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Heinemann Advanced Shakespeare: Othello
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Heinemann Advanced Shakespeare: Othello

3.86 of 5 stars 3.86  ·  rating details  ·  196,458 ratings  ·  2,712 reviews
"Othello" is the definitive play on the theme of jealousy. In this remorseless tragedy, first performed in 1604, William Shakespeare's most malevolent villain, Iago, aide to Othello, plants the seed of the green-eyed monster in the mind of his master, incubating it with vile insinuations until it devours the great man and the lives of those he loves. Iago believes he has b ...more
Paperback, 320 pages
Published November 20th 2000 by Heinemann (first published 1603)
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Georgia Yes, Shakespeare plays on the idea of masculinity in the 17th Century and the insecurity of men. Everything about a man's pride and "social standing"…moreYes, Shakespeare plays on the idea of masculinity in the 17th Century and the insecurity of men. Everything about a man's pride and "social standing" was based on what they OWNED; including women which is addressed in act 1 when Iago says "look to your house, your daughter and your bags"- women/daughters being associated with property . The idea of Othello allegedly sleeping with his wife hits a wrong chord with Iago because a black man in a white dominated society is above him in office and has also "stolen his property". HOWEVER, there are so many creative ways you could interpret Iago as a character and why he does what he does. It is perfectly reasonable to associate Iago with psychopathic tendencies for example. The idea I like to go with is the portrayal and the clever imagery Shakespeare uses to present Iago as the devil; notice when he says "I am not what I am" it suggests he is the devil disguised as a human. He is ironically called "Honest Iago". It is completely plausible to interpret this idea, as the devil is known to initiate mayhem. This theory is resonated in the story of Adam and Eve, when Eve is tempted by the snake (devil) and we as the human race have to live a life of sin as a consequence. THIS, I think most importantly underlines and concludes the whole play on the question Shakespeare is addressing about how we react as human beings and do we have natural self-distruction tendencies?
Iago is very complex but one of the most interesting of Shakespeare's characters. His revenge could simply be about jealousy we will never know however, Shakespeare was a smart man and the connotations with Iago's revenge representing a much bigger meaning could not be coincidental.

Sorry that was long but I felt like this play needs a lot more recognition than it gets :)(less)
Georgia The play is ground breaking for it's time in my opinion. For example in position of women. It is entertaining but a little hard to read in a sense…moreThe play is ground breaking for it's time in my opinion. For example in position of women. It is entertaining but a little hard to read in a sense because of the old english language. I'd give it a go though if you're into 'Shakespearey' stuff(less)
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Othello, abridged:

OTHELLO: I love my wife!

IAGO: She gave Cassio her handkerchief.


DESDEMONA: Hi honey!



EMILIA: Dude, what is WRONG with you?


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


Renato Magalhães Rocha
Not trying to upset Proust or Joyce, but these days, it's Shakespeare who's been taking me to bed every night. He's become part of my daily routine and his are my last conscious thoughts before departing to dreamland. Granted, it could be another playwriter or even a regular book. All I need really are small chapters that I can finish quickly when slumber's tentacles start to wrap my body and their calming effects slowly soothe my mind. But it's been Shakespeare... and any insomniac who's recent ...more
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,
Ayne Ray
Hands down the worst pillow fight in history.
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
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.

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
Courtesy of Sarah Caudwell

"Julia took me to see it once. And I said afterwards I thought it was pretty silly, because the Othello chap's meant to have done frightfully well in the army and be a wiz at strategy and all that. And in that case, he wouldn't be the sort of twit who thought his wife was having off with someone else just because she lost her handkerchief. And Julia didn't agree. Well, what she actually said was that I was a semi-educated flibbertigibbet whose powers of dramatic appreci
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 :

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

Here, my lord.

That which I gave you.

I have it not about me.


No, indeed, my lord.

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

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
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.
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
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 -

To do what?

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)
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
Yeah, I've finally conquered my fear of Shakespeare . . . next up: dogs.
How good it is to revisit this powerful play periodically. Each time I do so I cannot avoid comparing it with Verdi’s opera, “Otello,” and noting how each artist creates a powerful drama in such different ways (when reading the play, I always miss Verdi’s dramatic aria, Iago’s “Credo”). And always the same questions arise. Why is Othello so naïve, so gullible, so easily influenced by Iago? Is he simply inexperienced in love? Does his role of perpetual outsider in his society, racially in particu ...more
"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
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
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
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
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
Lessons Othello taught me:
1) Do not lose your handkerchief or you will die
2) Do not lose your handkerchief or your husband will die
3) Do not lose your handkerchief or Iago will use it to mindfuck everyone and make people kill each other
In all honesty, excellent play though
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

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.
It's so hard for me to give star ratings to Shakespeare plays because they're all so well crafty, witty, and wonderfully written.

This one was incredibly enjoyable to read, and I wish I was seeing it performed! While it's not my favorite of his plays, it's one that I'm glad to have finally read.

I did have some problems with the believability of the situation (aka the handkerchief deal--if you've read it, you'll know) but that's to be expected from Shakespeare. You've definitely got to suspend y
Ken Moten
"Duke of Milan:
Let me speak like yourself, and lay a sentence...
When remedies are past, the griefs are ended
By seeing the worst, which late on hopes depended.
To mourn a mischief that is past and gone
Is the next way to draw new mischief on.
What cannot be preserved when fortune takes
Patience her injury a mockery makes.
The robb'd that smiles steals something from the thief;
He robs himself that spends a bootless grief.
" - Act I, scene 3

O, beware, my lord, of jealousy;
It is the gree
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,
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
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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
More about William Shakespeare...
Romeo and Juliet Hamlet Macbeth A Midsummer Night's Dream Much Ado About Nothing

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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.”
“The robb'd that smiles, steals something from the thief; He robs himself that spends a bootless grief.” 147 likes
More quotes…