Friday, March 21, 2008

Othello: the Venetian Moor

For years now, I have read at least one Shakespeare play in English. While he is, admittedly a careful author with a special skill, I don't get why it's always Shakespeare. In any case, for English 30, it's Othello.

*Othello spoilers ahead*

We had a guest speaker come from the local Shakespearean club to talk to our class, and he pointed out that Shakespeare uses the theme of the jealous husband in several, several plays, and Othello is the only one where it turns out badly.

In Othello, he is a Venetian general who falls in love with a young girl named Desdemona. His lieutenant is Cassio, but Iago wanted to be lieutenant. Iago also thinks that Othello is sleeping with his wife (he's not). Therefore, Iago wants to revenge himself on both at once, by convincing Othello that Cassio and Desdemona are having an affair (they're not). By the end of the play, Othello murders Desdemona, Iago murders his wife, Iago murders Roderigo (Desdemona's previous suitor), and Othello commits suicide. Cassio is wounded and Iago is tortured. Needless to say, with all the murdering and betrayal, it is a depressing read, and a little crude at times.

However, Shakespeare makes a good point. Jealousy is a dangerous folly. Othello was so smitten with his wife and highly honored, but after a little bit of gossiping by Iago, he becomes so jealous that he feels he is carrying forth justice by murdering his wife. He is changed in a mere couple days.

The play is probably worth the read- it does explore some interesting points on jealousy, betrayal, and fidelity. However, the movie (1995) that we had to watch in class, I would not recommend. The director takes advantage of their artistic license, and it's unnecessarily graphic, in my opinion.

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