A Shakespearean Summer: Othello

Synopsis: Othello tells the tale of the Moor and general in the Venetian army, Othello. He loves Desdemona and they arrange a secret marriage. In the meanwhile, Iago, a soldier who is under Othello’s command, is jealous, having proposed to Desdemona previously. Combine this jealousy with Iago’s anger over Othello’s choice to promote Cassio over himself, and Iago’s left with a desire for revenge. Iago slowly begins to deceive and twist Othello’s mind so that he begins to destroy his own life.

My thoughts: Unlike my last selection, The Taming of the Shrew, this play isn’t one to enjoy for its humor and witty remarks. Though this play is still full of wit, it is shrewd wit rather than comedic. Iago is probably my favorite character from any of Shakespeare’s plays, not because I like him, but because I’m always impressed by the way he manipulates others. I think that Othello is gripping, and each scene just builds in intensity. Plus, this is really interesting to read in terms of race (if you’re in the mood for a bit of tough thinking and analysis, that is).


After taking a course all about Shakespeare in the modern day, I’ve become absolutely intrigued by adaptations of Shakespeare’s works and references to Shakespeare in pop culture. So, for these Shakespearean Summer posts, I’ve decided to include other ways to find Othello. Here are some of the more unique ones:

Omkara – Othello meets Bollywood. Enough said.

O – Set in a modern-day high school, where Othello is Odin, the star of the high school basketball team and the only African American at his school. Desdemona is Desi, the dean’s daughter, and Iago is Hugo, the basketball coach’s son. Pretty good film that’s quite intense (especially considering relatively reason school shootings).

All Night Long – A black and white 60’s movie set in London with lots of jazz music. A pretty loose adaptation, but there’s great music.

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