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Buck (spectru) Our group read for June 2017 from our open nominations is Othello by William Shakespeare

Annie (annie_thomas) | 69 comments Just started with this and enjoying it. I use the "No Fear Shakespeare" series as I struggle with just the original text.

message 3: by Buck (last edited Jun 04, 2017 04:30PM) (new) - rated it 4 stars

Buck (spectru) I downloaded an audio version. By the time I was three or four scenes in, I realized I was lost, so I got the No Fear Shakespeare too. Haven't started it yet, except for just the first few lines. What a boon it is to have a modern translation next to the original text.

Annie (annie_thomas) | 69 comments I think it would be a good idea to watch or listen to the play after reading it through once(if interest extends that far). I like to get the characters grounded in my mind first and for me this is easier if I read first.

Sophie | 180 comments I also struggled with the beginning of this play, well to be honest the first 2 acts were unintelligible to me without help. I read the No Fear Shakespeare for the lines that I specifically wanted to know more about. The SparkNotes summaries were so useful and they do a 9 minute video summary as well which was great.

Once I got to grips with it, I enjoyed it a lot. It was so dramatic and seeing all the deception and assumptions take place was fascinating. I loved Emilia's character but all the people were interesting! The part where Othello is telling Emilia (view spoiler) stuck out to me as one of the more comical parts of the play. 'What needs this iterance, woman? I say thy husband. [...] He, woman. I say “thy husband”—dost understand the word?'

message 6: by Buck (last edited Jul 18, 2017 02:59PM) (new) - rated it 4 stars

Buck (spectru) After false starts, interruptions, and delays I have finished Othello. I'm not a student of Shakespeare, and have difficulty with the archaic language. Here's how I read Othello: I heard an audio book version of the play while reading the text. The text was a PDF of the No-Fear Shakespeare version, a modern translation and Shakespeare's original text in two columns, side by side. If there were something I didn't follow, or didn't understand, I could pause and read the modern translation. As I read along, I needed to do this les and leas. I became familiar with the idioms: I grew accustomed to the language of Shakespeare.

I had heard of a some of the characters of the play: Othello, Desdemona, Iago; but I knew nothing of their relationships or of the story. Now I know.

Othello really engaged me. Now I know why so many people like Shakespeare. I've always been reticent to read Shakespeare, but now I'm encouraged to read more.

message 7: by Suki (last edited Jul 18, 2017 02:38AM) (new) - rated it 4 stars

Suki St Charles (goodreadscomsuki_stcharles) | 25 comments I finished Othello earlier today, and I just finished watching the 1952 movie version with Orson Wells. I don't think I could have followed the movie if I hadn't read the book first! The thing I really liked about the movie is that it put a picture to the words with regards to clothing and architecture. The costumes and scenery were amazing!

The book I read was the Signet Classics edition. It is written in Shakespearian English, with plentiful footnotes defining the more archaic words and phrases. It took a couple of pages before I was comfortable with the language, but then I started to really enjoy it. The Signet edition also had lots of extras: an overview of Shakespeare's life, descriptions of the theatres of the time with a focus on the staging of his plays, and a discussion of the version of the English language in use at the time including grammar rules; an introduction to the play discussing major plot points and places where lines could be interpreted in more than one way, depending on how you chose to define certain words or which version of the original printed editions was used. There are also a number of critical essays at the end of the book, along with a translation of Hecatommithi, one of a collection of sixteenth century tales printed in Italian and written by Giraldi Cinthio, that was the inspiration for Shakespeare's Othello. It was a lot of extra reading, but I found the information very interesting and helpful, and I got a lot more out of the story than if I had just read the play itself.

Now that I've got my head into a "Shakespearian" place, I'm going to carry on and read several more Signet Edition plays I have while I still understand how the language works.

(view spoiler)

Annie (annie_thomas) | 69 comments Suki wrote: "I finished Othello earlier today, and I just finished watching the 1952 movie version with Orson Wells. I don't think I could have followed the movie if I hadn't read the book first! The thing I re..."

Enjoyed reading about your Shakespearean immersion!
Signet classics sound good. I will see if I can get one for my next play.

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