Information: Othello by William Shakespeare was published in 2004 by Simon and Schuster. The original play was published in 1603. ISBN: 0743477553
Plot Summary: The play Othello, is about the love between Othello and Desdemona. Othello is a Moor from an exotic land and Desdemona is a Venetian lady. They have many differences, including race, background, and age, but they both love each other nonetheless. One of Othello’s men hates him for his success and wishes to destroy everything in his life, starting with his love for Desdemona. Iago sets a dark plan in motion to play on Othello’s suspicion and jealousy, to make him think his wife is having an affair. Despite their strong marriage, Othello is overcome with jealousy and is refusing to believe Desdemona. Now Othello must deal with his mistrust as Iago continues his terrible plan to destroy him.
Critical Evaluation: The play Othello is warning for those not to let jealous overrule relationships and situations. Jealousy can make things appear differently than they really are. It is also a warning against overconfidence. Othello had everything in the palm of his hand and he let it all go because he wasn’t able to see beyond himself. Instead he believed the whispers and lies and refused to hear Desdemona’s truth.
Reader’s Annotation: Iago is jealous of Othello’s success, so to ruin him, Iago uses jealousy against Othello to destroy his marriage. After falling for his ploy, Othello must decide what to do with a wife he cannot trust.
Author’s Information: William Shakespeare (baptised 26 April 1564) was an English poet and playwright, widely regarded as the greatest writer in the English language and the world’s pre-eminent dramatist. He is often called England’s national poet and the “Bard of Avon” (or simply “The Bard”). His surviving works consist of 38 plays, 154 sonnets, two long narrative poems, and several other poems. His plays have been translated into every major living language, and are performed more often than those of any other playwright.
Shakespeare was born and raised in Stratford-upon-Avon. Scholars believe that he died on his fifty-second birthday, coinciding with St George’s Day.
At the age of 18 he married Anne Hathaway, who bore him three children: Susanna, and twins Hamnet and Judith. Between 1585 and 1592 he began a successful career in London as an actor, writer, and part owner of the playing company the Lord Chamberlain’s Men, later known as the King’s Men. He appears to have retired to Stratford around 1613, where he died three years later. Few records of Shakespeare’s private life survive, and there has been considerable speculation about such matters as his sexuality, religious beliefs, and whether the works attributed to him were written by others (Goodreads).
Genre: Fiction, Plays, Classic
Curriculum Ties: (Florida State Curriculum Standards): Understanding Key Literary Ideas
Book Talk Ideas:
- Does not trusting someone mean to not love them?
- Do you think there was a less destructive plan that Iago could have used?
Reading Level/ Age Interest: Grades: 9-12 and Ages 15-18
Challenge Issues: Violence, Language
Challenge Defense File:
The System will select and maintain a comprehensive collection of print, non-print, audio visual and electronically accessed materials to meet the informational, educational, and recreational needs of the citizens of Sarasota County. The System will strive to offer wide ranging collections that meet the various ages, interests, educational levels, and cultural backgrounds of all members of the community and will provide collections through which an individual may explore all points of view and issues of interest. In making selections, the library staff will do so based upon principle rather than personal opinion, reason rather than prejudice, and judgment rather than censorship. Furthermore, staff will be responsive to public demand for materials of contemporary significance and interest, while balancing this with the need to collect and preserve materials of permanent value. While library staff makes material selections based upon the tenet of one system, one collection, selectors recognize the distinct characteristics and needs of the populace that each library services. Community profiles are used to guide selectors in efforts to develop special collections and to meet the unique patron needs within each library.
The ultimate responsibility for selection materials rests with the General Manager of Libraries and the Management Team, who in turn delegates selection responsibilities to the Collection Development Librarians (Sarasota County Policy).
Shakespeare, W. (2004). Othello. New York, New York: Simon and Schuster. While this play was not written for high school students, it is now required that most high schools at least read two Shakespeare plays before graduating. Othello has strong themes that are still relatable to the relationships of today’s high school students.
Other recommendations like this book include: Doctor Faustus by Christopher Marlowe, Fences by August Wilson, and Metamorphoses by Mary Zimmerman.
Active Listening Skills
- Remain calm
- Listen thoughtfully and carefully to any arguments for the collection
- Engage in a discussion that considers every concern, even if you do not agree
- Positive Reviews: The Guardian
- Negative Reviews: Goodreads
- Reviews by Young Adults: N/A
Why I chose this book:
I chose this play because out of all the Shakespeare plays, Othello has one of the most relatable plots. You don’t have to be married or in a relationship to have experienced jealousy or its destruction.