Sophist Almanac


William Shakespeare - Tragedy ② Othello

William Shakespeare, Othello (1603)



Othello (The Tragedy of Othello, the Moor of Venice) is a tragedy by William Shakespeare, believed to have been written in 1603. It is based on the story Un Capitano Moro ("A Moorish Captain") by Cinthio, a disciple of Boccaccio, first published in 1565.[1] The story revolves around its two central characters: Othello, a Moorish general in the Venetian army and his unfaithful ensign, Iago. Given its varied and enduring themes of racism, love, jealousy, betrayal, revenge and repentance, Othello is still often performed in professional and community theatre alike, and has been the source for numerous operatic, film, and literary adaptations. (Wikipedia)



Othello is a 1995 film based on William Shakespeare's tragedy of the same name. It was directed by Oliver Parker and stars Laurence Fishburne as Othello, Irène Jacob as Desdemona, and Kenneth Branagh as Iago. This is the first cinematic reproduction of the play released by a major studio that casts an African American actor to play the role of Othello, although low-budget independent films of the play starring Ted Lange[1] and Yaphet Kotto predated it. (Wikipedia)



Paul Robeson's Othello

Paul Robeson's Othello

African-American actor Paul Robeson (1898-1976) was the first black actor since 1860 to perform the role of Othello in a major production. Robeson was a remarkably talented man; a student sports star who played in the precursor to the NFL, an accomplished bass-baritone, and a fine actor on film and stage. As the son of an escaped slave, he also knew racism and prejudice, and his outspoken left-wing politics saw him victimised by the US's anti-Communist authorities and media of the 1950s.


He first played Othello in England in 1930, and later took the production successfully to Broadway. But his final stage appearance, as Othello for the Royal Shakespeare Company in Stratford in April 1959, was the most celebrated. The sound extract in the audio tab was recorded in April 1959 at a Royal Shakespeare Company production.