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OTHELLO William Shakespeare Performed by Hugh Quarshie Anton Lesser Emma Fielding and full cast audio book Audio CD


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Product Details

  • Audio CD
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 9626342064
  • ISBN-13: 978-9626342060
  • Product Dimensions: 2.5 x 14.6 x 12.7 cm
  • Shipping Weight: 204 g
  • Average Customer Review: 4.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (11 customer reviews)
  • See Complete Table of Contents

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First Sentence
'Othello', in the words of Edward Pechter, 'has become the tragedy of choice for the present generation.' Read the first page
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Front Cover | Copyright | Table of Contents | Excerpt | Index | Back Cover
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By E. A Solinas HALL OF FAMETOP 10 REVIEWER on Feb. 22 2014
Format: Mass Market Paperback
"Othello" is sort of a companion piece to "Macbeth" -- both are about noble, upstanding men who are destroyed by their own weaknesses. But where Macbeth was ruined by ambition, Othello's destruction comes from his jealousy and gullibility. And the play is really ruled by the nastiest, cruelest, most devious villain Shakespeare ever wrote.

That villain is Iago, a high-ranking soldier who has a grudge against the noble Moorish soldier Othello, who has just eloped with the beautiful Desdemona. Using a nobleman as his pawn, Iago first turns Desdemona's father against Othello, but the new soldier defends himself agains claims of witchcraft.

But Iago's true plan is far more devious, as he disgraces Othello's lieutenant Cassion and plants Desdemona's handkerchief in Cassio's room. Othello finds himself confronted by a chess game of lies, deceit and suspected infidelity, and his jealousy reaches a fever pitch that can only end in death.

Yeah, the real star of this play is undoubtedly Iago. This is the most repellent mixture of absolute malicious evil and crazy-smart intellect that anyone could write -- he is the person you love to hate, even as you admire how devilishly perfect he is at playing the chessmaster who whispers poison into your ear while playing your "friend." He doesn't quite think of EVERYTHING, but he comes close enough that you would NEVER want to deal with someone like this.

But this tragedy is also underscored by the depiction of Othello, a truly noble and loyal soldier who is turned into a deranged homicidal mess. It's somehow even more disturbing to see him deteriorate than it was to see Macbeth, because this guy was on top of the world in every way -- he was smart, eloquent, a brilliant soldier and a newlywed.
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Format: Audio CD
The recent Naxos AudioBook entry in their Classic Drama Series, <Othello> NA 320612), is so well directed by David Timson that it fairly boils along. Granted that some passages are read a bit too swiftly to be followed by those without texts open before them, but one gets the feeling that this is a play and not a 400 year old monument. There are moments, however, when one could use some extra noises-on, so to speak. When Iago gets Cassio drunk, a little more rowdiness from extras would be appropriate--but perhaps I am spoiled by too many film versions and certainly by the full chorus in Verdi's opera.
Hugh Quarshie makes a more interesting Othello than a great one. He does not have that Paul Robeson voice that one tends to associate with the role, and he understands the part light years better than the Othello of that unfortunate film version a few years back. But his lightweight approach does not work when the mouth-filling flights of poetry make their demands after he is convinced of Desdamona's infidelity.
Anton Lesser also makes a fine but not great impression as Iago. Perhaps he needs to use more variety of delivery when he is being "honest" with the other characters. After all, his approach to Othello should not be in the same key as that to Roderigo or even to Cassio. Iago is a supreme actor, so it takes an equally supreme one to play him.
For once, we can hear Emilia (Patience Tomlinson) hesitate when she speaks of the "lost" handkerchief; although on a sound recording she cannot give us the body-language to explain why she betrays her lady for the sake of her husband. The Cassio (Roger May) is very good in the handkerchief scene with Iago and the hidden, miscomprehending Othello.
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By Yan Timanovsky on May 22 2001
Format: Mass Market Paperback
This play embodies tragedy, and may be my favorite play by Shakes. Othello has wonderful elements - some of the most unbearable and longest dramatic irony of any play, a devilish villain whose true motives we are left to guess, a virtuous but flawed protagonist, the triumph of evil over good. Othello is a gut-wrenching play and should be appreciated for its sheer dramatic energy and passion. Certainly other questions are explored - such as the issue of racial insecurities even in a successful and admired man among prejudiced people. However, perhaps the most important things to take out of it is the sheer evil that Iago spreads around him, puppeteering the good characters with strings of wickedness.
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By A Customer on Nov. 11 2000
Format: Library Binding
I think that as the author explained in the intro the original is hard to understand due to the venacular at use. The author took the story and munipulated it to fit the style of our times. He did this well and kept the story captivating and uses actual words for the story. He also eases the reader by making it a novel with inside feelings and thoughts which are harder to comprehend in play form. Its a great book to read. I recommend it for anyone that has ever had to read shakespeare and not completly understood what they were reading.
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By A Customer on Dec 2 1998
Format: Mass Market Paperback
Othello isn't my favorite Shakespeare play, but I found the characterizations in it extremely interesting. I think that Iago's wife, Emilia, is one of the most complex and fascinating female characters Shakespeare ever created, as she is torn between her husband and Desdemona throughout the play. It all comes down to the question--why did she give Iago the handkerchief?? Emilia is certainly worthy of more critical attention than she seems to receive these days.
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