Othello by Shakespeare

This month, November 2011, the theme of my blog has been Shakespeare. While I did not post nearly enough about him and his works to reveal this about myself, I am quite interested in Shakespeare. He was one of the most influential writers ever. I’m not a great fan of reading plays, since they were written to be portrayed on a stage, but Shakespeare is one of the few playwrights whose work is enjoyable when read as much as it is when watched. I have never seen Shakespeare on the stage, though I have seen The Tempest film (2010), which was beautiful, and, uh, I think that’s the only one I’ve seen, actually. I have read many, many of his plays, both at school and in my own time. I have read Romeo and Juliet, of course, King Lear, MacBeth, Richard III, and now Othello. I am planning on reading others in the future, and it’s on my Bucket List to see a Shakespeare play performed live by actors on a stage.

There is some controversy about Shakespeare and his works. There is evidence that he was not the writer of all the plays that have been attributed to his name. A movie entitled Anonymous was recently released, but I was unable to see it because it was not showing in my area. I don’t think who wrote the plays matters so much as the content and message of the plays. Who the author is does not detract from the cultural and literary significance of the plays.

Shakespeare lived in the 1500s in England. I don’t know much else about him really, but I am going to be taking an entire course on Shakespeare at my college in the spring. So look forward to more posts about him and his works in the future. Perhaps I should have waited on the Shakespeare theme until the spring when I knew more about him and had read more of his plays, but I was just way too excited for the Shakespeare sonnet contest I had planned to wait. REMINDER: the deadline for submissions to this awesome contest is Sunday 4 December 2011. Here is the link for more details. Please participate! I’m super psyched to read your sonnets! Seriously I am! If I get enough submissions, there is a chance for a second and maybe even third prize as well, so I, and other submitting writers, would be ecstatic if you would participate!

Alright. Othello. Taking place in Venice, the play begins with Iago and Roderigo discussing how much they hate Othello. Othello promoted someone over Iago in the military. He tells Roderdigo that he is going to plot against Othello by making it seem like his wife Desdemona is having an affair. Iago also dislikes Othello because of his race, which by the description we can assume he is African. Throughout the play, Iago is two-faced, convincing Othello to trust him while he plots his downfall behind his back. Iago is the main driving force behind the plot.

While Iago portrays Othello as a corrupt man, when Othello enters the stage, he is entirely the opposite of what the audience is expecting. Shakespeare even compares him to Jesus Christ. This juxtaposition really accentuates Iago’s racism.

A major theme, besides racism, is the conflict of love and war. Othello is a military hero, and he finds it difficult to keep him marriage to Desdemona intact. In fact, when he believes she had an affair, he murders her. Finally, after Othello learns that Iago tricked him, Othello kills himself, unable to deal with his evil deed.

I’d say this is not particularly one of my favorites of Shakespeare’s plays, but it was still pretty good. I won’t go into much more detail about the plot and characters and themes, for fear of sounding unintelligent, uninformed, or preachy, because the language of Shakespeare is difficult for me to understand, and the themes were what I read out of this play the most. Besides, I want to hear what you guys have to say!

If you have read it, what did you think of Shakespeare’s Othello?

Peace, Aimee