Friday, January 6, 2012


OthelloOthello – William Shakespeare
Evan’s ESS = 9 out of 10
Erin’s ESS = out of 10
Content = PG (Adult Content, Violence, Jealousy, Fiery Speech, Deadly Pillows)

“O! beware, my lord, of jealousy;
It is the green-ey’d monster which doth mock
The meat it feeds on.”

“The Robbed that smiles, steals something from the thief.”

Why: We hatheth looketh Shakespeare in the eye and hatheth slaineth this frightening beast of our youth.  Sorry, we got a little carried away...  Actually, what we meant to say in our own primitive speech is that Shakespeare is our new hero – be gone villainous preconceived notions of past literature classes!  Now, we’ve only read two of his tragedies thus far, but Dareth we geteth ahead of ourselves and say that we now loveth Shakespeare?

Sensible and even tempered Venetian general, Othello, is at the top of his game.   He’s respected by the government and recently won the unyielding love of a rare beauty.  Enter the villainous Lago.  Jealousy, anger, and madness quickly consume Othello’s character as lies are implanted at every turn.  When a family heirloom turns up missing, the path towards complete destruction becomes too great to avert.

Wow, we (Evan) can now say with great pleasure that we are no longer kicking and screaming into Shakespeare!!!  Othello far surpassed our expectations (and so did Hamlet).  Did we scan the cliff notes before each scene?  Yes.  Did we understand every conversation?  Absolutely not.  Still, we were struck by how much raw emotion was infused into every sentence, nay, every word.  The language Shakespeare uses is so powerful that he forces the reader to listen to every word.  If we were one of his characters, we’d probably have high anxiety issues by the age of seven.

While the plot was surprisingly simple the emotions portrayed by the characters were not.  The raw jealousy displayed by Othello forced shivers down our spine on several occasions.  For something known as a tragedy, the death count as a percentage to the number of main characters was still impressively high.  Remind us not to give the gift of a handkerchief next anniversary.

Two weeks ago we were hesitant, but now we can’t wait to get to the more Shakespeare.  And with 25ish more days left in Shakespeare Reading Month things are definately looking up.  Next, it’s time to try something where the entire cast doesn’t snuff it!


  1. I had the same fears in reading Shakespeare too. And I didn't understand every conversation either (which is why I loved the appendix in the penguin edition so much). Othello sounds good. I think I am going to have to add that to my tr list. I would recommend Macbeth which was AMAZING but there are a few deaths in that too, lol.

  2. I read this one in high school, and it was great to have the teacher explaining it all. I've particularly come to love Shakespeare now that our local theater puts on one of his plays every year or so and does such a wonderful job.

  3. I'm going to second Karen. Macbeth was amazing, as was King Lear. Among the comedies, I loved A Midsummer Night's Dream which I just read.

  4. Karen,
    I've added Macbeth to my Shakespeare reads this month!

    I've been searching the Internet for a local Shakespeare play, but haven't found anything yet. I really hope I can watch something soon.

    A Midsummer's Night Dream is up next! I can't wait.

  5. I'm glad you enjoyed Othello! It's true, the story is simple but the emotion and the characters are what make it.

  6. Nice! So glad you have a newfound respect for the Bard. I bet you can't wait for the comedies. P.S. Iago is the villain in Othello, same as in Disney's Aladdin ;)

  7. Teacher/Learner,
    Ah, that makes perfect sense about Lago! Thanks for sharing!

  8. I watched Othello as a movie and loved it, but haven't actually gotten around to reading the play yet. I think I'll have to keep reading Shakespeare even after January.