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Ohme,whataplay.

Abouttheonlypersonconnectedwithitwhodoesntdieisthestage
managerandwerenotsureaboutthatperson!Iagohastobeoneofthemostevilandclever
villainsofallliterature.TheplayisgrippinginthesuspenseofhowIagowillcarryouthisevil
jealousy,andastonishingintheclevernessofhismischief.
OthelloistheheadofthearmyofVenice.Heisamoor,ablackmanofNorthAfricanroots.He
isthebelovedoftheDukeofVenice,andhaswonthebeautifulDesdamonaashiswife.His
chiefaide,andamanOthelloregardsashisclosestmalefriend,Iago,theoldone,isjealousof
Othellossuccess.
LikemanyvillainsIagodoesntdohisowndirtywork,ratherheweavescarefullydrawnnets
andinvolvesmanyinnocent,orrelativelyinnocentfolks,todohishorrors.Thereishiswifewho
isdrawnin,andironically,evenDesdamonaherself,whosolovesOthello.Asomewhatless
savorycharacter,RoderigowouldliketohaveDesdamonaforhimself,aswouldthemuchmore
innocentanddecentCassio.However,CassioandOthellohaveslightlyfallenoutandIagomilks
thismisunderstandingforhispurposes.
Emilia,Iagoswife,sortofrevealsthecentralthemeoftheplayveryearlyon.Desdamonais
worriedaboutsomeonebeingjealousofOthelloandEmiliatellsheraboutjealouspeople:
Theyarenotjealousforacause,
Butjealousfortheyrejealous.Itisamonster
Begotuponitself,bornasitself.
ButShakespeareletsIagorevealthesourceofhisjealousy;hedoesntbelieveOthellos
reputationiswelldeserved:
Reputationisanidleandmostfalseimposition.
Oftgotwithoutmeritandlostwithoutdeserving.
OthelloislikeafishinafishbowlforIago.Heiscompletelytakeninandrevealshistrustto
Iago,justincaseheneededtobeembolden!Andweightstthywordsbeforethougivstthem
breath,
Thereforethesestopsofthinefrightmethemore
Forsuchthingsinafalsedisloyalknave
Andtricksofcustom,butinamanthatsjust
Theyreclosedilations,workingfromtheheart
Thatpassioncannotrule.
OthellodoesntrealizehisinsightismoretobedirectedATIagoabouthimself,notabout
another.Infact,IagounderstandsthathehasOthellosoconvincedofhistrustworthiness,thathe
canironicallyrevealtoOthello:

Obeware,mylord,ofjealousy
Itisthegreeneyedmonsterwhichdothmock
Theeatitfeedson.Thecuckoldlivesinbliss
Whocertainofhisfate,lovesnothiswronger;
ButO,whatdamnedminutetellsheoer
Whodoteyetdoubtssuspects,yetsoundlylovers!
ForustodayreadingOthellotherecanbenorealsurprises.Thestoryissomuchapartofour
culturalhistorythatevenifonecouldntgiveanaccuratesummaryoftheplay,oneknowsof
Iago,theculturalfigureofbetrayalandevil,andknowsfromtheearliestlinesoftheplaythat
Othelloisdoomed.
Yetgoingbacknow,some50plusyearssincefirstIreadtheplay,Iwasgrippedbythedramaof
it;dreadingwhatwascoming,andlittlebylittleasShakespearerevealsthedepthsofIagos
villainy,themorenervousdoesthereaderbecome.Asimplymarvelouspieceofliterature.