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Othello

3.86 of 5 stars 3.86  ·  rating details  ·  207,545 ratings  ·  2,913 reviews
A prose retelling of Shakespeare's play in which a jealous general is duped into thinking that his wife has been unfaithful, with tragic consequences.
ebook, 320 pages
Published May 1st 2001 by Signet Classics (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)
Vicki Carbone So many characters of note, so many themes worthy of consideration. For me, it's Shakespeare at his finest. I'd agree with Georgia about its treatment…moreSo many characters of note, so many themes worthy of consideration. For me, it's Shakespeare at his finest. I'd agree with Georgia about its treatment of women. Of course, Shakespeare lived in the time of Queen Elizabeth and I'd assume that may have helped him see women in a better light. Emilia is amazing. Read the exchange between Desdemona and Emilia with regards to men.(less)
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Community Reviews

(showing 1-30 of 3,000)
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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.
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,
...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
Miriam
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
...more
Paul Bryant
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.
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
Afshar
اتللو بهترین کتابی بوده که از شکسپیر خوانده ام
اتللو را هركسي خوانده باشد تا ابد فراموش نمي كند
علتش هم روي دادن حوادث ناگوار براي كسي است كه به دست خويش خوشبختي اش را نابود مي كند
انسان از هرچي احساسات بد وجود داره منزجر ميشه از حسادت، طمع
و بدبینی
اتللو اسير ناداني خويش است و آدم ناداني كه شجاع هم باشد دنيايي رو ميتواند نابود كند

مگر مي شود كسي خود را طرفدار ادبيات بنامد و تا حالا اتللو را نخوانده باشد (این را گفتم تا دوستان تشجیع بشوند و این کتاب زیبا را بخوانند
؛)
تاثير اين كتاب بر روان آدم بقدري
...more
Whitney Atkinson
not nearly as good as hamlet
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?

I
...more
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
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.
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
Elizabeth
description

Othello is a Shakespeare tragedy based on The Moor of Venice. As with all of Shakespeare’s work, the plot is thick with romance, sex, deceit, and revenge.

description

Othello is an African American General in the Venetian Army. He has fallen in love with a beautiful Venetian Lady named Desdemona. The daughter of Brabantio, a senator, Desdemona falls in love with Othello and they marry in secret. Brabantio is not pleased with the marriage as Desdemona as she could have wed the Venetian Nobleman Roderigo who i
...more
Teresa
Depois de ler Harold Bloom é inevitável ler Shakespeare...considerado, pelo crítico, o maior escritor de todos os tempos.
Escolhi esta obra porque fiquei "apanhada" pelo Juiz Holden de Meridiano de Sangue cuja perversidade, dizem, só é suplantada pela de Iago de Otelo. Agora, que conheço as "peças", entre um e outro venha o diabo e escolha, que eu cá escolho os dois...

A edição que li acompanha-me há anos e foi traduzida pelo Rei D. Luis de Bragança - o antepenúltimo rei de Portugal - não sou moná
...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
Bruce
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
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
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
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
Kristen
Yeah, I've finally conquered my fear of Shakespeare . . . next up: dogs.
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
Katia
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
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 that 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
...more
Pooya Kiani
کلاسیکها، نمیدونم. سواد اظهار نظر و بخصوص نقد رو در حوضهی کلاسیسیم ندارم. فقط میدونم که هرگز به دنبال «هیبت» یک واقعهی داستانی یا تئاتری نبوده و نیستم، که طفل سر به هوای من خواننده که پای جست و خیز به دنیای نویسندهای میگذاره، نباید اینجور شق و رق و مودب باهاش برخورد شه و اون هم همینجور باشه و بشه. هنر، مستلزم شنگی و شر و شور بودن مخاطبه، مستلزم جست و خیز و البته تفکر. ...more
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947
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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Romeo and Juliet Hamlet Macbeth A Midsummer Night's Dream Much Ado About Nothing

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59 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.”
290 likes
“The robb'd that smiles, steals something from the thief; He robs himself that spends a bootless grief.” 153 likes
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