Shakespeare: The English Poet and Playwright

William Shakespeare was baptized on the 26th of April, 1564 (his actual birthdate is unknown) in Warwickshire, England. He is considered by many as the greatest writer in the history of the English language which is why he remains in odes of admiration today.

He is also regarded as England’s national poet and the ‘Bard of Avon’. He married Anne Hathaway at the age of 18 and rose to be an actor, playwright and the owner of a theatrical enterprise which was later known as King’s Men.

He died in 1616 at the age of fifty two. Today, four hundred years later, his legacy is no stranger to conspiracy and controversy regarding the originality of his work, his appearance, his sexuality and his beliefs.

Setting and Main Theme of Othello’s Story: Portrayal of Love, Revenge and Jealousy and Their Disastrous Consequences

The play was set in Venice during the invasion of the Island of Cyprus by the Turks. Othello is shown as a general in the Venetian army and the play revolves around the roles of individual characters and their relationships during a time of incoming warfare.

The play also brings into focus, like most Shakespearian plays, the effects of love and betrayal. It portrays intricate, complicated, subtle and forbidden forms of relationships that are still prevalent in modern society.
Main Characters in the Play of Othello

With an intricate web of relationships comes a diverse array of characters. Some of the notable names in this infamous play include:
The Venetian general
Othello’s wife
Iago The villain in disguise
Iago’s wife
Cassio Othello’s lieutenant in the army
Bianca Cassio’s admirer
Why did Shakespeare Write Othello?
Addressing the Prevalent Racism

Shakespeare lived in a time when racism was prevalent and racial discrimination and segregation were acceptable norms in developed societies and civilizations. He tried to shorten the gaping divide between the white race and peoples of color.

Elements of Humanization

Through Othello, Shakespeare intended to humanize the perception of other racial groups and showed how they fitted into the virtues and ills of society just like ordinary locals did. As with most of his plays, Othello showed human passion and human weakness through tales of seduction, love, power and betrayal.
Othello’s Criticism

Shakespeare’s works always possessed a tinge of subtlety which was a double-edged sword. It beautified his writing prowess yet it also led to conflicting interpretations of his work. Several critics argue that Othello contains slurs of racist jargon which were prevalent in that society. Although it shows the helplessness of black men, it consistently shows the West as the beacon of rationality and the East as its irrational counterpart. Turks were not considered to be of equal mental ability and devoid of humane mannerisms in the eyes of the European characters, and arguably, in Shakespeare’s. His critics include A.C. Bradley and Anthony Gilbert.
Othello in the Modern Era

Despite the controversy, Othello survived the engulfing tides of time and is a part of modern theatricals and has been inscribed in literary history for all times to come. It has had several influences on modern works as well.


The play has been adapted in multiple films which include:

Jarum Halus (2008) a Malaysian version.
Omkara (2006) a Bollywood feature.
Eloise (2002) set in Australia.
Kaliyattam (1997) a Kerala based production.
Othello (1995, 1982, 1965, 1955, 1914 and 1909) made in different countries all over the world.
The Tragedy of Othello (1952)


Othello has been performed in theatricals and operas all across the modern world which includes Naples and Milan based operas. It has also surfaced in the form of ballet in New York City.

Other Adaptations

The play has also been made into a few television series in 1981, 1990 and 2001 for various production houses such as the British Broadcasting Corporation. It has also been adapted into a graphic novel by Oscar Zarate.

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This article has been posted by Amy dyslex. For more literary stuff by Shakespeare, visit