Othello, also known as The Tragedy of Othello, the Moor of Venice which is believed to be written in 1603.
The four main characters in Shakespeare's play is Othello, a Moorish general in the Venetian army; Othello's wife Desdemona; Othello's loyal lieutenant, Cassio; and Othello's trusted ensign, Iago.
The play begins with Roderigo being angry that Desdemona who he hoped to marry has run off with Othello. It's said but not said that he is loathed to think of Desdemona with a man that is a Moor. He is complaining to Iago who has his own ax to grind against Othello because Othello promoted the character Cassio above him.
All of the actions that happen after this is Roderigo and Iago doing their best to bring Othello to ruin.
At first I had a lot of sympathy for the character Othello, however, after a while that sympathy erodes when you realize that he got played by Iago and refused to listen to what his wife was saying to him. In fact what makes the whole thing twisted is that because Desdemona ran off and married Othello (causing her father to pretty much never acknowledge her again) Othello now believes that Desdemona is not trustworthy.
The entire play really is a great look at how gossip and innuendo can bring down people, in this case, Othello and Desdemona. We also get to see how race is a factor for how some treat Othello as well. Othello was just often referred to as the Moor. We also have get to see how women were treated back then. Othello runs around calling Desdemona a whore every other second it felt like towards the end of the play. Iago's poor wife Emilia who is Desdemona's faithful maidservant who gives her life to tell the truth of others actions is killed for it in the end.
When I first decided to read some of Shakespeare's plays this year I was worried that some of the writing would be above my head. I mean all of the thee and thous concern me. However, I was happy that I was able to get through this without having to run to my dictionary, much.
The flow of the play is a bit off here and there though. I think it's just because it seems weird to me to read people's random speeches and you have to imagine that they are saying this and no one can hear them (though there will be like 3 other people in the scene).
The setting of Venice and Cyprus don't feel real. Then again this was a play so it's not like Shakespeare was writing a book and needed to describe places since in his head he would be performing this on a stage.
So I really liked this play and am planning on trying to catch the movie soon. I remember seeing parts of this movie when it came out, but never sat through the whole thing. It looks really good though and Kenneth Branagh looks deliciously evil.