This widely studied play is one of the "best sellers" of the Shakespeare canon. This production is the sixth Shakespeare play in the series undertaken by Naxos AudioBooks in conjunction with Cambridge University Press.
The full cast also includes Roger May, Roy Spencer, Simon Weir, David Timson, Jonathan Keeble, Stephen Thorne, Peter Yapp, John McAndrew, and Alison Pettit.
“Tis in ourselves that we are thus or thus. Our bodies are our gardens to the which our wills are gardeners.”
― William Shakespeare, Othello
Othello is one of my favorite of Shakespeare's plays. I'm all about the villians, and damn, Iago isn't JUST a nearly perfect villian, but carries away almost 1/3 the lines in this play. He owns the stage. It is like Shakespeare scraped every rotten grain off the soiled shoe of humanity and mixed it with beautiful prose. Iago isn't a monster because he is foreign to us, he is a perfect monster because he so closely resembles the worst in all of us. Wicked man. Wicked us.
Othello, while not as interesting (to me) is still a great character. His decent into madness, his fits, his passion, his otherness, his race, etc., make him a dynamic and powerful character. Enough to balance Iago, but not enough (in the end) to beat him. One of the reasons this play has been, is, and will be for a while, so powerful is the reactions interracial/interethnic evoke. It seems like every couple steps society takes forward, we fall (hard) back at least one. Anyway, Shakespeare jumped into this mess 400+ years ago. Bravo.
Just a few of my favorite lines:
― “The robb'd that smiles, steals something from the thief; He robs himself that spends a bootless grief.” (Act 1, Scene 3)
― “It is silliness to live when to live is torment, and then have we a prescription to die when death is our physician.” (Act 1, Scene 3)
― “O God, that men should put an enemy in their mouths to steal away their brains!" (Act 2, Scene 3)
― “Reputation is an idle and most false imposition; oft got without merit, and lost without deserving." (Act 2, scene 3)
7 of 8 people found this review helpful
Any additional comments?
This is a high quality performance of Othello that I found worked well as an Audiobook. It would probably help to read up a little bit on the overall plot before listening.
Well worth the purchase.
3 of 3 people found this review helpful
The actors made it feel as if they were standing right in front of me.
In this powerful Shakespearean tragedy, innocence is corrupted and trust is eroded as every relationship is thoughtfully drawn into a tangled web of jealousy by the Machiavellian villain. The voices are different for every character and their superb characterisation bring all the characters to life. The text is faithful to the original one and there are no changes made to it. there are also some sound effects to further immerse you in the story but none too many.
needless to say, I highly recommend this audio book not just for it's impeccable story but also for the great job the voice actors do. Well done!
Would you consider the audio edition of Othello to be better than the print version?
For teaching purposes, alongside the text, yes. It was written to be performed after all.
What other book might you compare Othello to and why?
Shakespeare's other works. Especially the tragedies.
Have you listened to any of the narrators’s other performances before? How does this one compare?
I haven't - I think it is unique as it is a cast performance and not just a single narrator, which is why I bought it for teaching purposes. The performances are convincing and bring the text to life. For me, it is better than having the class read it aloud all the time as the pace is set by the actors and it seems more realistic. This helps the class to understand the action and plot.
Did you have an extreme reaction to this book? Did it make you laugh or cry?
Any additional comments?
Fantastic as a teaching resource alongside the text itself.
fascinating story. It was very easy to follow. it is worth listening to if only to listen to the creepy Villan Iago and his creepy deceiving of Othello.
Cast was wonderful, especially Othello and Desdemona, and dialogue clear. Recommend highly and plan to listen again.
great performance and followed word for word by the book. definitely recommend! great work all
Othello... The play you love to hate. How can such a simple plot with such thin artifice of deceit suck you in? This is without doubt a play one needs to hear out loud. The passion of the actors is everything. Without that drama, it falls flat. Desdemona should have strangled Othello with the handkerchief. That aside, I still love the ending with a stage covered with bodies. Ah, Shakespeare. Wonderful acting.
If you could sum up Othello (Dramatized) in three words, what would they be?
story of deceit
What did you like best about this story?
Wife of Iago is my favorite character. Stuck in a role, she fought back fearlessly when she realized how deceitfully her husband had used her to betray her beloved mistress.
What does the narrators bring to the story that you wouldn’t experience if you just read the book?
Narrators guide the meaning of Shakespearean English by their inflection and emphasis.