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Othello (TV Movie Review 1981 BBC)

By: Alex Phuong (A Toast) –
*Mild Spoilers Ahead/Potential Spoiler Alert!*

Even though his rhetorical language might be a bit hard to understand, William Shakespeare’s plays continue to endure as timeless masterpieces.  Some would argue that Romeo and Juliet is the greatest love story of all time, and that Hamlet is the greatest play ever written.  Right after writing Hamlet, Shakespeare composed one of the most iconic tragedies of all time, and Othello remains a literary classic that powerfully reveals the dangers of jealousy.

A Toast!
Besides that compelling theme, Othello is a profound play that explores themes that include: warfare, identity, race, and gender.  Othello remains a landmark in theatrical history because the titular character is black.  Even though Sir Anthony Hopkins plays Othello in this BBC production, this TV movie honors the legacy of this play, and all of the acting from the performers are very strong.
Not only is Othello a tragic protagonist, but Iago is also a treacherous villain.  That might have been the reason why Disney named Jafar’s pet bird “Iago” in Aladdin.  The jealousy that forms between Othello, Iago, and Desdemona creates a love triangle that is as powerful as it is tragic.  Romeo and Juliet might be one of the most famous star-crossed lovers of all time, but the three main lovers in Othello might have formed one of the most iconic love triangles ever conceived by the human imagination.
William Shakespeare has written some of the greatest plays of all time, and Othello is definitely tragic.  Nevertheless, viewers can learn powerful life lessons from this character and the play that bears his name, including the fundamental fact that jealousy is never pretty.

Othello (TV Movie 1981 BBC) Bonus Drinking Game

Take a Drink: for every contrast between sight and blindness
Drink a Shot: every time Iago talks about plants
Have a Drink of Your Choice: every time the dialogue mentions animals
And Do Not Be Sober: whenever the play talks about disturbing topics that include hell, demons, and monsters

About Alex Phuong

Alex Andy Phuong earned his Bachelor of Arts in English from California State University-Los Angeles in 2015. His love affair with cinema began after discovering Turner Classic Movies in the summer of 2004. His favorite film director is Woody Allen, and his favorite movie star is Kate Winslet.

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