Tuesday, June 17, 2008


it has been many many years since i've read shakespeare. in fact, i can't honestly remember the last time i read a play. for about half of the first act i just couldn't get into the language - i kept looking up words in the notes and referring to the summary at the beginning but after that i got into the rythem of the writing and actually started really enjoying it.

as this play is called "the tragedy of othello, the moor of venice" i just figured i wasn't going to end well. yeah. othello, desdemona, cassio, iago. othello, a general of the venetian army has wed desdemona and they seem to sincerely love each other. othello has also promoted cassio over iago and iago is none to pleased. iago then embarks on a mission to destroy not only cassio but also othello and desdemona. iago convinces othello that desdemona has been unfaithful to him wiht cassio and unfortunately othello believes iago insteadof his wife. more plotting and misunderstanding and in the end just about everyone gets killed or seriously sounded. a tragedy indeed.

as i read i kept thinking, "oh come on othello, don't believe him! desdemona, stop carrying on about cassio already!" it made me sad how quickly othello was willing to believe his wife was unfaithful. iago was just such a frightening villian...what a master manipulator. he played on insecurity and jealousy so perfectly and though other characters could have made choices that could have prevented a lot of the bloodshed, iago was truly an evil person.

i actually enjoyed this more than i thought i would - certainly a change from my ya fantasy but i am thinking about reading another play.


Corinne said...

WELL. I am so proud of you for reading it with us! Now you go over to the nook and join in!!

Mark W said...

I was recently in need of new reading material and hadn't made my usual pilgrimage to the local bookstore. I decided to re-read some of my Shakespeare; an act causing my wife to raise her eyebrow and comment once again on how could she have married such a geek. Despite her mild reproach, I dove into the bard. I thoroughly enjoyed Othello. I think Hamlet is still my favorite, but Othello is right up there

It's interesting that many people shy away from reading Shakespeare, despite the fact that so much of contemporary literature and film is based upon his works. In fact, my daughter had to read Hamlet this past year for her English class. (She'll be a senior this year) and she was asked to write an essay about some facet of Shakespeare. I suggested to her that a good topic would be the use of Shakespearean works in contemporary film. We sat done and began to name popular films based upon Shakespearean plays. The list we came up surprised both of us; it was enormous. We both were amazed how well his plays hold up.

I'm glad to hear that you're considering reading another play. Actually, I found that reading many works back-to-back was very helpful. You get into the rhythm of the iambic pentameter and the plays become very "readable."