Othello – a tragic ride of awesome

OthelloOthello by William Shakespeare

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Reviewing Shakespeare is as daft as reviewing Augustine and Milton, but I’ve reviewed both of them before!* So. Othello.

First: It’s the first attestation in the English language of:

‘the beast with two backs’ (although François Rabelais said in French first)

jealousy as ‘the green-eyed monster’


‘pomp and circumstance’ (although popular today because of Elgar, not Shakespeare. still!)

How much more awesome could a Shakespeare play get than to have those three common phrases for the first time ever?!?

This play is brilliant. For the first act or two, it reads a bit like a comedy — a knave of a slave (mind you, technically they all are), scheming and conniving against his master and making people think false is true and true is false. Thus Iago.

And then, at some point while they’re in the Citadel of Cyprus (rumour has it: Famagusta), things turn darker. Othello starts getting mad. Angry-mad. Perhaps a bit crazy-mad. Iago proves himself disloyal to his friends, not just cruel to his master.

And then people start dying! Murder! Madness!


As my wife says, this play is the most tragic of all. Within moments of smothering Desdemona to death, Othello is given access to the truth — that Desdemona was not unfaithful, and that Iago was scheming to bring this about. What a downfall! Such intensity. Talk about catharsis.

*See my reviews of Augustine’s City of God and Milton’s Paradise Lost — hopefully those pages will bring you somewhere on Goodreads to find them!

View all my reviews


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.