The Tragedy of Othello, the Moor of Venice is a tragedy by William Shakespeare, believed to have been written in approximately 1603, and based on the short story Un Capitano Moro (“A Moorish Captain”) by Cinthio, a disciple of Boccaccio, first published in 1565. The work revolves around four central characters: Othello, a Moorish general in the Venetian army; his beloved wife, Desdemona; his loyal lieutenant, Cassio; and his trusted but unfaithful ensign, Iago. Because of its varied and current themes of racism, love, jealousy, betrayal, revenge and repentance, Othello is still often performed in professional and community theatres alike and has been the basis for numerous operatic, film, and literary adaptations.

Here’s the thing. I rarely understand Shakespeare fully on the first read through. But two things struck me in this.

  1. This is a freakin’ racist play. If you do not know what a Moor is…read.
  2. This play should actually be called Iago, the racist douche who needs to mind his own damned business. Othello isn’t even the lead role in this play–Iago is–and he’s the villain. He’s one of the few villains that I don’t like!

Surprise! More Shakespeare that I’m not entertained by. I will continue to read it for educational reasons…but I’m not sure he will ever be my cup of tea.



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