25 Facts About Othello


Othello is a Moorish military commander who was serving as a general of the Venetian army in defence of Cyprus against invasion by Ottoman Turks.

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Othello has recently married Desdemona, a beautiful and wealthy Venetian lady much younger than himself, against the wishes of her father.

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Iago hates Othello for promoting a younger man named Cassio above him, whom Iago considers a less capable soldier than himself, and tells Roderigo that he plans to exploit Othello for his own advantage.

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Othello defends himself before the Duke of Venice, Brabantio's kinsmen Lodovico and Gratiano, and various senators.

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Othello explains that Desdemona became enamoured of him for the sad and compelling stories he told of his life before Venice, not because of any witchcraft.

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Othello reappears and questions the men as to what happened.

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Othello blames Cassio for the disturbance and strips him of his rank.

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Othello appears and, then being convinced by Iago of his wife's unfaithfulness with his captain, vows with Iago for the death of Desdemona and Cassio, after which he makes Iago his lieutenant.

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Iago plants the handkerchief in Cassio's lodgings, then tells Othello to watch Cassio's reactions while Iago questions him.

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Othello sees this, and Iago convinces him that Cassio received the handkerchief from Desdemona.

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Othello confronts Desdemona, and then smothers her with a pillow.

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Othello, belatedly realising Desdemona's innocence, stabs Iago but not fatally, saying that Iago is a devil, and he would rather have him live the rest of his life in pain.

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Othello is an adaptation of the Italian writer Cinthio's tale "Un Capitano Moro" from his Gli Hecatommithi (1565), a collection of one hundred tales in the style of Boccaccio's Decameron.

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Othello refuses to admit his guilt and is condemned to exile.

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Michael Neill, editor of an Oxford edition, notes that the earliest critical references to Othello's colour assume him to be Sub-Saharan, while the earliest known North African interpretation was not until Edmund Kean's production of 1814.

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Othello stayed with his retinue in London for several months and occasioned much discussion.

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Othello was frequently performed as an Arab Moor during the 19th century.

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Regardless of what Shakespeare intended by calling Othello a "Moor" – whether he meant that Othello was a Muslim or a black man or both – in the 19th century and much of the 20th century, many critics tended to see the tragedy in racial terms, seeing interracial marriages as "aberrations" that could end badly.

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Othello's army was composed of both black and white mercenaries.

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Othello was one of the twenty plays performed by the King's Men during the winter of 1612, in celebration of the wedding of Princess Elizabeth and Frederick V, Elector Palatine.

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Othello's Othello was captured on record in 1964 with Jay Robinson as Iago and on video in 1981 with Ron Moody as Iago.

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Stewart had wanted to play the title role since the age of 14, so he and director Jude Kelly inverted the play so Othello became a comment on a white man entering a black society.

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In 2007, Othello opened at the Donmar Warehouse in London on 4 December 2007, directed by Michael Grandage, with Chiwetel Ejiofor as Othello, Ewan McGregor as Iago, Tom Hiddleston as Cassio, Kelly Reilly as Desdemona and Michelle Fairley as Emilia.

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In 2009, stand-up comedian Lenny Henry played Othello, produced by Northern Broadsides in collaboration with West Yorkshire Playhouse.

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In September 2013, a Tamil adaptation titled Othello, the Fall of a Warrior was directed and produced in Singapore by Subramanian Ganesh.

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