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by William Shakespeare

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17,056132302 (3.97)2 / 477
Drama. Fiction. HTML:

Believed to have been written in 1603, Shakespeare's Othello is a tragedy that puts the playwright's prodigious creative gifts on full display. Based loosely on a Renaissance-era Italian tale, Othello follows the stormy relationship of the Moorish general Othello and his lovely wife Desdemona. Addressing timeless themes of love and betrayal, as well as surprisingly contemporary concepts such as race-based stereotypes, Othello is a satisfying read for modern-day fans of the Bard.

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Showing 1-5 of 114 (next | show all)
A good story, surprising ending. The Shakespearen language really makes this hard to get through. The annotations help quite a bit, but can be distracting as it is very overdone. ( )
  vincenttran | Mar 17, 2024 |
I've read "Othello" a few times in my life and I always enjoy it; there's always something new to notice or learn. Plus honestly, I adore watching Iago construct his plans and twist everything around. I KNOW he's awful, but his villany is entertaining! Also Emilia is wonderful and I shipped her and Cassio. Just sayin'. ;) ( )
  deborahee | Feb 23, 2024 |
The themes of love and betrayal (both actual and imagined), of jealousy and racism, of ambition and violence, are all still very much valid in this day and age. We have Iago who has been granted a position of trust but it's not what he thinks he deserves so he uses the power he has to undermine those around him. One of my most common plaints is that Office Politics is a game I very much prefer not to involve myself in as I have encountered so very viscous players in my time. Othello has achieved so much but still harbors self-doubt that Desdemona really wants just him. There was only the smallest sprout of a doubt initially, but there was enough for rumour to cause it to sprout and spread. He forms his beliefs on what he is told and how he perceives what he sees (and that's for certain still happening).

But this volume itself is beautiful. The illustrations were gorgeous and the weight of the pages enforced that this edition was special.

Not my favourite Shakespeare play by any means, and I would likely prefer to watch performances of it in the future (but I'm also thinking it could be fun to watch the 1990 film while reading the text) ( )
  Damiella | Dec 31, 2023 |
Shakespearian language is hard to grasp but after studying Othello in Literature I've definitely found it easier to follow. The love within the play is overwhelming but the pure jealousy and rage that can be found within the pages is enrapturing and it makes readers question their own ideals and values. The questions Shakespeare asks of our own relationships is valuable to anyone and his views and values are still relevant today. And who doesn't love a villain? Iago is awesome. ( )
  funstm | Oct 22, 2023 |
I am aware, that there are many, many people who enjoy and love Shakespeare and I understand how fascinating and impactful his revolution of theater and the drama was for the arts. His language is fascinating and his plays, tragedies and comedies alike captivated audiences until this day.

Still, I can only gave this 2.5 stars, and now I am here to humbly justify myself in front of the long line of Shakespeare fans out there, because I think this review might reflect the feelings of other people in my situation.

So, for understanding: I am German and in Grade 11 and have to read Othello in my English class this year, because of all the shakespearean drama this one is my teachers favorite. I have been studying English for five and a half years now and so this is my review of Othello.

Aside from the fact that the edition we got, is, while undoubtedly good study-material, hideous and hard to read because of its floppy and strange format, there are two main factors that keep me from enjoying this story.

1. Drama and Tragedy

First off, my experience with drama as a literary format is limited. And I am stressing this: If you are a beginner to the drama format: Do not start with Shakespeare and his original language. It is hard to work through and adjust to the dialogue form as it is.

I also, in general, am a fan of extensive world building and heavy fantasy stories, so save to say, drama is just not my thing.

And then there is the tragedy. Because is this tragic? In my opinion, it is just not. And that largely comes from the fact that I cannot emphasize with Othello at all, so his death and desperation is, to me, not delivered as sad, but as hin getting what he deserves. Because he killed his wife. He killed her because he saw it as a just punishment and he only regretted it, when he found her to be innocent.

So tragedy? A bit, but not because of Othello. We'll come later to that.

Also the charters just seem very shallow and basic to me and I am not a fan of the typical Renaissance hero type Othello, nor the innocent angel Desdemona represents.

So let's move on, because the second factor is:

2. The Language

And do not get me wrong here, the language is super interesting and everything is well written. The problem is only, that I have difficulties understanding it, which takes away from my immersion.

So a part of my problem with Othello, is simply that I am not at a high enough label to fully enjoy the story from a linguistic point of view.

So what saved the story for me?

Emilia, the savior

Emilia. Surprisingly. While readingI suddenly, to my amazement, because at that point I had almost given up, and was now painfully slow forcing myself from act to act, started to immensely enjoy one of the characters. And that character was Emilia.

Emilia is Iago's wife and Desdemona's companion and a faithful, witty and honest young women.

I think I started to fall in love with her, when she and Desdemona started to discuss adultery in Act 4, Scene 3. Setting aside the song before that, with both of them bonding, which is also beautiful, let's have a short look at Emilia's answer to Desdemona's question about wether or not she would cheat on her husband.

"[...] But for the whole world! Ud's pity, who would not make her husband a cuckold, to make him a monarch? I should venture purgatory for't."

I find this to be so interesting, not only because it ventures away from the other characters we see in the show, which are either good or bad, and moves to a more morally ambiguous character, but also because in a single paragraph it manages more honest characterization then in the entire play before.
It betrays much about Emilia`'s supposed background, because opposing Desdemona who always had everything, she apparently knows the value of having something and also tells a story about what she wants.

This becomes only more interesting later, when she betrays Iago and tells, that she was the one who found the handkerchief, showing that her mistress was innocent and Iago the villain of the story.
She would cheat on her husband, to give him the world, but she is not willing to witness the murder of Desdemona, even if she could rise in social status after that, which Iago possibly being promoted and all of that.

And she also saves the tragedy. I briefly talked about the willow song, that Desdemona sang to her companion. So Iago kills Emilia and then she lies next to her friend and attempts to sing the song. This was a genuine, and heart wrenching scene and I loved every line of it.

So thank Emilia, because she saved Shakespeare for me.
( )
  Hexenwelt | Sep 6, 2023 |
Showing 1-5 of 114 (next | show all)

» Add other authors (340 possible)

Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Shakespeare, Williamprimary authorall editionsconfirmed
Andrews, John F.Editorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Cajander, PaavoTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Ejiofor, ChiwetelNarratorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Farjeon, HerbertEditorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Furness, Horace HowardEditorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Gentleman, DavidCover designersecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Gollancz, IsraelIntroductionsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Harrison, G. B.Editorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Hart, H. C.Editorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Hart, Henry ChichesterEditorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Herford, Charles HaroldEditorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Honigmann, E.A.J.Editorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Houseman, JohnEditorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Hudson, Henry N.Editorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Jones, James EarlForewordsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Jones, Pei te HurinuiTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Jylhä, YrjöTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Kastan, David ScottAssociate Editorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Kerman, AlvinEditorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Kittredge, George LymanEditorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
LaMar, Virgina A.Editorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Lombardo, AgostinoContributorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Mason, LaurenceEditorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
McAlindon, TomEditorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
McMillin, ScottEditorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Mowat, Barbara A.Editorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Neill, MichaelEditorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Neilson, William AllanEditorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
O'Connor, JohnEditorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Obertello, AlfredoTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Orgel, StephenEditorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Papp, JosephForewordsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Parrott, Thomas MarcEditorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Raffel, BurtonEditorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Rasmussen, EricEditorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Ridley, Maurice RoyEditorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Rolfe, William JamesEditorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Sanders, NormanEditorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Schadee, NoraAnnotationssecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Seely, JohnEditorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Slater, DavidCover artistsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Smith, H.H.Editorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Spiekerman, JopAnnotationssecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Tsegay Gabre-MedhinTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Turner, Robert KeanAssociate Editorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Vitkus, DanielEditorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Voeten, BertTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Werstine, PaulEditorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Wright, Louis B.Editorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Zazo, Anna LuisaEditorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed

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O (2001 | IMDb)
First words
Never tell me; I take it much unkindly
That thou, Iago, who hast had my purse
As if the strings were thine, shouldst know of this.
Trifles light as air
Are to the jealous confirmations strong
As proofs of holy writ;
O, beware, my lord, of jealousy!
It is the green-eyed monster, which doth mock
The meat it feeds on. That cuckold lives in bliss
Who, certain of his fate, loves not his wronger;
But O, what damned minutes tells he o'er
Who dotes, yet doubts, suspects, yet strongly loves!
Not poppy, nor mandragora,
Nor all the drowsy syrups of the world,
Shall ever medicine thee to that sweet sleep
Which thou owedst yesterday.
is an idle and most false imposition; oft got without merit
and lost without deserving.
Good name in man and woman, dear my lord,
Is the immediate jewel of their souls.
Who steals my purse steals trash; 'tis something, nothing;
'Twas mine, 'tis his, and has been slave to thousands;
But he that filches from me my good name
Robs me of that which not enriches him
And makes me poor indeed.
Last words
(Click to show. Warning: May contain spoilers.)
Disambiguation notice
This work is for the complete Othello only. Do not combine abridgements, adaptations (graphic or otherwise), modernizations and simplifications (such as "Shakespeare Made Easy"), Cliffs Notes or similar study guides, or videorecordings of performances with this work. Please separate any that you find here.

As should go without saying, please also do not combine this with any other play or combination of plays, or any of its many adaptations (audio, video, reworking, etc.).
The "Timeless Shakespeare" editions are simplifications, not the original text of the plays. Do not combine.
Norton Critical Editions contain a sigificant amount of commentary and additional material along with the core text, thus, they are considered separate works. Please do not combine with the play.
Publisher's editors
Original language
Canonical DDC/MDS
Canonical LCC
Drama. Fiction. HTML:

Believed to have been written in 1603, Shakespeare's Othello is a tragedy that puts the playwright's prodigious creative gifts on full display. Based loosely on a Renaissance-era Italian tale, Othello follows the stormy relationship of the Moorish general Othello and his lovely wife Desdemona. Addressing timeless themes of love and betrayal, as well as surprisingly contemporary concepts such as race-based stereotypes, Othello is a satisfying read for modern-day fans of the Bard.


No library descriptions found.

Book description
[R.L. 8.4]
One of the most often staged of all of Shakespeare's plays, this is a tale of love and betrayal, secrets, passions, and intrigue. Psychology and wit pit strength and virtue against jealousy and evil agendas. The results leave no winners, only tragedy.
Haiku summary
Self-hating black man
Goes medieval on blonde wife
OJ's fav'rite book?
A viper's hissing,
Destroys a man's happiness,
A faithful wife slain.

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