways the history of millions of outsiders who try to join a homogenous community. Different generations, different directors, different actors all activate or deactivate race at different levels, depending on their personal and cultural contexts. When it comes to reading Othello, contemporary history is the most relevant factor in the interpretation of race on stage.
Read the rest here if you're interested.