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Response to Othello Essay

In the play Othello, originally written by William Shakespeare but reproduced by Michael Lynch and James Beggs, the overall entertainment value differed tremendously amongst its viewers. To determine the entertainment value, one must look at the theme, subject, individuality, and the verisimilitude of the play. I think the theme of Othello is that love is a powerful feeling that can easily be deceitful. In Othello, Desdemona and Othello both share a love for each other in which seems unbreakable, yet when others begin to feel jealous the feeling of love amongst others in the play becomes a lie.

The subject of the play, Othello, is betrayal and loyalty. In this play, it had revealed ironically that one’s loyalty might cause one’s betrayal. Iago, a main character and the cunning instigator of the play, uses his loyalty to assist him in betraying Othello, and which in turn eventually leads to Othello’s tragedy.

The play was not very unique in that there are many plays with a similar format, yet the outcome was not predictable. While watching the play, one could expect perhaps a more happy or comical ending to a short tragedy. Rather than ending in happiness, Othello ended with a number of deaths and many heartbroken, deceived people.

I think Othello was somewhat believable in that the actors portrayed the characters in a respectively believable manner. The play never broke convention, and the majority of it was throughout a variety of people’s views. From watching this production, I have learned that in order for a production to be believable, it must follow suit of one or many perspectives throughout the play. Also, I learned that when acting in a play that is based on a time other than the present, the characters must put themselves in that time and infer what it was or will be like.

The protagonist of the play was one of the main characters, Othello, and the antagonist of the play was another main character, Iago. Throughout the entire play, Iago attempts to sabotage Othello and his wife Desdemona’s marriage. The main conflict is that Othello and Desdemona marry and attempt to build a life together, despite their differences in age, race, and experience. Their marriage is sabotaged by the envious Iago, who convinces Othello that Desdemona is unfaithful. As Iago gathers Cassio and Roderigo to help in his twisted scheme of things, the action rises. Iago tells the audience of his plan of action; he tells Roderigo he can have a second chance at Desdemona, arranges for Cassio to lose his position as lieutenant, and gradually insinuates to Othello that Desdemona is unfaithful with these men. What Othello fails to see is that Desdemona really is a loyal wife. In fact, her loyalty towards Othello is invisible to him.

Through Iago’s manipulation, Othello suspects Desdemona of having an affair with another man and started to become insane. At the same time, Othello is loyal to Desdemona and he expects the same in return from Desdemona. This makes him become mad crazy and begin to crave the thought of murdering Desdemona. Othello is set in Venice throughout act 1, and then moves to Cyprus for the duration of the play. The time period is the late sixteenth century during the wars between Venice and Turkey. The play opens up in Venice, and a man is being hung by a noose for the wrong he had done. It then shifts to outside Desdemona’s aunts house, and resides in Cyprus after that. Othello’s time evolution goes in a timely order, over a span of a couple days. The mise en scene (total picture of the production) was overall decent. I believe the lights were very well designed and executed, especially in the scenes in which the moon and sun were seen.

Furthermore, the music was also appropriate and the effects of the drums during battle scenes made it somewhat believable. The production of this play was very well made, granted that it was a very old play originally written during the time it took place, and acted out in the twenty-first century. The protagonist, Othello, was played by Jelani Brown. His performance overall was done very well. Many times in the play it was difficult to understand what he was saying due to a pronunciation maybe, or a technical issue. Otherwise the pronunciation issue, Jelani Brown produced an incredible performance. His character development was on track and he displayed great articulation. The antagonist, Iago, was played by Jon Cates. I think he was the best actor in the play. Throughout the entire play, he made the small things in theater really stand out; such as his facial expressions, body language, tone, and speed of speech.

His character was meant to be played as someone who is basically up to no good and wants the others in play to love him, by making them all hate each other. Iago was also my favorite character in the play mostly because he truly nailed his character. I feel that Jon Cates had an outstanding performance. Desdemona, the beautiful, innocent, sought-after young woman was played by Corrine Bryant. At first it was a little hard to get into Corrine Bryant’s character because she took a little longer than the others to develop. The other two main characters, Cassio, played by Jerris Ramirez and Roderigo, played by Justin R. Alvarez were perfect for their parts as well. Roderigo gave the play its comical appeal as he was a little oblivious at times and Iago had to get in his face and break it down for him.

Jerris Ramirez and Justin R. Alvarez’ characters were played with great heart and made the play enjoyable for the audience. If I were to rate Othello based on a star system, I would give it four stars. Although I did like the play, I feel that the ratings should be devised of much more than just of someone’s like or dislike. I would probably not watch the play again, I think once was enough for me. I would recommend the play to people who enjoy Shakespearian tragedies, as this play was just that. I didn’t like how the play was set in the 1600’s, a time that is so far back that there is little entertainment. The play was very well put together and personally, I enjoyed it. I liked that the play was based on events that actually happened during that time period, rather than an unbelievable play.


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