Saturday, January 11, 2014

[Review] Othello by William Shakespeare

Title: Othello
Author: William Shakespeare
Editor: Daniel Vitkus
Series Editor: David Scott Kastan
Publisher: Barnes and Noble, Inc. 2007
Genre: Fiction, Tragedy, Drama
Format: Paperback
Pages: 408
Rating: 3 Stars
Source: Self-purchase
Painting of Othello and wife Desdemona. Painted by Theodore Chasseriau (1819-1856)
Othello is the story of a Moorish Venetian general named Othello. Othello being a Moor is dark-skinned. His Venetian light-skinned wife is Desdemona. Othello's ensign is Iago and his lieutenant is Cassio. Iago creates a plan to turn Othello away from Desdemona and Cassio, and trust himself. He uses Othello's own insecurities and personality traits against him.
Othello has themes of insecurity, distrust, jealously, prejudice, bi-racial marriage, murder, views of men and women.
According to the editor of the Barnes and Nobles Classic Othello is a play of "realism and symbolism."
The name Moor was given to any dark-skinned person. Dark-skinned was considered "evil."

"At the time that Shakespeare wrote, there was still some confusion as to whether Moors were human beings or monsters." page 7.

Pros: I loved the "Introduction to Othello" and "Shakespeare and His England." These proceeding chapters gave me a lesson on how to understand Othello. I enjoyed reading about society and culture during Shakespearean England more than the story of Othello. Views on dark-skinned people and on women in general were thought provoking. I'd not read until the intro, 

"Queen Elizabeth I issued proclamations calling for the deportation of 'blackamoors' from England;" page 5.

Cons: I did not enjoy reading this tragedy as much as Macbeth or Julius Caesar or Hamlet. I felt there is less dramatic flare in Othello as in the before mentioned. I've probably given shallow reasons for my not liking this tragedy as well as others, but Othello "just didn't do it for me."

Favorite quotes:
"It is silliness to live when to live is torment, and then have we a prescription to die when death is our physician." page 101. 
"Come, Desdemona; 'tis the soldiers life To have their balmy slumbers waked with strife." page 161.
"I think my wife be honest and think she is not. I think that thou art just and think thou are not." page 215. 

My copy of Othello is available at Barnes and Nobles.

This is the first book read for the Shakespeare Reading Challenge 2014.

No comments:

Post a Comment