Othello
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Othello

3.86 of 5 stars 3.86  ·  rating details  ·  185,089 ratings  ·  2,595 reviews
In Othello, Shakespeare creates a powerful drama of a marriage that begins with fascination (between the exotic Moor Othello and the Venetian lady Desdemona), with elopement, and with intense mutual devotion and that ends precipitately with jealous rage and violent deaths. He sets this story in the romantic world of the Mediterranean, moving the action from Venice to the i...more
Paperback, 314 pages
Published January 1st 2004 by Simon & Schuster (first published 1603)
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Community Reviews

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Madeline
Othello, abridged:

OTHELLO: I love my wife!

IAGO: She gave Cassio her handkerchief.

OTHELLO: OMG THAT CHEATING WHORE!

DESDEMONA: Hi honey!

OTHELLO: I KEEL YOU!

DESDEMONA: *dies*

EMILIA: Dude, what is WRONG with you?

OTHELLO: Huh?

IAGO: Yeah, I totally made that whole wife-is-cheating-on-you thing up. PUNK'D!

OTHELLO: OMG I KILLED MY WIFE FOR NO REASON! I KEEL MYSELF!

and...scene.
Joshua Parkinson
Will you, I pray, demand that demi-devil
Why he hath thus ensnared my soul and body?
-Othello, end of Act V

When I was about 9 years old, I put a healthy, live mouse into my parents' microwave oven. It was a summer day and I was all alone. I had this devilish feeling inside me. I knew it was wrong, but I had to do it. I grabbed a kitchen chair, dragged it across the floor, stood on it, opened the door, and threw the mouse in. Then I hit start.

At first it was no big deal. The light turned on inside,...more
Ayne Ray
Hands down the worst pillow fight in history.
Greg
Here is my copy of Othello with the felty suspicious looking fox bookmark that Karen made for my birthday:



He's protecting this book, and doesn't trust anyone!

Othello would have done well to be a little less trustworthy. Silly Moor.

A bunch of other reviews I noticed have pointed out that this is in some way a great study of sexual jealousy. I think this is an interesting reading of the play, and really more telling of the reader and his or her own feelings / history than the play itself. If thi...more
Jason
Othello is the weakest of Shakespeare’s four major tragedies. Not only does its body count pale in comparison to that of the others, but also its plot is not nearly as complex, nor its themes as broad. At the heart of Othello lies a false accusation—Othello is duped into believing his woman has been unfaithful to him. Sound familiar? Except that, this being a tragedy, there is no kissing and making up at the end. Acts of suicide and murder instead take their positions of prominence here.

Othello...more
Riku Sayuj
Jan 24, 2014 Riku Sayuj rated it 5 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Everyone
Recommended to Riku by: Prof Neerja Pande
I decided to start my mission to read all 38 of The Complete Plays of Shakespeare with Othello. It turned out to be a good decision to start with the New Cambridge edition.

I was considering this reading as an academic reading of the bard and it generally took me almost 3 hours of constant reading to get through one average sized (10-15 pages) scene! Even after reading every scene three times - once aloud and twice normally - I still never felt I had enough of it, and moved on to the next only du...more
Paul
Interpolation in the original text recently discovered in the Bodleian Library, Oxford, England. Believed to be by Edward de Vere, 17th Earl of Oxford. I have rendered the non-Shakespearean text in bold :



OTHELLO
I have a salt and sorry rheum offends me;
Lend me thy handkerchief.

DESDEMONA
Here, my lord.

OTHELLO
That which I gave you.

DESDEMONA
I have it not about me.

OTHELLO
Not?

DESDEMONA
No, indeed, my lord.

OTHELLO
That is a fault. That handkerchief
Did an Egyptian to my mother give;
She was a charmer...more
Robin
I loathe this play. Othello loves his wife and yet he doubts her by trusting Iago, who he knows is an unsavory fellow? Moron.
Jonathan

In my opinion, Othello focuses upon one of Shakespeare's great literary devices. The misunderstandings between characters fuel this intelligent plot and provide grounds for Shakespeare to tantalize his audience. We the reader (or the viewer) recognise that of course Desdemona is innocent and that Iago is the mischief maker in the plot. And so to build suspense Shakespeare dangles this information tantalisingly in front of our very noses.

The one problem I have with Othello is the nature of its c...more
Adam Floridia
12/9/13 2 stars: Probably some good fodder for reader response theory here. I just couldn't get into it this time--probably because I've got so much else going on right now. But come one, the master playwright surely could have come up with some more subtle plot points for key moments: Othello simply and conveniently drops the handkerchief (that is later oh-so-precious) in front of Emilia fter she has been instructed to nab it; Othello has a grand mal seizure just so Iago can setup a conversatio...more
Rowena
I enjoyed this one a lot but what a tragedy! Iago is such a villain and it annoyed me immensely that Othello could not see through Iago's manipulation. Iago's reasons for hating Othello so much weren't truly convincing either.
Manny
IAGO
She that was ever fair and never proud,
Had tongue at will and yet was never loud,
Never lack'd gold and yet went never gay,
Fled from her wish and yet said 'Now I may,'
She that being anger'd, her revenge being nigh,
Bade her wrong stay and her displeasure fly,
She that in wisdom never was so frail
To change the cod's head for the salmon's tail;
She that could think and ne'er disclose her mind,
See suitors following and not look behind,
She was a wight, if ever such wight were -

DESDEMONA
To do what?

IA
...more
Zanna
This is my father's favourite of Shakespeare's plays, and having seen the new production (in contemporary setting) at the National Theatre yesterday & knowing my dad, I can see why (I read the play a few years ago).

It is the story of a lying villain, Iago, whose motivation is pure malice and hatred of his Black boss, the honoured general Othello. Against the latter's nature he is made jealous of his young White lieutenant Cassio.

Apart from that of the raving racist Brabantio, the prejudice a...more
Becky
I enjoy Shakespeare, but sometimes I really wonder at him. Of course, he was a genius, but I don't really feel like this was his best work. If it had been filled in a little, and was a bit more fleshed out, it would have been much better in my opinion.

Basic story (And there will be plot spoilers here), love-struck Othello is manipulated by Iago into believing that his freshly-minted bride is cheating on him with his friend. Othello then hires said manipulator to off said friend (now ex-friend)...more
Nikki
I actually found Othello one of the easiest of Shakespeare's plays to read. I knew the basic plot, which probably helped -- when reading the histories like Henry V, I wasn't always sure what was going to happen -- but just in general I found it by far the easiest to follow. And very real: I actually know someone who was as easily lead as astray as Othello, about someone almost as blameless as Desdemona... luckily, it didn't end as badly as this play!

I really enjoyed this, anyway -- I'm really gl...more
Kristen
Yeah, I've finally conquered my fear of Shakespeare . . . next up: dogs.
Chris
"Bloody, bawdy villain!
Remorseless, treacherous, lecherous, kindless villain!"

That's Hamlet the Slow Avenger ranting about Claudius, but the same and bolder could be said of Iago. I know he's the vilest of Shakespeare's villains--which would place him high in the running for vilest world-wide--but at some point those just become words. It's the page-by-page visceral experience of watching him secrete his evil that makes my blood boil. As I reread this, I wanted to throw the book, tear it, set it...more
Esdaile
You need to be a certain age to understand and appreciate this drama of the ravages of jealousy, that "green eyed monster which doth mock the meat it feeds on". I disliked the character Othello when I first saw this play when I was about 14 but I was a couple of years too young to understand. Later, the play becomes harrowing. Two elements need to be taken into consideration to appreciate this play, no three-1)jealousy makes blind and turns a man or woman into a donkey, 2) we should never forget...more
Merna
I read this for English, I thought it would be dreadful but I was rather surprised. Othello will probably be the only shakespeare work I will ever quite like (with the exception of King Lear). I'm not going to even make a proper review for this because it has been done more often than enough.

I wanted to make a statement on people's confusion due to why Othello kills his wife when he loved her.

Othello was in the verge of doubt ever since he married Desdemona. Although he was a general, he still...more
Ash E.
Apr 04, 2011 Ash E. rated it 2 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Shakespeare fans
Recommended to Ash by: Ashley Irvin
REVIEW COMPLETE

A tragic tale of human stupidity told through elopement, insanity, drunkenness (not to be confused with insanity), soldiers doing stupid things, and, below it all, the only character with even an ounce of intelligence to speak of - Iago - who also happens to be a dastardly villain. I mean, come on, you know your protagonist is a fail when the only character worthy of any sort of genuine respect is the villain! Ah, well, what can I say? C'est la Shakespeare.
Alex
The white on black, the black on white
Explosive mix it makes, so easy to ignite
By jealousy venom, inserted drop by drop into suspicious mind,
And vicious fantasies force fatal spring of hate to wind
And there you go ... flame of rage
Burns out lives, while getting out of its mental cage

1. Memorable 5
2. Social Relevance 5
3. Informative 3
4. Originality 5
5. Thought Provoking 5
6. Expressiveness 5
7. Entertaining 3
8. Visualization 4
9. Sparks Emotion 5
10. Life Changing (Pivotal, crucial, determining,...more
David
Othello has all the ingredients of comedy:

1 jealous husband, whisked
1 virtuous wife
2 tbsp marine-warfare
1 e'gg' [E-(a)-gg-(o)]
3 dashes of redwine
1 handkerchief, to taste

That spoilt Iago just musses the whole comedy of it, really; but makes for a more interesting play anyway (and without him, I'd feel I already read this recipe in Chaucer). Othello really stands out for me, from the great tragedies (Hamlet, Macbeth, King Lear), it doesn't have the same mood to it, a different air. Othello's world...more
David Sarkies
Jun 18, 2014 David Sarkies rated it 5 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: People who love a good political story
Recommended to David by: Adelaide University English Department
Shelves: tragedy
A political tale of ambition and jealousy
3 November 2012

Othello is can be a very painful play both to read and to watch. It is not that it is a bad play, no, it is a brilliant play. The reason that I say Othello is painful is because it is one of those plays that makes you squirm and feel really uncomfortable because it is doing what literature is supposed to do and that is to hold a mirror up to life. The first time I read it in university it was painful and I thought that it was because at un...more
Bill  Kerwin

I have always admired this play as Shakespeare's most theatrical tragedy, but I also feel that it often veers close to melodrama. Shaw remarked that "Othello" is written "in the style of Italian opera," and it shares with Verdi and Donizetti the same big emotions, the same clear demarcation of good and evil, that give "Lucia" and "Trovatore" their emotional intensity--and their lack of essential seriousness too. During this reading, however, I began to realize that this play is much more than th...more
LeAnn
Excellent wretch! Perdition catch my soul But I do love thee! and when I love thee not, Chaos is come again. -- Othello, Act 3, scene 3, 90–95

And in saying, Othello foreshadows the chaos that rapidly descends upon the players -- him most of all. As Othello's violent emotional storm continues to build to its climax, Iago stands in the eye directing it with the cool detachment of the sociopath. Othello's words also foreshadow his soul's doom -- "perdition catch my soul" -- when he fails to hold fa...more
Simona Bartolotta
DESDEMONA: Fa’ pure quel che ti senti di fare:
in ogni caso, io t’obbedirò.

(Escono Desdemona e Emilia)

OTELLO: O squisita creatura!
Che se ne vada pure in perdizione
l’anima mia, ma quanto, quanto l’amo!
E il giorno in cui non dovessi più amarti,
sarà tornato il caos!...

Dopo Amleto, la tragedia più bella di Shakespeare.
E' uno di quei testi che provocano un'agitazione, un rimescolio di sentimenti, un turbamento inaudito che scuote da dentro, come quasi una cosa intima, e il fulcro di tutto questo non...more
Alex
Read this in preparation for seeing it on the Boston Common tonight. This is probably the third time I've read the thing, and there's something weird about it; I like it, but I keep failing to love it. I feel like this is a personal problem; Othello's one of the best, everyone says so, right? And it has some scenes that are incredibly powerful; the (uh, spoiler alert?) bit where Othello kills Desdemona is brutal. And, of course, it has Iago, the apotheosis of Shakespeare's "As evil as I wanna be...more
Stevie
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Paul Dinger
Iago thinks everyone is evil and to prove it he makes his friend Othello kill his wife. Why? If we knew, Iago wouldn't be so evil. A persistent theme through out the comedies is how is love proven and what is more important, friendship or love. Here these themes are deadly serious, and therein lies the tragedy. Othello does trust his friendship more than Desdomonia, if he didn't wouldn't he see thru this idiot plot? Much is made of Othello's skin color by critics, but really that is just a herri...more
Anastasia
Ho imparato grazie ad Amleto che io con Shakespeare ho lo scoppio ritardato.
Mi era sembrata una lettura interessante e bella e basta, e poi dopo qualche settimana, mese, devo constatare che è una delle letture a cui penso più spesso in termini sempre ammiranti.
Segno che io non devo parlare adesso per Otello, se voglio essere sicura di quello che dico.
Quindi facciamo che sto zitta, eh, e magari fra qualche mese torno a commentarlo.
Sayonara.
Stay tuned.

(se non sono poliglotta io..)
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William Shakespeare (baptised 26 April 1564) was an English poet and playwright, widely regarded as the greatest writer in the English language and the world's pre-eminent dramatist. He is often called England's national poet and the "Bard of Avon" (or simply "The Bard"). His surviving works consist of 38 plays, 154 sonnets, two long narrative poems, and several other poems. His plays have been tr...more
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54 trivia questions
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“O, beware, my lord, of jealousy;
It is the green-ey'd monster, which doth mock
The meat it feeds on.”
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“The robb'd that smiles, steals something from the thief; He robs himself that spends a bootless grief.” 138 likes
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