Talk:Othello

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Seriously, people[edit]

Othello the character needs to have his own page, too. And the list of actors who have played Othello (while wonderfully extensive) belongs on that page.--BeastKing89 20:30, 31 May 2007 (UTC)

I agree that we need an Othello character page. The list of characters would probably do better here, but I'll make a template with links to other characters for the new page like I did for Hamlet and Romeo and Juliet. Wrad 21:01, 31 May 2007 (UTC)

Agree, an Othello the character page is vital, and only fair since all the other characters have their own page. 137.73.126.221 19:06, 3 June 2007 (UTC)

Changes[edit]

I've editted a few bits and added themes and tropes. I got rid of discussion of Othello's race, as it would be more suitable to a page discussing his character; not very important in terms of the whole play Gaobei

I've replaced (and revised) the section on Othello's race; it was badly written, but hardly irrelevant to the play. The Singing Badger 23:52, 2 May 2005 (UTC)
Mmm, not sure I agree, but it is much better as you've written it. Thanks for putting up a chronology of Shakespeare's plays - I had actually written they were presented achronologically. not chronologically, but mainly as I didn't have the

resources to do my own! Gaobei


i deleted *Othello - Scholarly essays on Shakespeare's Othello its a link to a pay per esay site


It came as a great surprise to me when I learnt that some people don't like the first act of Othello but I can't find anyone on the Internet who can tell me why they don't like the first act. Everyone assumes that everyone knows what is wrong with it. Is this not an omission? If it's an important matter - and it is important because some companies perform the play without the first act - should not the article mention this? I wouldn't dare edit this article because I'm not a literary person and know very little about Othello (but, of course, isn't that why Wiki exists?). I'm making this comment in the hope that someone who is a literary person can give an explanation of this issue in the article. Maybe all it needs is a couple of sentences and perhaps a reference. SOgley —Preceding unsigned comment added by Sogley (talkcontribs) 15:20, 12 February 2008 (UTC)

Is Othello a 'Moor'?[edit]

Hmmm. Shakespeare did call Othello a "Moor" but it is uncertain what he meant by it. He could well mean an African black (more black than tawny) - there's a whole chapter of commentary on my old Arden which argues for or against him being either, and actors down the centuries change their make-up to suit their own interpretations. There's evidence in the text that Othello could well be a Christian, so it's not clear that he's a North African Muslim either. What do people think? Mandel 09:22, Dec 8, 2004 (UTC)

The impression I've got from reading around the subject is that Othello's racial status is blurry. He's decribed as a North African Moor, but sometimes he is described as looking like a 'black' man (a sub-Saharan African) and sometimes not. And yes, it is implied that he's a Christian, which doesn't mean that he was never a Muslim, just that he is a Christian now.
There are basically two interpretations of Othello: one is that he's a Moorish outsider who is trying hard to fit into Venetian society, hence the Christianity, loyalty to the Venetian Duke, and dating of white girls. The other is that he's proud to be a Moor and doesn't think being of a different race and/or religion should prevent him from being loyal to Venice, or from marrying Desdemona. Often, on stage, this boils down to costuming: in the first interpretation, Othello wears Venetian clothes like everyone else; in the latter, he wears African or Moorish costumes that mark him out as different.
I personally think the text suggests that the first interpretation is the more accurate one: that Othello wants to be a Christian Venetian. But the latter (that he is proud to be different) is more popular nowadays probably because it seems a more positive message about racial politics.
(If anyone wants to work the above into the article, please go ahead; I'd do it myself but I don't have the right books to confirm my recollections). The Singing Badger 15:25, 8 Dec 2004 (UTC)
As far as I understand, the term "Moor" originated as meaning North African, probably from Morocco. The word evolved to mean any person from Africa, then anyone black, and then possibly any "outsider". What is important to the play is that he was an outsider, a slave. He rose to the ranks of general, just as any slave with skill might become a craftsman. Othello being a general was socially acceptable, though it was different. However, once Othello married a white woman of the upper class, he is sometimes viewed as messing with the social heirarchy.
Another Loophole July 8, 2005 03:44 (UTC)
I don't think the label is supposed to be too specific, like someone said above, it's probably just to denote him as an outsider. But, the amount of times "black" imagery is used suggests to me that Shakespeare imagined Othello as a black man despite the "moor" label: Iago, for instance, says "Even now, now, very now, an old black Ram/Is tupping your white Ewe" and "Come, lieutenant, I have a/stope of wine, and here without are a brace of Cyprus gallants/that would fain have a measure to the health of black Othello." ; Othello himself states "Haply, for I am black/And have not those soft parts of conversation/That chamberers have..." Throughout, he is associated with blackness, with no indication that we are wrong to conclude that he is in fact a black African.
My interpretation of Othello's Christianity is simply that Shakespeare didn't want to deal with the issue of Islam, which he probably didn't understand and didn't want to tie into his play. Singing Bagder's interpretation is probably just as valid, though.. --Tothebarricades July 8, 2005 04:04 (UTC)

I think it is important to note that many moors were black and the term moor means black. For those reasons it is most likely that Othello was black, because if he was arab they would hav just called him that

Moor derives from Latin Mauretania. Much play is made of Honigman in the latest Arden in the article, but MR Ridley in the previous edition is quite categorical that all attempts to blunt Othello's race have their roots in prejudice. Othello is a blackamoor, in the same vein as Aaron from Titus Andronicus.Jatrius (talk) 15:21, 23 May 2008 (UTC)

'Moors' could be Arabs as well as black people: check an historical dictionary. Honigman's points are perfectly valid. It's true that productions in the past made him an Arab because of prejudice against black people. But there's prejudice against Arabs too. In today's political climate, a production that depicted Othello as an Arab would be quite brave, I suspect. The Drama Llama (talk) 12:54, 24 May 2008 (UTC)

Honigman's points are well reasoned but he's not a holy man and his points are in contradistinction to MR Ridley. He just happens to be flavour of the month in much the same fashion as much of academe that has to be revisionist in order to make an impression. Check out the points made in the Second Arden edition. They are equally as valid, if not more cogent.Jatrius (talk) 20:46, 26 May 2008 (UTC)

There's nothing 'revisionist' in Honigmann's argument: Arabic Othellos were common on the nineteenth century stage, so it's not some trendy modern fad. Anyway, if you think the 2nd Arden makes good points, why not add them to the article? The Drama Llama (talk) 21:45, 26 May 2008 (UTC)

Changes[edit]

I've got rid of the whole section on signifier/signified. I didn´t have the energy to turn it into reasonable English, the whole thing was just a facile structuralist pile of crap.—This unsigned comment was added by Lycidas (talkcontribs) .

I've replaced it. It seems to be reasonable English to me, is a long standing part of the article, addresses important issues, and not having energy to improve something is not a good reason to delete it wholesale. Makemi 19:29, 16 March 2006 (UTC)
It's true that the Signifier / Signified section is unnecessarily jargony and, especially at the beginning, uses Saussure in a trivial, unenlightening, freshman-english kind of way. It should be changed; but currently I, like Lycidas, lack the time to change it properly. Solemnavalanche 14:48, 20 April 2006 (UTC)
The section comprises two fairly banal observations - (1) The play confronts prejudice and (2) it is about dishonesty and deceit. the saussurean terminology adds absolutely nothing.

I think that Othello really proved himself in the story. He rose to general and fought his way out of slavery. I think that a Moor is someone who originated in Africa and could men "Black or color". I think Othello really proves himself and is a good fighter for what he believes.USer:LaceyM

Can someone fix the pronouns in the plot summaries so they don't have to be clarified with parentheticals? That is just poor form.

Spoiler tag[edit]

I recently removed the spoiler tag from the synopsis, leaving a (I admit probably too) flippant edit summary as justification. To elaborate, I think there comes a point with certain works of fiction where we have to accept that spoilers are uneccesary. Amongst many other examples (books aimed at young children (see The Little Engine that Could which had a spoiler tag removed), and iconic films (see The Magnificent Seven which again previously had spoiler tags) must feature incredibly well known fictional works of long standing that are of primary interest for reasons other than gripping plot twists. The Odyssey, Beowulf, and the various Canterbury Tales all manage to get by without spoilers (in the case of the first two they were removed), as do Hamlet, Macbeth, Romeo and Juliet and Henry IV, Part 2 (though, comically enough Henry IV, Part 1 has the tags).

Now I freely admit that my list is selective and there are examples of classical literature (The Divine Comedy) and Shakespeare plays (Henry IV Part II already mentioned but also King Lear and most ridiculously of all Julius Caesar) which do have the tags. I maintain these are a bad idea as well, however, for two main reasons. Firstly, spoilers are there to prevent enjoyment of a work being impaired by foreknowledge, yet surely the enjoyment of Shakespeare comes from the language, characterisation and/or the performance, not the plots (which are generally hackneyed by modern standards and were derivative even in Shakespeare's day). I've been to countless performances of Shakespeare (one of the perks of living near Stratford) and must confess I have never once heard anyone utter "wow, I never saw that one coming". Secondly, the spoilers in all the articles mentioned are contained within sections named either "plot" or "synopsis". A warning within a heading entitled "plot" stating that "plot and/or ending details follow" serves little more than to insult readers' intelligence. If somebody reads the synopsis section and is surprised to see details of the plot contained within then, frankly, they aren't likely to get much out of Shakespeare anyway.

Even setting aside the controversy of spoilers in general (if you have a spare hour or two the archives at Wikipedia talk:Spoiler warning make interesting reading) I've got to say that in this particular instance the tag is aimed at individuals who simply don't exist. --Daduzi talk 11:37, 16 July 2006 (UTC)



Dostoevsky, almost a modern Othello[edit]

As a Wikipedia novice, I like to make my first addition to Othello here.

In the book "The meaning of Shakespeare" Vol 2 pg 89 by Harold C. Goddard there is an interesting anecdote told by Dostoevsky's second wife under the title A Practicle Joke. She wrote that she sent Dostoevsky an anonymous letter stating that his wife was having an affair with another man. As proof, he should look at the locket she always wears. When Doestoevsky received this letter, he was very angry at her and demanded to she the locket. When he finally opened it and saw it contained his and his daughter's portaits he was very confused. She said "Fedya, you silly, how could you believe an anonymous letter?" Dostoevsky: "How do you know of the letter?" She answered "How? I myself wrote it to you!" The letter was a slightly changed letter from a short story the Dostoevsky recently read. Dostoevsky like Othello was an epileptiker. Leif Schumacher 84.154.89.85 14:59, 21 September 2006 (UTC)

No plot[edit]

There is no plot here. The (article)page looks more like discussion. I am not an expert so I cant write one. I came here looking for a plot. Synopsis is not plot

--amuser 10:07, 5 September 2006 (UTC)

  • I agree that the synopsis section is far too short & needs more information. AndyJones 12:41, 5 September 2006 (UTC)
  • I also agree, I have just read the book for school and that synopsis doesnt cover most of the play. I am actually shocked that someone could dilute th story to such a short paragraph.

Essay[edit]

My essay question: Was Othello's love for Desdemona real or imagined? Discuss. What are your thoughts?

I would say that he really loved her, he just allowed himself to be overcome by suspicions. He's remorseful in the end after he finds out that she was innocent right?```` —Preceding unsigned comment added by Shoebug (talkcontribs) 01:19, 5 January 2008 (UTC)

Text actually supports Black..not Arab[edit]

I don't see why this article makes it look like it's unrealistic for Othello to be black..the language in the story supports it.

Iago calls Othello sooty..(which is a derogatory way of saying black), he calls him a black ram...I mean how much more specific does Shakespeare need to be? Apparently Othello isn't Arab. Othello's race isn't as ambiguous as this article makes it out to be. This article is biased, and needs an edit.


--Vehgah 16:35, 14 November 2006 (UTC)

216.91.84.2 21:38, 30 January 2007 (UTC) This article has been vandalized, it should be flagged to fix the first paragraph

not just that, but Iago also refers to Othello as "thick lips" (an obvious black sterotype,) as arabs wouldnt be called such a thing. C. Pineda (クリス) 01:14, 10 October 2007 (UTC)

Themes and Tropes[edit]

I deleted the sections about inverting black/white, heaven/hell, etc because those aren't really suitable comments for an encyclopedia.

They weren't factual comments, but rather individual ideas for interpreting the themes of the play. So they might belong in an academic journal, but not on wiki. (Incidentally I didn't agree with them either, but that's not really the point.) Iiago 09:05, 20 April 2007 (UTC)iiago

It has also appears that "In Othello, it is Iago who manipulates all other characters at will, controlling their movements and trapping them in an intricate net of lies. A. C. Bradley — and more recently Harold Bloom — have been major advocates of this interpretation."

How can this be an "interpretation"? Maybe "The Moor is married to Desdemona" or "Iago stabs Roderigo" could be called an interpretation, then? --99.234.13.190 (talk) 14:53, 10 February 2008 (UTC)

Spoilers?[edit]

Why are there no spoilers for this article? Some people do not know the story's ending. --MosheA 02:19, 3 May 2007 (UTC)

Fair use rationale for Image:Othello front.jpg[edit]

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Image:Othello front.jpg is being used on this article. I notice the image page specifies that the image is being used under fair use but there is no explanation or rationale as to why its use in this Wikipedia article constitutes fair use. In addition to the boilerplate fair use template, you must also write out on the image description page a specific explanation or rationale for why using this image in each article is consistent with fair use.

Please go to the image description page and edit it to include a fair use rationale. Using one of the templates at Wikipedia:Fair use rationale guideline is an easy way to insure that your image is in compliance with Wikipedia policy, but remember that you must complete the template. Do not simply insert a blank template on an image page.

If there is other other fair use media, consider checking that you have specified the fair use rationale on the other images used on this page. Note that any fair use images uploaded after 4 May, 2006, and lacking such an explanation will be deleted one week after they have been uploaded, as described on criteria for speedy deletion. If you have any questions please ask them at the Media copyright questions page. Thank you.BetacommandBot 05:39, 6 June 2007 (UTC)

Images[edit]

Some users already proposed creating a separate page for Othello and the other characters, which seems logical as they are deep and quite complex, in which case it would make sense to remove some of the images from the Othello play page. I think that there are too many pictures concentrated between "source" and "synopsis" making the passage unappealing. Perhaps they could simply be moved down. Any thoughts? Also, I think that having two copies of the image titled "The seminal Russian actor and theatre practitioner Constantin Stanislavski as Othello in 1896." is superfluous.Lserven 21:51, 25 October 2007 (UTC)

Synopsis[edit]

Obviously there is disagreement whether the synopsis should be here or not. I believe we should keep the format consistent with his other plays Julius Caesar (play), Romeo and Juliet, A Midsummer Night's Dream, etc. else, it becomes a discussion of Othello and not an encyclopedic entry of it. Discuss.

Keep it. It provides context for the rest of the article and keeps it consistent with other articles on shakespeare plays. Wrad (talk) 15:59, 19 November 2007 (UTC)


First Picture[edit]

I don't know why the picture at the top of this article is of a performance on Broadway and the caption says it is the most performed shakespeare play to be performed ther. How is that relevant? Who cares? Maybe that fact could be stated somewhere further down the page, but not right at the top! Instead of having a painting of Shakespeare on his article, why not have a picture of an actor who portrayed him on stage?! —Preceding unsigned comment added by Richard LVP Real (talkcontribs) 13:33, 28 November 2007 (UTC)

I'm sorry, I don't understand your point. Of course a picture of a famous person playing Othello is relevant to an article about Othello. As for "who cares?", well, surely the type of person who looks up Othello in an encyclopedia cares. Your Shakespeare analogy is very strange: Shakespeare was a living person, whereas Othello is a character, so the only pictures available are of someone playing him. AndyJones (talk) 17:35, 28 November 2007 (UTC)

Fair use rationale for Image:OmkaraStill.jpg[edit]

Nuvola apps important.svg

Image:OmkaraStill.jpg is being used on this article. I notice the image page specifies that the image is being used under fair use but there is no explanation or rationale as to why its use in this Wikipedia article constitutes fair use. In addition to the boilerplate fair use template, you must also write out on the image description page a specific explanation or rationale for why using this image in each article is consistent with fair use.

Please go to the image description page and edit it to include a fair use rationale. Using one of the templates at Wikipedia:Fair use rationale guideline is an easy way to ensure that your image is in compliance with Wikipedia policy, but remember that you must complete the template. Do not simply insert a blank template on an image page.

If there is other fair use media, consider checking that you have specified the fair use rationale on the other images used on this page. Note that any fair use images lacking such an explanation can be deleted one week after being tagged, as described on criteria for speedy deletion. If you have any questions please ask them at the Media copyright questions page. Thank you.

BetacommandBot (talk) 14:58, 8 March 2008 (UTC)

Setting?[edit]

Where does Othello take place? —Preceding unsigned comment added by Scofield Boy (talkcontribs) 22:37, 12 May 2008 (UTC)

Venice, mostly. Wrad (talk) 22:41, 12 May 2008 (UTC)
Thats not entirely true. The play starts off in Venice and then the rest of the play takes place in Cyprus. Noneforall (talk) 22:51, 1 June 2008 (UTC)

All the World's a Grave[edit]

The following was recently added to the page, with the three references that follow:

This is one of a series of edits adding information about the book to the articles about the plays mentioned in it. (See here and here. Both users are currently SPAs.) I have reverted them all. The book is as yet unpublished, so there is very little chance, I think, that its inclusion on pages about Shakespeare plays will be appropriate in the near future. It's clearly inappropriate now. The threshold for inclusion will be if and when the book is published, then becomes noticed by academic writers, who then write about it in reliable academic sources about the play.

Frankly, it's hard to see its inclusion now is anything other than spam. (See WP:SPAM.)

The user who added them asked if the sources are overkill. I'm afraid they're very much underkill, sorry. The NY Post article isn't even a review: just an extremely short piece that reads as if it's reproduced from a press release. The second is the book's page on the website of the book's publishers. The third is about a different book. See WP:V and WP:RS for more on the principles involved. AndyJones (talk) 19:13, 7 August 2008 (UTC)

Ich denke, dass es ein anderes Wort dafuer geben soll. —Preceding unsigned comment added by 86.27.47.65 (talk) 22:35, 11 September 2008 (UTC)

Can someone explain why this section, or anything in it, is notable?[edit]

There are sooooo many Shakespeare quotes sprinkled through soooooo many books, movies, plays, etc., I was wondering why these below are considered notable? References in literature Ann Radcliffe's gothic novel, The Romance of the Forest, features an excerpt from Othello: "Trifles, light as air, / Are, to the jealous, confirmations strong / As proof of Holy Writ". In a piece of enjambment, the passage refers to Madame La Motte's growing, and unfounded, jealousy.[26] Al-Tayyib Salih's character Mustafa Sa'eed often refers to himself as specifically not being another Othello in Season of Migration to the North. Reference made in novel Extras By Scott Westerfeld; in Part III, 'Leaving Home', of the Novel. Quote: "Reputation is an idle and most false imposition; oft got without merit, and lost without deserving" --Othello (Iago, Act II, scene iii) Quote refers to the sense that fame is not everything in this section of the novel. Smatprt (talk) 23:26, 11 September 2008 (UTC)

  • Nothing there is worth a mention. AndyJones (talk) 07:42, 12 September 2008 (UTC)

Images[edit]

I notice others have complained about the images on the page. IMO there are too many. The images are simply being used as "pretty illustrations". I deleted the Leighton image because IMHO -one, there are too many images on the page, and -two, it says nothing about the play or character. It is simply the portrait of a lovely young miss the artist has chosen to dress up and call Desdemona. This was commonplace in portrait painting of the 18th and 19th centuries, ie, to dress the sitter as some famous Shakespearean or Greco-Roman mythological character and paint them in antique or glamorous robes, headresses, jewels, etc. There is no real attempt to depict the character of Desdemona. In this article, the image is obviously used as an "illustration" and should be deleted. WP discourages using images solely as illustrations. Additionally, it is poorly positioned on the page and gives the top of the page an amateurish and 'clunky-chunky' look with three images all clustered at the top.. Images should be aligned with their mention in the text. IMHO, WP editors have a strange fondness for illustrating articles with dusty Old Masters. Another possibility (if you insist on keeping the pic) is to create a Gallery at the foot of the page and place the Old Masters and other artistic representations there. One could call the Gallery something like "Gallery: images of Othello in art and photographs". ItsLassieTime (talk) 08:09, 6 October 2008 (UTC)

Hello. I haven't had a response on creating a Gallery of Othello images. Silence is assent so I'm going to create the Gallery at the foot of the article and move some image in the article to the Gallery. Please discuss. ItsLassieTime (talk) 23:33, 6 October 2008 (UTC)
I created a Gallery at the foot of the article and moved some images in the article to the Gallery. Please discuss. ItsLassieTime (talk) 23:33, 6 October 2008 (UTC)
Nice work on the Gallery (and others)! I agree that we should strive to find graphics that align with the text. I will say, however, that in the lonnnnnnngggger articles, that a few "illustrations" help to make the article more readable and less daunting. But I would still rather see them tied to the text and not just "pretty" pieces of artwork. One more "however" - the lead image should be striking and make the article compelling to read. Sometimes a classical work representing the play or a major character can do just that. Within the article, however, I tend to agree with you. Smatprt (talk) 03:17, 14 October 2008 (UTC)

Othello the "Maure"[edit]

I think perhaps that the Maure symbol may be the source of Shakespeare's characterisation of Othello as sub-Saharan looking. It's a fairly old European idea and is even shown on the flags of Corsica and Sardinia. Has there been any consideration given to this? --24.36.51.48 (talk) 03:14, 4 December 2008 (UTC)

Did Shakespeare know what black people were?[edit]

Well? 199.117.69.60 (talk) 21:15, 31 January 2009 (UTC)

Yes. There is a black character in Titus Andronicus. Shakespeare seems to be clueless about many cultural differences, but he at least knows that they exist and where they're from generally. Wrad (talk) 21:19, 31 January 2009 (UTC)
Yes, there have been black people in Britain since Roman times. Ycdkwm (talk) 08:13, 18 February 2009 (UTC)
Nowhere on that article does it imply blacks have been in Britain since Roman times. 97.118.191.93 (talk) 20:08, 10 March 2010 (UTC)

Bianca a seamstress?[edit]

Is she really a seamstress? If I remeber correctly, she was a prostitute, because Iago states, "O notable strumpet! Cassio, may you suspect Who they should be that have thus many led you?" Here, Iago calls her a strumpet, or prostitute. The Arbiter 22:51, 18 November 2009 (UTC)

Ok, apparently some people misunderstood what I meant by this. My point was I thought there was an error in the article, which I fixed. That's all. The Arbiter 22:51, 18 November 2009 (UTC)

The card says moops[edit]

Sorry but that's the truth 68.147.22.159 (talk) 07:05, 20 April 2011 (UTC)

Possible forgery used as source[edit]

Should Collier's "discoveries" be cited here? I've removed one of them once, but it's back. At the least, it should be given some context and a heavy caveat. Views?

Found the reference I was looking for: "This allusion Collier had inserted in the Egerton Papers at Bridgewater House." Schoenbaum 1991, page 251. --Old Moonraker (talk) 12:14, 11 May 2011 (UTC)
Removed accordingly. Note on contributor's talk page. --Old Moonraker (talk) 12:27, 11 May 2011 (UTC)

The things you learn on Wikipedia[edit]

"Shot between 1948 and 1952, Orson Welles directed The Tragedy of Othello: The Moor of Venice (1952), produced as a black-and-white film noir."

I never knew that Orson Welles was shot between 1948 and 1952. Seems a rather woolly timeframe for such a dramatic event.Captain Pedant (talk) 11:44, 22 January 2014 (UTC)

Base Indian vs. Base Judean[edit]

Where would it be appropriate to add a section on "Base Indian" as per Q1 vs. "Base Judean" as per FF? I also have a list of some 20 cites I'd like to include. Could a new topic page be added? Thanks for your help!! Knitwitted (talk) 01:54, 31 March 2014 (UTC)