Simon's Bookcase

Reviews from Lord Taylor of Glencoe

Othello

Othello: William Shakespeare, August 12—14, 2016

My rating: ♦♦♦♦◊

OthelloOthello is a high-ranking military official whom his supposed friend, Iago, sets out to utterly destroy. Motivated by (frankly unlikely) rumours that Othello slept with Iago’s wife, Iago goes out of his way to make Othello think his own wife is having it off with his best pal. Cue drama.

Like most of Shakespeare’s plays, the plot isn’t particularly complex. It’s not that which is so gripping. It’s Shakespeare’s own ability to get inside your head and articulate very fundamental emotions that makes his work so powerful.

Themes of jealousy, infidelity and deceit are rife in Othello; the flip-side, perhaps, to the cynicism of true love (Romeo & Juliet) or instant love (A Midsummer’s Night Dream) that have been explored before. Iago is a truly twisted sod who plays everyone off against each other, just because he can. The denouement is not hugely surprising, but no less predictable for following the course set out for it.

Othello does a brilliant job of speaking directly to everyone’s fears and articulating, in Shakespeare famously beautiful language, emotions that seemed beyond description. It’s uncomfortable, distasteful and hurtful, but Othello is brilliant for it.

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This entry was posted on August 14, 2016 by in 4 star and tagged .

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