love the humor. Love the sarcasm. Love the evilness. Love love love! Both of them.
I think it is one of the best plays I ever read.
But it is also one of the most terrible in the sense that it is a nightmare. I felt trapped while reading it. The characters desperate hopes, their self-denial and their lack of communication with each other…it really got under my skin.
It truly still reflects the pressure of society put on the individual to be better and brighter and richer and more beautiful and whatever else than one actually is. And the result of that pressure.
I absolutely love this play. It’s a nightmare because it made me feel sick. But that is good. Intensity in a play is a good thing. I loved the sarcasm and dry humor and violence and evilness. And it is so much more than just that. I have to see it on stage one day.
As you might or might not know, Othello is not just my favorite play, but probably also my favorite piece of literature ever. I wrote my thesis on it and I have very clear views on it. For instance, I resent the racist interpretation that claims, Othello just succumbed to jealousy. It is much more complex than that, as are the characters.
That being said, the ‘Leerstelle’ / vacancy that is Desdemona has always bothered me and I even attempted to put her story into words. Needless to say, I failed to express what I had in my mind.
It needed Toni Morrison to do it. She has, in my opinion, given answers to all those questions that remained open in Shakespeare’s play. It is short, succinct and precise. The songs are wonderful and evocative. It is complex. The women have their say, finally.
I love it. I love Toni Morrison’s writing. She simply has no equal. And I am grateful she took on the subject.
The sexism strikes again. Apparently only a silent woman is a good woman. There was one whole monologue I almost typed up in which every word was delivered by a misogynist and which made me want to stop reading, but since I trust in Shakespeare I read on. Sadly I was disappointed. Because the woman (property of father, sold, given to another man to own, and no matter how often they tell them no the men just keep coming or more precise, the one does) can only try to reclaim their life by running away or dressing up as a man….and the life they then claim is with another man.
The scene in which Proteus tells Sylvia he’ll just have to rape her then, since she just won’t fall in love with her, should have ended differently, but it ends with Julia, who has witnessed this, by marrying him and Valentine, who also heard, to forgive his friends since he says sorry. Well, no, you lost me there.
Not one of his brighter plays is it? Usually he gets it right and maybe this was meant to illustrate how men ‘fall in love’ and mistreat women. But then, it should have been…better done. In most other play women die and get mutilated and mistreated, but they shame the men and never are so weak as these two are.
No, my dear. Not happy about that.
How to phrase it… I obviously knew the story before reading, I have seen it in The Globe and I think, that the prose is so magnificent, nobody will ever accomplish anything like it.
But the story? It was never one of my favorite plays by Shakespeare. I never got the appeal of two kids (or teenagers if you will) being willing to die for each other. I always think: maybe you’d like to grow up and learn a little about life before you make such a decision, such as, that there won’t be another love for you. There isn’t really a subtext or layers to peal back as in his other tragedies or any other play I have read by him.
So, only 3,5 stars (I need a more subtle way to rate), while keeping in mind that compared to his other plays, this one is rather weak, but compared to any other playwright out there, Shakespeare still lacks a rival.