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3.90  ·  Rating details ·  332,021 ratings  ·  6,946 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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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)
Bethel Philip The most tragic is "Othello". In the play "Romeo and Juliet" they both died for love and trust. But in the case of Othello, he killed Desdemona out o…more The most tragic is "Othello". In the play "Romeo and Juliet" they both died for love and trust. But in the case of Othello, he killed Desdemona out of jealousy of love, which Lago brainwashed him (that his wife has been unfaithful to him, which was all a lie).
When he found out the truth, at the end he stabbed Lago, who stabbed his wife for saying the truth.
Before he killed himself he pointed out some facts like:
"Describe me
as someone who loved too much, but wasn't wise about it. I was not easily made jealous, but once I was tricked and manipulated, I worked myself into frenzy. Describe me as a fool who threw away pearl with his own hands, like a silly Indian who didn't know what it worth. As someone who washed not emotional, but who cried alot". after these raw sayings he stabbed himself to death.(less)

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May 29, 2008 rated it really liked it
Shelves: shakespeare
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!


Bill Kerwin
May 12, 2007 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: 16th-17th-c-brit

I have always admired this play as Shakespeare's most theatrical tragedy, but I also feel that it often veers too 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 Othello is much more than the gr
Ahmad Sharabiani
Othello = The Tragedy of Othello, William Shakespeare

Othello (The Tragedy of Othello, the Moor of Venice) is a tragedy by William Shakespeare, believed to have been written in 1603.

It is based on the story Un Capitano Moro ("A Moorish Captain") by Cinthio, a disciple of Boccaccio, first published in 1565.

The story revolves around its two central characters: Othello, a Moorish general in the Venetian army and his unfaithful ensign, Iago. Given its varied and enduring themes of racism, love, jea
Ahmad Sharabiani
Jun 02, 2008 rated it it was amazing
The Tragedy of Othello, The Moor of Venice, William Shakespeare

Othello is a tragedy by William Shakespeare, believed to have been written in 1603. It is based on the story Un Capitano Moro (A Moorish Captain) by Cinthio, a disciple of Boccaccio, first published in 1565.

The story revolves around its two central characters: Othello, a Moorish general in the Venetian army and his unfaithful ensign, Iago. Given its varied and enduring themes of racism, love, jealousy, betrayal, revenge and repentan
Ayne Ray
Nov 23, 2008 rated it really liked it
Hands down the worst pillow fight in history.
“O, beware, my lord, of jealousy;
It is the green-ey'd monster, which doth mock
The meat it feeds on."

This famous quote made my 14-year-old son, reading Othello for the first time (it was his first Shakespeare ever), come into my room to complain. He was deeply frustrated with the sweet tongue of the evil Iago, speaking in one way and acting in another, spreading fake news and rumours while pretending to be supportive and unselfish.

"Iago is even worse than Uriah Heep", he said, referring to a co
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
Henry Avila
Dec 21, 2016 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Jealousy, "The green -ey'd monster," that is what the wise Shakespeare wrote...Othello loved his wife, Desdemona, too much so, nothing could continue that fever, emotions lessen over time....The mighty general was a very capable soldier of Venice, commanding respect on the battlefield, he could do no wrong, brave, ferocious, dynamic, his sword deadly, still life is more complicated than just war, though, the Moor was a fish out of water, in a quite different, and strange culture, becoming a Chri ...more
Joshua Parkinson
Apr 26, 2008 rated it it was amazing
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,
Apr 05, 2015 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Words make a difference
“The trust, the office I do hold of you
Not only take away, but let your sentence
Even fall upon my life.”
Act I, Scene 3.

This is the Othello the reader meets at the beginning of this tragedy. The Renaissance ideal, an archetypal hero, sure of himself, valiant and honorable, in complete self-control when falsely accused of forcing fair Desdemona, the daughter of a nobleman, to marry him. When confronted by the Duke, his defense plea shines with splendid poetry, calm dignity and the voice of reaso
Amalia Gkavea
''Soft you, a word or two before you go.
I have done the state some service, and they know ’t.
No more of that. I pray you, in your letters,
When you shall these unlucky deeds relate,
Speak of me as I am. Nothing extenuate,
Nor set down aught in malice. Then must you speak
Of one that loved not wisely, but too well.''
Jan 07, 2012 rated it really liked it
Book Review
4+ of 5 stars to Othello, a tragic play written in 1603, by William Shakespeare. When it comes to writing a thorough review about this Shakespearean work of art, it could take weeks and days to craft perfection; however, I've already stumbled upon a few across Goodreads, and the world doesn't need another interpretation by a middle-aged white guy. Nor does it need my opinion about what this says of a person's ethnic background, skin color or personality traits. But what th
Kaylin (The Re-Read Queen)
Here's my thing:

Who am I supposed to root for?


Othello? Who doesn't seem to know how to communicate with anyone? He gets so jealous and infuriated by conjecture about his wife (of less than a week, I believe) that he has a seizure. Then proceeds to treat said wife absolutely horribly?

Desmonda? In her first speech, she defends her marriage to Othello then does nothing else. She seemed constantly determined to please everyone. Joking with Iago, defending Cassio, repeatedly proclaiming her love for
David - proud Gleeman in Branwen's adventuring party
I’ve always believed that Iago is one of the greatest literary villains ever! A nemesis who was so twisted by hate and even acknowledged that he had no good reason for wanting to destroy the hero. Iago is the archetype for so many modern villains.

Whenever I reread “Othello”, I picture a cinematic version where Denzel Washington plays Othello, Cate Blanchett plays Desdemona, and Tim Roth plays Iago…the movie wouldn’t even have to be titled “William Shakespeare’s Othello”, it could simply be named
Hailey (Hailey in Bookland)
*Reread for class January 2016*
This is the first Shakespeare play I read on my own and rereading it and studying it in class is giving me a whole new perspective on it which makes me love it even more!
Over breakfast this morning, Not and I invented a new game. It's called Insensitive!™ and the rules are very simple: in twenty-five words or less, write a summary of a book, movie or play that offends as many socio-economic groups as possible. My first entry is below. Not will be posting hers in due course.

Italian bitch with learning disability and daddy issues gets involved with mentally unstable armed forces type and becomes another victim of black-on-white domestic violence.
(24 words.
The thing with Othello is that he's a fuckin’ idiot and he sucks. There's this towering scene, Act 3 scene 3, it’s the centerpiece of the play. Iago's convincing him that his wife Desdemona is cheating on him with Cassio, and he has this whole complicated plan worked out involving handkerchiefs and innuendo, but he needs none of it: at the first drop of poison in his ear, Othello's like,

"Villain, be sure thou prove my love a whore.
Be sure of it, give me the ocular proof."

Mekhi Phifer and Josh Ha
I have now read Shakespeare's Sonnets and 9 of his 38 plays, mostly the better known ones, slowly working my way through his canon. Othello was, compared to some of the others, an easy read. The themes running through the play are familiar ones with jealously being primary. But interracial prejudice and racism is what sets this play apart from the others, and probably defines it for most modern day readers. ...more
Emily May
Dec 09, 2010 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: plays, classics
Othello and Macbeth have long been competing for the title of my favourite Shakespeare play. I'm still not sure. The protagonists are similar in that they both instigate their own downfall through fear and paranoia and jealousy - that's what makes their tales so wonderfully tragic. The fantasy aspect of Macbeth works in its favour, but then, it doesn't have Iago. It's a difficult one. ...more
Mar 08, 2011 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: drama, shakespeare, 2017
“Tis in ourselves that we are thus or thus. Our bodies are our gardens to the which our wills are gardeners.”
― William Shakespeare, Othello


Othello is one of my favorite of Shakespeare's plays. I'm all about the villians, and damn, Iago isn't JUST a nearly perfect villian, but carries away almost 1/3 the lines in this play. He owns the stage. It is like Shakespeare scraped every rotten grain off the soiled shoe of humanity and mixed it with beautiful prose. Iago isn't a monster because he is fore
Riku Sayuj
Oct 03, 2011 rated it it was amazing  ·  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
E. G.
Apr 30, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
General Introduction
The Chronology of Shakespeare's Works
Introduction, by Tom McAlindon
The Play in Performance
Further Reading

--The Tragedy of Othello, the Moor of Venice

An Account of the Text
The Songs
Dannii Elle
How does one begin to review a play by Shakespeare!? Honestly, I haven't enough words in my vocabulary to do his work justice and find myself repeatedly blown away by both the depth of emotion I experience whilst reading him and overwhelmed at joining the generations whose long-lasting adoration hasn't allowed his name to become relegated to history.

Whilst I have still only read a small selection of his work, I have found that Shakespeare has managed this ageless devotion due to the themes that
Apr 02, 2018 rated it it was amazing

Great works survive because they remain relevant and timeless. They deal with those fundamental aspects of human life that do not change.

'Othello' is one such work. In jealousy, Othello, the protagonist, kills his innocent wife, Desdemona. Iago, his crooked subordinate, poisons Othello's mind. Gripped by jealousy and suspicion, Othello eventually strangles Desdemona.

It is fascinating that right at the beginning of the play, Desdemona's father warns Othello that she will betray him. Othello, on h
Mar 09, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: favorites
Reread for Senior Thesis July 2017: GOD BLESS THIS BOOK *screams*
LOVED THIS! Probably my second favorite Shakespeare play behind King Lear (:
Aug 07, 2011 rated it really liked it
Shelves: for-kindle, 2014, reviewed
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.

Dr. Appu Sasidharan
Mar 21, 2021 rated it it was amazing
(Regular review) Othello is considered not only the greatest of Shakespeare's tragedies but also the timeliest. This might be a play written hundreds of years ago, but all the themes discussed in it are even entirely relevant today. We can see multiple manipulation levels, betrayal, jealousy, and even racism in this book if we read between the lines.

Iago's maudlin concerns and jealousy force him to plot against general Othello and his wife, Desdemona. Othello, a battle-scarred yet lovable person
Paul Bryant
Jul 27, 2012 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: true-crime
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
Jul 17, 2020 rated it really liked it
Shelves: plays, 2020, classics
Othello is undoubtedly a brilliant piece of literature and theatre; it’s a riveting story about the worst parts of human nature that culminates in a satisfyingly tragic conclusion. And Iago is undeniably a brilliant character; his masterclass in manipulation is mesmerizing to watch. But it was also a particularly interesting play to read amidst the resurgence of the Black Lives Matter movement, as discussions about Black representation in the media are currently in our cultural foreground.

May 23, 2010 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: drama
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
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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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“O, beware, my lord, of jealousy;
It is the green-ey'd monster, which doth mock
The meat it feeds on.”
“For she had eyes and chose me.” 472 likes
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