Readers, Welcome to my blog (formerly Birds, Blooms, Books, etc). I'm entering a new decade taking on the challenge of moving from Maryland after living there 46 years and learning about my new home here in New England in the Live Free or Die state - New Hampshire. Join me as a write this new chapter of my life.

Saturday, February 26, 2011

Shakespeare Reading Challenge - First Reading

For my niece's Shakespeare Reading Challenge I challenged myself to read 4 plays. My first attempt was the Merchant of Venice but I had to give up on that one. Next I went to Othello and did manage to read it (mostly). Here's my take on that one.

First I think it was incredible that Shakespeare dealt with racial prejudice at that time. It really surprised me. Othello if you aren't familiar with the play is an African Moor who is a well decorated general held in high regard. He marries Desdemona over the objections of her father. His subordinate Iago is rife with prejudice and plots to bring down Othello and break up his marriage. He is successful in the latter only because he sways Othello into thinking his wife is unfaithful so he kills his wife in unfounded jealousy. When he learns of Iago trickery he kills himself rather than face life without Desdemona.

As I think back over this play I wonder though if Shakespeare wasn't also prejudiced. After all he portrayed Othello as weak enough to fall for the falsehoods whispered by Iago when in my mind I don't believe his character should have. If he was this brilliant general, he would have verified his information before acting. It was not as if he couldn't go to the source and speak to Desdemona about the allegations.

When I say I read it mostly, I got to a point where I needed to learn the ending. Then I read back from the ending. I know that's a strange way to read a book but it worked for me with this play.

I haven't selected my next play. I have time since I'm doing one a quarter. Any recommendations?