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4.0 out of 5 stars Naxos complete recording one of their series' best
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,...
Published on Nov. 18 2000 by F. Behrens

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0 of 1 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Bloody Farce It Is
"Bloody farce" was the indictment of "Othello" made by the dramatist Thomas Rymer, one of Shakespeare's contemporaries. He was right. Perhaps he was right because "Othello" in his time had not yet fully enjoyed the fake aura of a "master play" that it has boasted ever since. "Othello" features the shortcomings and...
Published on July 29 1999 by Alex. Avenarius (Faterson@pobo...


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4.0 out of 5 stars Naxos complete recording one of their series' best, Nov. 18 2000
By 
F. Behrens "Frank Behrens" (Keene, NH USA) - See all my reviews
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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.
The running time is just over 3 hours, 11 minutes longer than the venerable Shakespeare Recording Society with Frank Silvera as Othello and Cyril Cusack as Iago, now available on Harper Audio. There still might be available a very dull version with Richard Johnson and Ian Holm, but avoid it.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Pure Tragedy, May 22 2001
By 
Yan Timanovsky (Brooklyn, NY) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Othello (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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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Shows how the People could be so wrong and so well bigotted., Dec 25 2012
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This review is from: Othello (Paperback)
Othello, comes out as a man wronged and tried to right a wrong and the only way in those days was by murder most foul, but it is the way of that world.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Easy way to understand what shakespeare meant, Nov. 11 2000
By A Customer
This review is from: Othello (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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4.0 out of 5 stars Very interesting characterizations, Dec 2 1998
By A Customer
This review is from: Othello (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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4.0 out of 5 stars A Great Tragedy, Dec 7 1999
Othello is now one of my favorite Shakesperean plays, right behind Romeo and Juliet. The play contains many universal themes which could be applied to life today, such as jealousy and revenge. The book is sad at the end, but it is very well-written and is effective in evoking emotions in the reader. I recommend this book for anyone who has to read a Shakesperean play or for anyone who wants to read a good book.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Shake's Alive!, Oct. 18 2000
By A Customer
This review is from: Othello : Complete and Unabridged (Paperback)
"Othello" is one of my favorite Shakespearean plays, but even the best of things could use a little updating once in a while. That's why I was so excited when I found out about the comic book version. It is the play, the whole play, and nothing but the play, made easier for the layman to understand with interesting contemporary art.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Takes the entire text and dramatizes the presentation, Aug. 11 2001
This full-cast dramatic recording of a classic Shakespeare takes the entire text and dramatizes the presentation, which results in a package capturing the excitement of both live play and written word. Audio listeners will enjoy the results; especially the pairing with classical music.
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5.0 out of 5 stars The ruin of the Moor, Feb. 22 2014
By 
E. A Solinas "ea_solinas" (MD USA) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Othello (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. And look what happens to him.

And Shakespeare deftly builds up this tragedy with a subtle, interconnecting web of lies and misdirections, with the tension building slowly until something has to blow. His writing is typically powerful, generating some quotable phrases ("It is the green-ey'd monster") and lots of cynical, dark dialogue ("Who would not make her husband a cuckold to make him a monarch?").

"Othello" is a strangely fascinating tragedy, with Shakespeare absorbing us again in the tale of a good man corrupted. Definitely a good, if harrowing play.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Master piece of the early 1600's seems all too real today, April 20 2013
By 
Anthony Marinelli "marilread" (toronto on canada) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Othello (Paperback)
To read Shakespeare presents the reader with a dilemma and he either gets into the play and the personalities as the author presents them, in his realism as he understands their psychology, which is a world away from the soap operas and film world, and you may agree or disagree with the ancient playwrights view. Here we are in the ancient world
a city, as an existence unto itself. The city prospers it needs to be defended raise money and so on and so
fourth and functions almost like a country..here we have the moorish othello in to defend the nation, the city of Venice, and the ancient politics of Rome with its senate and republican system of government seems to have fascinated Shakespeare in a different way from his own nations history, and he often plays these stories, from a history drawn from his own sources, but its the characters he creats, the poems, the love, virtue, lust, fall from grace, debauchery and all this exists within a christian world. Some live to the heights of the ancient christian view, perfections or virtues and others live lives of privation, or deprivation..Othello is one of his best and among all the stress and strain of being a battlefield commander lies the heartache of his attempt to realize love and his thought hes been cuckolded. That is the drama..adultery not only as a fact, but more succinctly his love does not love him anymore in thought..her love is elsewhere..and DEsdemona is on eof his most beautifully realized creations and she comes off best radiant in her defense a s a christian woman of the middle ages slandered, and abused in aa cutthroat world. "let heaven and men and angels let them all.cry"(p 87)..at the break up of a loving relationship much more than any concern for marriage. The whole of creation mourns..as God's work being frustrated.
Othello believing he's cuckolded laments as a military man "yet she must die,else she'll betray more men..light restore"(p 81)..the idea of restoration, a better world without the betrayor or betrayed. IN defense DEsdemona complains "I am a christian"..a common defense for the religious in the middle ages, and women accused by men, whose bond to a god above assured their loyalty to men below. THe men who sew the ideas in Othello's mind, of DEsdemona's infidelity know otherwise.."what an eye she has..perffection."(p 30)..and eyes are frequent topics of description in this beautiful play and Desdemona shines as well as the frailty of Othello, a man not capable to trust and perhaps to enter into love with his cherished Desdemona..and the many around them jealous of the love he has, seeking to destroy his relationship, as a way of destroying everything about him, but that to is a theory and theories have no place in works of art they should be enjoyed for the drama and take from it what one.."our wills are gardeners..weed up"(p 18).."lust of the blood..will come..moors are changeable in their wills..cuckhold him..pleasure..sport"..the characters in Shakespeare the ones who show grandeur have strong wills, imposing themselves on their surroundings, at times models of virtues..or they fall..and what is the reason in these finely chiselled out portraits that makes them be the people they are..great tragedy..
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Othello : Complete and Unabridged
Othello : Complete and Unabridged by WILLIAM SHAKESPEARE (Paperback - 1983)
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