Cover image for The tragedy of Othello, the Moor of Venice
Title:
The tragedy of Othello, the Moor of Venice
Author:
Shakespeare, William, 1564-1616.
Uniform Title:
Othello
Edition:
Washington Square Press new Folger's edition.
Publication Information:
New York : Washington Square Press, 1993.
Physical Description:
li, 314 pages : illustrations ; 18 cm.
Language:
English
Program Information:
Accelerated Reader AR UG 8.4 5.0 53871.
ISBN:
9780671722814

9780671042899
Format :
Book

Available:*

Library
Call Number
Material Type
Home Location
Status
Crane Branch Library PR2829.A2 M68 1993 Adult Non-Fiction Reading List
Searching...

On Order

Summary

Summary

The full text of Shakespeare's 'Othello'.


Author Notes

William Shakespeare, 1564 - 1616 Although there are many myths and mysteries surrounding William Shakespeare, a great deal is actually known about his life. He was born in Stratford-Upon-Avon, son of John Shakespeare, a prosperous merchant and local politician and Mary Arden, who had the wealth to send their oldest son to Stratford Grammar School.

At 18, Shakespeare married Anne Hathaway, the 27-year-old daughter of a local farmer, and they had their first daughter six months later. He probably developed an interest in theatre by watching plays performed by traveling players in Stratford while still in his youth. Some time before 1592, he left his family to take up residence in London, where he began acting and writing plays and poetry.

By 1594 Shakespeare had become a member and part owner of an acting company called The Lord Chamberlain's Men, where he soon became the company's principal playwright. His plays enjoyed great popularity and high critical acclaim in the newly built Globe Theatre. It was through his popularity that the troupe gained the attention of the new king, James I, who appointed them the King's Players in 1603. Before retiring to Stratford in 1613, after the Globe burned down, he wrote more than three dozen plays (that we are sure of) and more than 150 sonnets. He was celebrated by Ben Jonson, one of the leading playwrights of the day, as a writer who would be "not for an age, but for all time," a prediction that has proved to be true.

Today, Shakespeare towers over all other English writers and has few rivals in any language. His genius and creativity continue to astound scholars, and his plays continue to delight audiences. Many have served as the basis for operas, ballets, musical compositions, and films. While Jonson and other writers labored over their plays, Shakespeare seems to have had the ability to turn out work of exceptionally high caliber at an amazing speed. At the height of his career, he wrote an average of two plays a year as well as dozens of poems, songs, and possibly even verses for tombstones and heraldic shields, all while he continued to act in the plays performed by the Lord Chamberlain's Men. This staggering output is even more impressive when one considers its variety. Except for the English history plays, he never wrote the same kind of play twice. He seems to have had a good deal of fun in trying his hand at every kind of play.

Shakespeare wrote 154 sonnets, all published on 1609, most of which were dedicated to his patron Henry Wriothsley, The Earl of Southhampton. He also wrote 13 comedies, 13 histories, 6 tragedies, and 4 tragecomedies. He died at Stratford-upon-Avon April 23, 1616, and was buried two days later on the grounds of Holy Trinity Church in Stratford. His cause of death was unknown, but it is surmised that he knew he was dying.

(Bowker Author Biography)


Reviews 5

Publisher's Weekly Review

More than a retelling, this aptly termed "reconceptualization" provocatively modernizes Shakespeare's play. As in the original, the middle-aged general Othello the ``moor'' and young European noblewoman Desdemona fall in love and marry secretly. But Lester (To Be a Slave; John Henry) transplants the action from Venice and Cyprus to Elizabethan England and turns Iago and Emily into Africans like Othello, so that the three of them share a distinctly non-European point of view. Iago's envy of Othello and ability to whip him into a jealous rage at Desdemona are thus cast in a new light, though the tragic outcome remains the same. While the ending feels abrupt, Lester's novel succeeds in holding up a mirror to contemporary society. Phrases and passages directly based on Shakespeare's language are printed in a different typeface, a device that may distract the reader but eases comparisons with the original work. Ages 8-12. (Apr.) (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved


Choice Review

Targeting novice readers of Shakespeare, "The Sourcebooks Shakespeare" series presents the Bard's plays as a ground for lively debate and discussion. Each release includes a general introduction; the text of the play itself; a series of essays on the play, written by scholars who eschew technical vocabulary; and an audio CD of various performers reading selected scenes and speeches from the play. In the case of the Othello volume the recordings include rare gems performed by Paul Robeson and F. Scott Fitzgerald; the Romeo and Juliet CD features performances by Joseph Fiennes, Claire Bloom, Albert Finney, Judi Dench, and Fiona Shaw. The text of both plays is presented in an appealing font size with lots of blank space surrounding the dialogue. Notes occupy a facing page, and they are helpful without being overwhelming. Scenes or speeches performed on the CD are marked with a text box that indicates how to locate the track. Neither volume clarifies how the editors arrived at "the text," which will be a drawback to teachers who want to engage students with questions of textual bibliography. Photos of past productions aim to help students visualize the scenes. With all this helpful commentary, however, student readers have little need to project the text imaginatively. For example, in narrating the Othello CD, Sir Derek Jacobi prefaces most tracks with a summary of the scene to follow and frames each with an interpretation. The quality of these two volumes differs somewhat. In happy contrast to the edition of Othello, the essays in the Romeo and Juliet volume do not lose sight of the fact that the play text requires active, critical reading. Facsimile pages from promptbooks of famous productions, e.g., J.P. Kemble's 1814 mounting of the play, point the reader to directors' revisions of the play as they produce it. Those with limited background in reading early modern plays will appreciate this very "friendly" Shakespeare series. ^BSumming Up: Recommended. Lower-division undergraduates; secondary students; general readers. M. A. Bushman Illinois Wesleyan University


Booklist Review

Gr. 8-12. Some may wonder what Lester is up to here. A novelization of Shakespeare's Othello? Why not just read the play? But in his well-reasoned introduction, Lester tackles that subject head-on, and his answers should convince even purists that there's a place for this book. After all, it's common knowledge that Shakespeare took plots from other works, so Lester is only following the Bard's example. Moreover, Lester firmly states that his book is not a substitute for the play but, rather, a re-imagining of the story. Though he follows the original story line, Lester has made significant changes in the characterizations. Now Iago and Emilia (Emily in the play), like Othello, are black. Lester wanted race to be a more central theme of his novel, and by repositioning these characters, he brings a new and powerful dimension to that aspect of the story. In portraying Othello, Iago, and Emily as Africans who have come to England (the new setting) together, Lester gives them a mutual history that also adds psychological depth to his new conceptualization. Another goal of Lester's is to make his book a bridge to the play. Since Shakespeare's language can be an inhibiting factor for young people, this more modern rendering makes the story accessible. But Lester does not entirely remake Shakespeare's style. Sometimes Lester paraphrases; at other times, he uses exact wording, which is printed in boldface, a useful, if occasionally awkward device.There's only one problem with the book, and it's one that has played around the edges of Shakespeare's work as well. Othello's dramatic about-face concerning Desdemona, ending in her murder, comes with a quickness that will probably startle young readers. Despite the pyschological motivations Lester has tried to establish, Othello's haste to distrust does not seem to mesh with the image of the noble general that's been presented. Perhaps because of the intimacy a novel engenders, this jump seems more jarring here than it does in the play. On the whole, however, this is a fascinating effort. The story of Othello, with its questions about perceptions, race, and the nature of love and friendship, will be a natural draw for young people, just as it has been for readers worldwide, for centuries. --Ilene Cooper


Library Journal Review

The new "Sourcebooks Shakespeare" series is designed to attract a wide audience by emphasizing performance as well as text. A glossary and photos from contemporary stage and film productions accompany the text of each play, and related essays offer further insights. Each title contains an integrated audio CD that is narrated by British Shakespearean actor Sir Derek Jacobi and features excerpts from memorable performances of key scenes. The series boasts stellar credits: its advisory board includes Shakespeare scholars David Bevington and Peter Holland and Chicago Shakespeare Theater director Barbara Gaines. Among the contributors are several more Shakespeare scholars as well as actress Janet Suzman and Andrew Wade, formerly head of voice for the Royal Shakespeare Company. Both volumes begin with Thomas Garvey's "In Shakespeare's `Time,' " an essay that sets the playwright in historical context, and end with "The Cast Speaks," in which casts of 2005 productions discuss their approach to the characters they portrayed. The CD accompanying the Othello volume features a variety of noteworthy performers in the title role, including Paul Robeson, Paul Scofield, and Edwin Booth; and the CD accompanying the Romeo and Juliet volume presents recordings of Kate Beckinsale, Dame Peggy Ashcroft, and Ellen Terry as Juliet; Kenneth Branagh and Michael Sheen as Romeo; Sir Derek Jacobi as Mercutio; and Sir John Gielgud as Friar Laurence. With the number of film adaptations of Shakespeare's works in recent years, public libraries should seriously consider acquiring this series.-Carolyn M. Mulac, Chicago P.L. (c) Copyright 2010. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.


School Library Journal Review

Gr 7 Up-Osada has populated his version of Othello with a bestiary of part-animal, part-monster characters with third eyes; second sets of arms, wings, and tattoos; and sadomasochistic or infernal overtones. Sometimes the design choices seem to be thematic-Cassio looks quite young, Othello is vaguely angelic-to reinforce an individual aspect of a given character or to provide a small irony. But overall, the effect is mystifying and distracting, and the characters are chimeric aggregations with no sense of purpose or place. The opening of the play focuses on the fact that the marriage between Othello and Desdemona should be stopped because of his Moorish origins-but how can this be an issue when the challenge is being put forth by an anthropomorphic fox? One finds oneself asking why these design decisions were made, and the lack of evidence of any thoughtful intent makes the adaptation unintentionally comic and bizarre. Coupled with a lackluster use of tone and shade, and a series of monologues that lacks narrative form, this volume would seem unlikely to convert manga readers to Shakespeare, nor to lead literature readers to comics.-Benjamin Russell, Belmont High School, NH (c) Copyright 2010. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.


Excerpts

Excerpts

Performed by Hugh QuarshieAnton LesserEmma Fielding and full castSecond in Shakespeare's great sequence of tragedies. It differs markedly from the others in its essentially domestic milieu--the story unfolds with suffocatingly close intensity, unrelieved by the religious or metaphysical context we expect to find. Although a swift-paced play, the emotion-filled action is not lacking. From love and passion, nobility and purity, to deception, tragedy and murder, this widely studied play is one of the best sellers of the Shakespearean canon.Othello Hugh QuarshieDesdemona Emma FieldingIago Anton LesserEmilia Patience TomlinsonCassio/2nd Senator Roger MayBianca Alison PettitDuke of Venice/ 2nd Gentleman/Herald Roy Spencer Brabantio/3rd Gentleman/Gratiano Peter YappRoderigo/1st Gentleman/Sailor John McAndrewLodovico/1st Musician/1st Senator/Messenger Stephen ThorneMontano/Messenger/Clown Jonathan Keeble Excerpted from Othello by William Shakespeare All rights reserved by the original copyright owners. Excerpts are provided for display purposes only and may not be reproduced, reprinted or distributed without the written permission of the publisher.

Table of Contents

Introductionp. 4
William Shakespeare: Life, Plays, Theater, Versep. 6
The Tragedy of Othello, the Moor of Venice: Date, Source, Textp. 16
Othello
Original Text Side-by-Side With Modern Versionp. 19
Activitiesp. 294
Themes and Imagesp. 294
Charactersp. 301
Examination Questionsp. 315

Google Preview