This is the third of these short audiobooks. I liked Rome and Juliet, disliked The Winter's Tale, and now I have to say I did not like Othello, so I am done with following this Shakespeare series. One of the things that saddens me about our lack of time travel capability(!) is that I will never see these performed in Shakespeare's time or see Shakespeare act one of his own roles. I am really curious as to how it would work and whether it would look amateur or be brilliant. Would it be fake and stilted like some of the asinine, stentorian over-acting of yesteryear, or would it be as natural as can be?
My fear is that, judged from some of the overblown writing we find too often in Shakespeare, it would appear false and perhaps even risible, so mayhap 'tis for the better that we may not time travel. Certainly this version felt overdone and inauthentic to me. I could not focus on it. It failed completely to draw me in and did not capture my attention or love.
Known officially as The Tragedy of Othello, the Moor of Venice, the story is of a general in the Venetian army, who has secretly married Desdemona. Once again Shakespeare ripped this off, this time from an Italian by the name of Cinthio, who wrote A Moorish Captain. Shakespeare's story changes details as usual, but the overall arc is pretty much the same. This play may have originated in a true story wherein Christophal Moro, a military man who in 1508, strangled his wife, whom he thought had been unfaithful.
In Shakespeare's version, Desdemona's father Brabantio, having been informed of the marriage by Iago, whose feathers Othello has ruffled when he overlooked him for a promotion, seeks to kill Othello, accusing him of witchcraft in seducing his daughter, but military needs prevent this assassination. Meanwhile, Iago continues to stir things up at every opportunity, getting Cassio fired and then suggesting to Othello that there is something going on between Cassio and Desdemona. This eventually leads to Othello suffocating her in her bed, but even so, she still manages to talk! Ridiculous! From then on it's all downhill, with people dying stage left, right and center. The whole story is stupid, but I can see how Elizabethan audiences would lap it up. Modern audiences still do lap up that crap, especially if it's a real life event rather than a show.
This play is dumb, and this version is so poorly acted that I cannot recommend it.