Content Group

Othello: George Bennett (1800 - 1879) as Othello, Miss Jane Bennett as Desdemona

Its racial challenges seem to have made Othello very controversial, yet popular (Gallery 2.3.22-27). Issues of casting the lead role only with black actors in the lead have been debated recently, particularly since Olivier's film (Gallery 5.2.35-40). Iago is increasingly seen as not only the longest but the dominant role: his black humor is as important a production element as that of the comparable role of Richard III. Desdemona's initial boldness has not endeared her to feminists, because of her ultimate acquiescence to her fate.

Othello, Royal Shakespeare Company, 1961
Othello, Royal Shakespeare Company, 2000
Titus Andronicus:Ira Aldridge (1807-67) as Aaron the Moor (IV.ii).
Ira Aldridge as Othello
Paul Robeson as Othello and Uta Hagen as Desdemona, 1943.
Laurence Fishburne and Kenneth Branagh as Othello and Iago, in the 1995 film of Othello.
Othello: Constantin Stanislavski as Othello
Othello: Harcourt Williams (1880-1957) as Othello
Othello: Montano, Desdemona, and Othello
Othello: Oscar Asche as Othello
Othello: Lily Brayton (1876-1953) as Desdemona
Othello: His Majesty's Theatre, 1907
Othello: Matheson Lang as Othello and Margaret Halstan as Desdemona
Othello: William Stack as Othello
Othello: Walter Hampden as Othello
Othello: Paul Robeson as Othello, Jose Ferrer as Iago


Essay Title Author
"Othello": Iago's Audience Hugh Richmond

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Suchet, David. "Iago in Othello." In Players of Shakespeare 2: Further Essays in Shakespearean Performance by Players with the Royal Shakespeare Company, edited by Russell Jackson and Robert Smallwood, 179-99. Cambridge and New York: Cambridge University Press, 1988.

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Vaughan, Virginia Mason. "Politics and Plagiarism: Othello in the Restoration." Theatre History Studies 9 (1989): 1-21.

Vaughan, Virginia Mason. "Race Mattered: Othello in Late Eighteenth-Century England." Shakespeare Survey 51 (1998): 57-66.

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Yutkevitch, Sergei. Othello, (with Sergei Bondarchuk as Othello; 1955/108m) distributed by The Picture Palace, PO Box 281, Caldwell, NJ 07006.

Except where otherwise specified, all written commentary is © 2016, Hugh Macrae Richmond