Shakespeare's "Othello" Part 1: The Story


William Shakespeare’s Othello is the only one of his tragedies to feature a black male protagonist. Othello is a black general who elopes with a white noblewoman called Desdemona — a marriage that Iago, Othello’s comrade-in-arms, plots to destroy. In this course, you’ll learn Othello’s story, explore the complicated impact of race on Othello’s society and Othello himself, and hear the play’s key speeches performed and analyzed by world-class Shakespearean actors and literary scholars. In Part 1, you’ll be guided through a detailed account of the story with commentary by Farah Karim-Cooper, Head of Higher Education and Research at Shakespeare's Globe and Professor of Shakespeare Studies at King's College, London. Professor Karim-Cooper provides key historical background for understanding the play’s representation of Othello. This summary is told using the language of the play itself, placing key quotations in context to help you understand where these lines come from and what they mean.

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Zachary Davis is the host of Ministry of Ideas and Writ Large and the Editor-in-Chief of Radiant.

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