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About the Author
William Shakespeare (1564–1616) was a poet, playwright, and actor who is widely regarded as one of the most influential writers in the history of the English language. Often referred to as the Bard of Avon, Shakespeare's vast body of work includes comedic, tragic, and historical plays; poems; and 154 sonnets. His dramatic works have been translated into every major language and are performed more often than those of any other playwright.
Date of Death:2018
Place of Birth:Stratford-upon-Avon, United Kingdom
Place of Death:Stratford-upon-Avon, United Kingdom
Read an Excerpt
By William Shakespeare
Oldcastle BooksCopyright © 2014 William Shakespeare
All rights reserved.
ACT I, SCENE I
Venice. A street.
Enter RODERIGO and IAGO.
RODERIGO Tush, never tell me, I take it much unkindly That thou, Iago, who hast had my purse As if the strings were thine, shouldst know of this.
IAGO 'Sblood, but you will not hear me. If ever I did dream Of such a matter, abhor me.
RODERIGO Thou told'st me Thou didst hold him in thy hate.
IAGO Despise me If I do not. Three great ones of the city, In personal suit to make me his lieutenant, Off-capped to him, and, by the faith of man I know my price, I am worth no worse a place. But he, as loving his own pride and purposes, Evades them, with a bombast circumstance Horribly stuffed with epithets of war, And in conclusion Nonsuits my mediators. For, 'Certes,' says he, 'I have already chose my officer.' And what was he? Forsooth, a great arithmetician, One Michael Cassio, a Florentine, A fellow almost damned in a fair wife That never set a squadron in the field Nor the division of a battle knows More than a spinster – unless the bookish theoric, Wherein the toged consuls can propose As masterly as he. Mere prattle without practice Is all his soldiership – but he, sir, had th'election And I, of whom his eyes had seen the proof At Rhodes, at Cyprus, and on other grounds, Christian and heathen, must be be-leed and calmed By debitor and creditor. This counter-caster He, in good time, must his lieutenant be And I, God bless the mark, his Moorship's ancient!
RODERIGO By heaven, I rather would have been his hangman.
IAGO Why, there's no remedy, 'tis the curse of service: Preferment goes by letter and affection And not by old gradation, where each second Stood heir to th' first. Now sir, be judge yourself Whether I in any just term am affined To love the Moor.
RODERIGO I would not follow him then.
IAGO O sir, content you! I follow him to serve my turn upon him. We cannot all be masters, nor all masters Cannot be truly followed. You shall mark Many a duteous and knee-crooking knave That, doting on his own obsequious bondage, Wears out his time much like his master's ass For nought but provender, and, when he's old, cashiered. Whip me such honest knaves! Others there are Who, trimmed in forms and visages of duty, Keep yet their hearts attending on themselves And, throwing but shows of service on their lords, Do well thrive by them, and, when they have lined their coats, Do themselves homage: these fellows have some soul And such a one do I profess myself. For, sir, It is as sure as you are Roderigo, Were I the Moor, I would not be Iago. In following him, I follow but myself: Heaven is my judge, not I for love and duty But seeming so for my peculiar end, For when my outward action doth demonstrate The native act and figure of my heart In complement extern, 'tis not long after But I will wear my heart upon my sleeve For daws to peck at: I am not what I am.
RODERIGO What a full fortune does the thick lips owe If he can carry't thus!
IAGO Call up her father, Rouse him, make after him, poison his delight, Proclaim him in the streets, incense her kinsmen, And, though he in a fertile climate dwell, Plague him with flies! Though that his joy be joy Yet throw such changes of vexation on't As it may lose some color.
RODERIGO Here is her father's house, I'll call aloud.
IAGO Do, with like timorous accent and dire yell As when by night and negligence the fire Is spied in populous cities.
RODERIGO What, ho! Brabantio, Signior Brabantio ho!
IAGO Awake, what ho, Brabantio! Thieves! Thieves! Thieves! Look to your house, your daughter, and your bags! Thieves, thieves!
BRABANTIO appears above at a window.
BRABANTIO What is the reason of this terrible summons? What is the matter there?
RODERIGO Signior, is all your family within?
IAGO Are your doors locked?
BRABANTIO Why, wherefore ask you this?
IAGO Zounds, sir, you're robbed, for shame, put on your gown! Your heart is burst, you have lost half your soul, Even now, now, very now, an old black ram Is tupping your white ewe! Arise, arise, Awake the snorting citizens with the bell Or else the devil will make a grandsire of you, Arise I say!
BRABANTIO What, have you lost your wits?
RODERIGO Most reverend signior, do you know my voice?
BRABANTIO Not I, what are you?
RODERIGO My name is Roderigo.
BRABANTIO The worser welcome! I have charged thee not to haunt about my doors: In honest plainness thou hast heard me say My daughter is not for thee; and now in madness, Being full of supper and distempering draughts, Upon malicious bravery dost thou come To start my quiet?
RODERIGO Sir, sir, sir, –
BRABANTIO But thou must needs be sure My spirit and my place have in them power To make this bitter to thee.
RODERIGO Patience, good sir!
BRABANTIO What tell'st thou me of robbing? This is Venice: My house is not a grange.
RODERIGO Most grave Brabantio, In simple and pure soul I come to you –
IAGO Zounds, sir, you are one of those that will not serve God, if the devil bid you. Because we come to do you service, and you think we are ruffians, you'll have your daughter covered with a Barbary horse; you'll have your nephews neigh to you, you'll have coursers for cousins and jennets for germans!
BRABANTIO What profane wretch art thou?
IAGO I am one, sir, that comes to tell you your daughter and the Moor are now making the beast with two backs.
BRABANTIO Thou art a villain!
IAGO You are a senator!
BRABANTIO This thou shalt answer. I know thee, Roderigo!
RODERIGO Sir, I will answer anything. But I beseech you, If 't be your pleasure and most wise consent, As partly I find it is, that your fair daughter At this odd-even and dull watch o' th' night, Transported with no worse nor better guard But with a knave of common hire, a gondolier, To the gross clasps of a lascivious Moor – If this be known to you, and your allowance, We then have done you bold and saucy wrongs. But if you know not this, my manners tell me We have your wrong rebuke. Do not believe That, from the sense of all civility I thus would play and trifle with your reverence. Your daughter, if you have not given her leave, I say again, hath made a gross revolt, Tying her duty, beauty, wit, and fortunes In an extravagant and wheeling stranger Of here and everywhere. Straight satisfy yourself: If she be in her chamber or your house Let loose on me the justice of the state For thus deluding you.
BRABANTIO Strike on the tinder, ho! Give me a taper, call up all my people. This accident is not unlike my dream, Belief of it oppresses me already. Light, I say, light!
IAGO Farewell, for I must leave you. It seems not meet, nor wholesome to my place, To be produced, as, if I stay, I shall, Against the Moor. For I do know the state, However this may gall him with some check, Cannot with safety cast him, for he's embarked With such loud reason to the Cyprus wars, Which even now stand in act, that for their souls Another of his fathom they have none To lead their business – in which regard, Though I do hate him as I do hell-pains, Yet, for necessity of present life I must show out a flag and sign of love, Which is indeed but sign. That you shall surely find him, Lead to the Sagittary the raised search, And there will I be with him. So farewell.
Enter BRABANTIO in his night-gown and servants with torches.
BRABANTIO It is too true an evil, gone she is, And what's to come of my despised time Is nought but bitterness. Now Roderigo, Where didst thou see her? – O unhappy girl! – With the Moor, say'st thou? – Who would be a father? – How didst thou know 'twas she? – O, she deceives me Past thought! – What said she to you? – Get more tapers, Raise all my kindred. Are they married, think you?
RODERIGO Truly, I think they are.
BRABANTIO O heaven, how got she out? O treason of the blood! – Fathers, from hence trust not your daughters' minds By what you see them act. – Is there not charms By which the property of youth and maidhood May be abused? Have you not read, Roderigo, Of some such thing?
RODERIGO Yes sir, I have indeed.
BRABANTIO Call up my brother. – O, would you had had her! Some one way, some another. – Do you know Where we may apprehend her and the Moor?
RODERIGO I think I can discover him, if you please To get good guard and go along with me.
BRABANTIO Pray you lead on. At every house I'll call, I may command at most: get weapons, ho! And raise some special officers of night. On, good Roderigo, I'll deserve your pains.
ACT I, SCENE II
Venice. Another street.
Enter OTHELLO, IAGO, and attendants with torches.
IAGO Though in the trade of war I have slain men Yet do I hold it very stuff o' th' conscience To do no contrived murder: I lack iniquity Sometimes to do me service. Nine or ten times I had thought t'have yerked him here, under the ribs.
OTHELLO 'Tis better as it is.
IAGO Nay, but he prated And spoke such scurvy and provoking terms Against your honour, That, with the little godliness I have I did full hard forbear him. But I pray, sir, Are you fast married? Be assured of this, That the magnifico is much beloved And hath in his effect a voice potential As double as the duke's: he will divorce you Or put upon you what restraint and grievance The law, with all his might to enforce it on, Will give him cable.
OTHELLO Let him do his spite; My services, which I have done the signiory, Shall out-tongue his complaints. 'Tis yet to know – Which, when I know that boasting is an honour, I shall promulgate – I fetch my life and being From men of royal siege, and my demerits May speak unbonneted to as proud a fortune As this that I have reached. For know, Iago, But that I love the gentle Desdemona I would not my unhoused free condition Put into circumscription and confine
For the sea's worth. But, look! what lights come yond?
Enter CASSIO, with officers and torches.
IAGO Those are the raised father and his friends, You were best go in.
OTHELLO Not I, I must be found. My parts, my title, and my perfect soul Shall manifest me rightly. Is it they?
IAGO By Janus, I think no.
OTHELLO The servants of the duke? and my lieutenant? The goodness of the night upon you, friends. What is the news?
CASSIO The duke does greet you, general, And he requires your haste-post-haste appearance Even on the instant.
OTHELLO What is the matter, think you?
CASSIO Something from Cyprus, as I may divine; It is a business of some heat. The galleys Have sent a dozen sequent messengers This very night, at one another's heels, And many of the consuls, raised and met, Are at the duke's already. You have been hotly called for, When, being not at your lodging to be found, The Senate hath sent about three several quests To search you out.
OTHELLO 'Tis well I am found by you: I will but spend a word here in the house And go with you.
CASSIO Ancient, what makes he here?
IAGO Faith, he tonight hath boarded a land carrack: If it prove lawful prize, he's made forever.
CASSIO I do not understand.
IAGO He's married.
CASSIO To whom?
IAGO Marry, to –
Come, captain, will you go?
OTHELLO Ha' with you.
CASSIO Here comes another troop to seek for you. Enter BRABANTIO, RODERIGO, with officers and torches and weapons.
IAGO It is Brabantio: general, be advised, He comes to bad intent.
OTHELLO Holla, stand there!
RODERIGO Signior, it is the Moor.
BRABANTIO Down with him, thief! [They draw on both sides.]
IAGO You, Roderigo! Come sir, I am for you.
OTHELLO Keep up your bright swords, for the dew will rust them. Good signior, you shall more command with years Than with your weapons.
BRABANTIO O thou foul thief, where hast thou stowed my daughter? Damned as thou art, thou hast enchanted her, For I'll refer me to all things of sense, If she in chains of magic were not bound, Whether a maid so tender fair and happy, So opposite to marriage that she shunned The wealthy curled darlings of our nation, Would ever have, t'incur a general mock, Run from her guardage to the sooty bosom Of such a thing as thou? To fear, not to delight. Judge me the world, if 'tis not gross in sense That thou hast practised on her with foul charms, Abused her delicate youth with drugs or minerals That weakens motion: I'll have't disputed on, 'Tis probable, and palpable to thinking. I therefore apprehend and do attach thee For an abuser of the world, a practiser Of arts inhibited and out of warrant. Lay hold upon him; if he do resist Subdue him at his peril!
OTHELLO Hold your hands, Both you of my inclining and the rest: Were it my cue to fight, I should have known it Without a prompter. Where will you that I go To answer this your charge?
BRABANTIO To prison, till fit time Of law, and course of direct session Call thee to answer.
OTHELLO What if I do obey? How may the duke be therewith satisfied, Whose messengers are here about my side Upon some present business of the state, To bring me to him?
OFFICER 'Tis true, most worthy signior, The duke's in council, and your noble self I am sure is sent for.
BRABANTIO How? The duke in council? In this time of the night? Bring him away: Mine's not an idle cause, the duke himself, Or any of my brothers of the state, Cannot but feel this wrong as 'twere their own. For if such actions may have passage free Bond-slaves and pagans shall our statesmen be.
ACT I, SCENE III
Venice. A council chamber.
Enter DUKE and Senators, set at a table, with lights and attendants.
DUKE There is no composition in these news That gives them credit.
FIRST SENATOR Indeed, they are disproportioned. My letters say a hundred and seven galleys.
DUKE And mine a hundred and forty.
SECOND SENATOR And mine two hundred. But though they jump not on a just account – As in these cases, where the aim reports, 'Tis oft with difference – yet do they all confirm A Turkish fleet, and bearing up to Cyprus.
DUKE Nay, it is possible enough to judgement: I do not so secure me in the error But the main article I do approve In fearful sense.
SAILOR [within] What ho, what ho, what ho!
OFFICER A messenger from the galleys.
DUKE Now? What's the business?
SAILOR The Turkish preparation makes for Rhodes, So was I bid report here to the state By Signior Angelo.
DUKE How say you by this change?
FIRST SENATOR This cannot be, By no assay of reason: 'tis a pageant To keep us in false gaze. When we consider Th'importancy of Cyprus to the Turk, And let ourselves again but understand That as it more concerns the Turk than Rhodes, So may he with more facile question bear it, For that it stands not in such warlike brace, But altogether lacks th'abilities That Rhodes is dressed in. If we make thought of this We must not think the Turk is so unskilful To leave that latest which concerns him first, Neglecting an attempt of ease and gain To wake and wage a danger profitless.
DUKE Nay, in all confidence, he's not for Rhodes.
OFFICER Here is more news.
Enter a Messenger.
MESSENGER The Ottomites, reverend and gracious, Steering with due course toward the isle of Rhodes, Have there injointed them with an after fleet –
FIRST SENATOR Ay, so I thought; how many, as you guess?
MESSENGER Of thirty sail; and now they do re-stem Their backward course, bearing with frank appearance Their purposes toward Cyprus. Signior Montano, Your trusty and most valiant servitor, With his free duty recommends you thus And prays you to relieve him.
DUKE 'Tis certain, then, for Cyprus. Marcus Luccicos, is not he in town?
FIRST SENATOR He's now in Florence.
DUKE Write from us to him; post-post-haste, despatch.
FIRST SENATOR Here comes Brabantio and the valiant Moor.
Enter BRABANTIO, OTHELLO, CASSIO, IAGO, RODERIGO and officers.
DUKE Valiant Othello, we must straight employ you Against the general enemy Ottoman. [to Brabantio] I did not see you: welcome, gentle signior, We lacked your counsel and your help tonight.
BRABANTIO So did I yours. Good your grace, pardon me, Neither my place nor aught I heard of business Hath raised me from my bed, nor doth the general care Take hold on me, for my particular grief Is of so flood-gate and o'erbearing nature That it engluts and swallows other sorrows And it is still itself.
DUKE Why? What's the matter?
BRABANTIO My daughter, O my daughter!
FIRST SENATOR Dead?
BRABANTIO Ay, to me: She is abused, stolen from me and corrupted By spells and medicines bought of mountebanks, For nature so preposterously to err Being not deficient, blind, or lame of sense, Sans witchcraft could not.
DUKE Whoe'er he be, that in this foul proceeding Hath thus beguiled your daughter of herself, And you of her, the bloody book of law You shall yourself read, in the bitter letter, After your own sense, yea, though our proper son Stood in your action.
BRABANTIO Humbly I thank your grace. Here is the man, this Moor, whom now it seems Your special mandate for the state affairs Hath hither brought.
ALL We are very sorry for't.
DUKE [to Othello] What in your own part can you say to this?
BRABANTIO Nothing, but this is so.
Excerpted from Othello by William Shakespeare. Copyright © 2014 William Shakespeare. Excerpted by permission of Oldcastle Books.
All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.
Excerpts are provided by Dial-A-Book Inc. solely for the personal use of visitors to this web site.
Table of Contents
Othello - William Shakespeare - Edited by Alvin Kernank Samuel Taylor Coleridge: [Comments on 'Othello']
Maynard Mack: The Jacobean Shakespeare: Some Observations on the Construction of the Tragedies
Madelon Gholke Sprengnether: 'I wooed thee with my sword': Shakespeare's Tragic Paradigms
Sylvan Barnet: 'Othello' on the Stage and Screen
NEWLY ADDED ESSAYS:
Marvin Carlson: Othello in Vienna, 1991
Most Helpful Customer Reviews
This review is not of Othello itself (which is tremendously good), but rather on this edition of Othello (ISBN: 9781411400399), which was edited by Daniel Vitkus and David Scott Kastan. I read a lot of heavily annotated books, and I have to say that the Barnes & Noble Shakespeare editions have one of the best book designs I've ever encountered. The various references materials (footnotes and definitions for archaic words) appear in a manner that makes the text very easy to follow. The scholarship is also top-notch. The annotations give you enough to make things clear without insulting your intelligence, or without overburdening you with unnecessary detail. The essays are also interesting and informative. I've been avoiding Shakespeare ever since high school, which was many years ago. Now that I'm reading him again, I'm glad I'm in such good hands. It is making the experience a joy, rather than a chore. My compliments to the editors and the book designer. They have done a superior job of making this difficult text accessible to the modern reader. Highly recommended.
Why give samples of books if the sample is only the introduction or publishers notes? It gives no sample of the actual story itself, so you have no way of knowing how the story is written to see if you understand it. Very annoying.
The story of Othello is one of Shakespeare's best: Iago is the ultimate antagonist you love to hate. On the one hand, it is fascinating to watch him plot, scheme and set his traps. On the other, you are appalled at how quickly Othello turns on his new wife, just on the word of Iago. Shakespeare is the master! The Folger edition is also a classic. These are the editions I bought as a student, and now that I'm teaching Shakespeare, I was delighted that this was the edition my students requested. The edition combines the Folio version and the Quarto version, indicating those words unique to one version. My (middle school) students enjoy the plot summaries at the beginning of each scene and the definitions of unfamiliar words on the left hand page. Definitely a book to keep in your library.
I absolutely loved Othello. The love between Othello and Desdemona was beyond comprehension. Shakespeare uses beautiful metaphores and use of language that makes us believe the beauty of love, power of hatred and most of all, jealousy. My all time favorite villain is Iago. Shakespeare gives this particular character its own world. The multiple personality of Iago is very frightening that leads to a great tragedy of this play. Throughout the play, Iago builds his way up to the top and explodes leaving his good side behind. A true Shakespeare classic that will never leave your heart.
This is a good book for those who are somewhat familiar with the works of Shakespeare as it provided translation to some of the text (but not all). The beginning gives good insight into Shakespeare.
This play was absolutely amazing. It definitely teaches you the result of jealousy without "ocular proof". A great read. I zoomed by it so fast... finished it in two days. Amazing amazing amazing. This addition is absolutely perfect for Shakespeare beginners. :))) Whoever said his plays were a bore?
Yes, Romeo and Juliet, Hamlet, and Macbeth are indeed more famous plays, but Othello deserves more recognition! It's a delightfully convoluted plot, and the characters are so believable. Plus, the dialogue is beautiful, and it deals with a problem relevant to today's society:racism. So, yeah, read this play.
The play itself was rich as expected. It is the informative background provided by the Folger edition that allows for a more satisfying experience.
Iago is EVIL! Just sayin'. Iago is the serpent of Genesis 3 in human form. He is possibly the most evil character of all of literature. Which is why this play is so amazing! I saw this performed on stage at the Oregon Shakespeare Festival, but this is the first time I have ever read the play. It was good to have the visual picture of the blond haired Iago on the black background of the stage with the big, burly, black Othello contrasted on the white part of the stage, and the shift in the colors and lights when Iago gets a hold of Othello's ear. Chilling. I remember all of us who had attended the play sitting, unnerved at the end. It reaches to your heart . . . and rips it out.I think Shakespeare was meant to be heard. So, I listened to this unabridged dramatic version while following along on my Kindle. The host of actors in this were superb. Here is the cast: Othello, The Moor, a general in the service of Venice ¿ Hugh QuarshieDesdemona, a daughter to Brabantio, and wife to Othello ¿ Emma FieldingIago, his ancient, a villain ¿ Anton LesserEmilia, wife to Iago ¿ Patience TomlinsonCassio, his honourable lieutenant/2nd senator ¿ Roger MayBianca, a courtesan, in love with Cassio ¿ Alison PettitDuke of Venice/2nd Gentleman/Herald ¿ Roy SpencerBrabantio, senator, father to Desdemona/3rd Gentleman/Gratiano, brother to Brabantio ¿ Peter YappRoderigo, a Venetian gentleman/1st Gentleman/Sailor (I,iii) ¿ John McAndrewLodovico, kinsman to Brabantio/1st Musician/1st Senator/Messenger (III) ¿ Stephen ThorneMontano, Governor of Cyprus before Othello/Messenger (I,iii)/Clown ¿ Jonathan Keeble
Setting: This play reflects on the love Othello has for his wife on the island of CyprusPlot: Othello's jealous servant Iago schemes to come between the Moor and Desdemona and nearly succeeds.Characters: Othello (protagonist)- a Moor, general in Venice; Desdemona- Othello's wife; Iago (antagonist)- Othello's scheming servant; Cassio- a soldierSymbols: the handkerchiefCharacteristics: a major tragedyResponse: I understood better the performance by reading the play. I also appreciated Shakespeare's clever insights into human nature through all his characters especially Iago.
One of my favourite Shakespeare plays. Had the privilege of playing Desdemona; being in a Shakespeare play really gives you such a feel for what he's trying to convey. As is frequently noted, his messages and metaphors never seem to fade with time. Beautiful.
This is a sad story.Everyone in this story is very poor.Without crying, you can't read this book.
I read Othello in college and really enjoyed it! Even wrote a ten page paper on the motives of Iago. I have actually never "met" a Shakespeare play that I didn't like.
Othello, a moor from Africa, is a well-loved and respected Venetian nobleman. After the beautiful Desdemona falls in love with him, the two wed in secret. Their blissful existence is thrown into chaos as Iago, Othello's personal attendant, begins to plant doubts of Desdemona¿s faithfulness in Othello¿s mind. Iago is one of the most conniving and depraved characters I¿ve ever read. His cold calculating nature is sociopathic. He feels that Othello has slighted him and sets his mind to destroying his life. He moves each pawn to further his plan, all the while maintaining his alleged devotion to Othello and poisoning his thoughts with rumors of jealousy. He does it in such a calm, unbothered way that it¿s all the more disturbing. The worst part of the whole things is that Othello is in the thralls of newly-wedded happiness. He and his wife Desdemona are so incredibly in love and then he acts as the tool for his own destruction. He is manipulated by someone else, but no one truly forces his hand. He allows himself to be persuaded to believe that worst about his wife and causes his own downfall by his lack of faith and trust. I loved the character of Emilia. She¿s Iago¿s wife, but she¿s also Desdemona¿s hand maid. She asks as a conscience for the players, holding them accountable when they have committed a wrong. She stands up for her lady¿s honor when others doubt it. Othello pulls no punches when it comes to the issues it touches on. It deals with marital abuse, racism, trust, jealousy and more. It gives readers a lot to chew on and would be a great book to discuss. I¿ve never seen this one performed live, but I¿m sure it would be incredibly powerful.
This is not my favorite Shakespeare play. I just find it so very sad. Sadder then the other tragedies. I can never get past Desdemona smothered to death. So, while this is great literature I simply cannot like it as it makes me too sad.
Not bad. Shakespeare once again shows his ability to take an age-old story and give it the Bard's Twist. However, I didn't like this story as much as Macbeth--where the magnificent Lady Macbeth helps push her husband to his crimes--nor did I like it as much as Hamlet--where the deep psychological issues rooted in Hamlet's character make him come to life in so many ways.Othello is an interesting character, but lacking in character and nobility.
Perhaps Shakespeare's best romance tragedy.
Whew!I've read this drama at least 3 times; in fact, I teach it every fall semester.I doubt my review will shed anymore life on this tragedy, so I'll go for the gist of it, and how I relate it to 16 year old I-Pod/internet/cellphone/sparknotes/cliff notes instilled with apathy and teenaged-drama inclined students:Iago is just plain wicked, amorally so; he has a real beef about Othello, a well-respected General who has passed him over for a lieutenant's position in favor of Cassio, who has very little if any military experience. Of course, such a choice flies into the face of Iago, and lights the fuse of his quest to destroy Othello.Iago employs that ol'human shortcoming of jealousy, and he does it very well. Iago knows that Othello is open, trusting, loyal, and faithful. These qualities Othello demonstrates to his friends as well as to Desdemona, his wife.From there Iago creates havoc at every turn; you would think early on after setting up Cassio in a brawl with a governor, resulting in Cassio losing his position, and Iago replaces him, that it would end all there, but noooooooooo! That's not good enough for Iago; he has to go to great lengths to manipulate all of those around him to bring Othello to a jealous pile of mush.Anyway, I think this tragedy is very revelant about Othello's racial difference among white society even by today's standards, and how instead of seeing the goodness in others we are only too inclined to not trust even if we have good qualities. Also, there are some real literary gems like "the beast with two backs" and other sexual innuendo which appeals to 16 year old hormonal instincts.Usually of course, I take the easy way out--since my students'attention spans are only geared toward the latest edition of Guitar Hero, I show the 1995 film version with Laurence Fishbourne and Kenneth Branaugh if the students find the actual study of the play or me too much.
Read this for A-Level English and really enjoyed it. I love the story of Othello - my favourite Shakespeare as of yet.Iago is one of the best villains I have ever read - I absolutely loathe him but he is so fascinating. People who can manipulate you psychologically like that, tap into people's weaknesses and use them against people - truly very fascinating.
Beware you are entering heresy: Not one of Bill's best. It was a drag to finsih, Iago's actions seem out of line with motivation, no great set speeches, few memorable lines and Othello's change of heart is too rapid. That said, Shakespeare was a working playwright and it is the academy that has enshrined all his work as great. The Folger Library edition was excellent.
too much talking, not enough happening. This is definitely a play that's better watched than read.
possibly my favorite Shakespeare play. betrayal. destruction. suicide. what more could you need? oh the epitome of artsy fartsy Mr. Shakespeare!
Loved this play from start to finish, thanks largely in part to Iago. His near flawless scheme against his general was absolutely brilliant. Shakespeare's language, is as eloquent as it is insightful, but that's unsurprising. I highly recommend this book to anyone who enjoys a good tale of betrayal.
Othello is one of Shakespeare's greatest tragedies. It stands beside Hamlet, Macbeth and Lear in this regard. Each of these works has its own 'personality' and in Othello this includes the prominence of the title character's antagonist. For it almost seems that this play could have been entitled Iago. Iago demonstrates a superior mind, coldly calculating and planning his actions to achieve his end, the usurpation of Othello. In this he appears to be completely evil. Othello, on the other hand, seems clueless and is easily manipulated. His innocence plays into the hands of Iago. There is much more in this complex drama, including two interesting and intelligent women in Desdemona and Emilia. Emilia stands out as a courageous woman who has been described by some as a "proto-feminist". The conflict between Iago and Othello is stark as Iago's schemes play out. It makes this one of Shakespeare's best plays.