Customer Reviews


14 Reviews
5 star:
 (10)
4 star:
 (2)
3 star:    (0)
2 star:
 (2)
1 star:    (0)
 
 
 
 
 
Average Customer Review
Share your thoughts with other customers
Create your own review
 
 

The most helpful favourable review
The most helpful critical review


50 of 55 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars One of the great tragedies, get the edition you need
'Othello' is one of Shakespeare's later plays and one of his great tragedies, penned sometime between 'Hamlet' and 'King Lear'. It's a play which emphatically presents cultural tensions - gender, race, religion, nation, role. It's a play which, perhaps more thoroughly than any of his other works, relies on the potency of opposition and contrast, the characters being...
Published on 28 Oct 2005 by Budge Burgess

versus
2.0 out of 5 stars Copy with Notes
the book came filled with notes whereas the ad had said that I was buying a new copy with nothing in it.
Published 10 months ago by Lorna


‹ Previous | 1 2 | Next ›
Most Helpful First | Newest First

50 of 55 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars One of the great tragedies, get the edition you need, 28 Oct 2005
By 
Budge Burgess (Troon, Scotland) - See all my reviews
This review is from: Othello (Arden Shakespeare.Third Series) (Paperback)
'Othello' is one of Shakespeare's later plays and one of his great tragedies, penned sometime between 'Hamlet' and 'King Lear'. It's a play which emphatically presents cultural tensions - gender, race, religion, nation, role. It's a play which, perhaps more thoroughly than any of his other works, relies on the potency of opposition and contrast, the characters being polarised into black and white.
Othello is a Moorish general who has saved Venice and who is now based on the exotic Mediterranean island of Cyprus. Here is a man who, despite his 'alien' origins, is hailed as the saviour of his community, a man who is universally loved and admired, except by his lieutenant, Iago.
In Iago Shakespeare beats out with blacksmith rhythm one of his greatest creations, a man fired by jealousy, tempered by hatred, a man whose determination is hammered into shape and whose evil expresses itself in duplicitous twists and malignant turns enough to topple Othello. It is the nature of Shakespearean tragedy that the hero should plunge from the sublime heights to utter destitution, despair, and death.
The cornerstone of Othello's triumph is his great love for his lady, Desdemona. Winning her hand, securing her devotion is his greatest achievement and elevates him to unimagined happiness. Yet it this very foundation which Iago undermines with the seed of jealousy. As suspicion takes root, the whole edifice of Othello's power and completeness collapses about him. He murders his wife, faces the realisation of what he has done, and recognises that eternal damnation is less of a punishment that enduring life aware of his own guilt.
Shakespeare is a major architect of English. His phraseology permeates the language like the mortar binding together a building. 'Hamlet', it has been said, is a play written in clichés, so commonplace have become the scores of quotations which have been lifted from it. 'Othello' has had a less dramatic impact on the language, but it remains one of the great examples of the tragedian's craft.
'Othello' embodies Shakespeare's oft-repeated theme of love and duty as the mortar mix which binds society. It is Othello's tragedy that he should adulterate both, exposing them as weaknesses rather than strengths, the alchemy of his emotions reducing them to acids which will eat into his soul and corrupt his very nature.
Shakespeare took characterisation to a new level. His triumph is not only in his invigoration of the English language but in his psychological awareness and insight, his ability to get inside the minds of his characters long before social science was conceived or psychology became the lingua franca of literature. Shakespeare's characters have a realism which contrasts with the earlier role of the staged character as a mouthpiece for words and vehicle for action. Shakespeare's characters breathe, their dilemmas and tragedies are painfully human.
Othello and Iago are two of his greatest creatures. Villainy, we discover, can be as enthralling and dramatically dynamic as any heroic role. A play which can pit such characters against one another is a play which will provide lasting rewards for both its audience and its actors. Shakespeare's plays, remember, have thrilled and inspired actors for centuries: they continue to do so, and each generation of actors wrings new interpretations and understandings from performance.
There are many published editions of the play available - your choice may reflect your pocket, it may more likely reflect your need to study for school or college. It's worth contrasting the various popular editions available and considering which most adequately meets your needs.
My first choice, for any student or anyone seeking a sound understanding of the play, is the Arden edition. It provides the most extensive notes, offers insights into the play and its performance, explores the dynamics of its characters, and offers you an excellent appreciation of the text. The textual notes are comprehensive and readily comprehensible. They are included on the same page as the text - text at the top, notes at the bottom - and make it easy to follow the meaning of the dialogue. Add to this good quality paper and printing, and you have a robust edition and an exciting resource for the student.
The Penguin Shakespeare edition offers an excellent introduction - some seventy pages of analysis of the play's themes and dynamics. This is well worth reading by any student. A small, pocket-sized edition, it is also convenient for carrying around. However, the notes on the text, while excellent, are confined to the back of the book - you have to keep turning backwards and forwards to refer to them, and this can be a drawback. Note, also, that there are three Penguin edition available. The Penguin Shakespeare is more up-to-date than the New Penguin Shakespeare, and the Penguin Popular Classics simply delivers the text of the play with little or nothing in the way of notes.
The New Cambridge Shakespeare is a sophisticated resource - it provides a dynamic Introduction, analysing the play and providing the sort of intellectual baseline sixth form and first year university students need. It offers further analysis at the end of the play. The text, itself, is beautifully printed, with tight little notes at the foot of each page (you may find you need glasses to follow these, however). Still, an edition to be recommended.
The Cambridge School Shakespeare provides lots of ideas for groupwork and class analysis of text and themes, and must provide teachers with an excellent practical resource with which to engage their class. The text appears on the right hand page, notes and commentary are kept to the left hand page - making it very accessible and readable. There is also a quality feel to the paper and printing.
The Heinemann edition is aimed at 'A' level students in the UK. It offers page by page notes on the text plus an overview of what is happening on stage to give you an insight into this as an active dramatic production, not simply words on a page. It's well laid out, well produced, well printed, making the text easy to follow. There are questions posed about the drama and characters, providing stimulating material for teaching and learning in groups, or for individual thought. There's a significant section at the rear of the book exploring themes and the major questions in the play, leading the student (and teacher) into a deeper awareness of language, setting, characterisation and drama. Designed emphatically for 'A' level students, it will nevertheless prove useful for first year at university (and possibly beyond), thanks to its ability to generate ideas and questions.
The Longman's School Shakespeare also provides notes on the left hand page, text on the right. The text is, perhaps, better presented than the Cambridge 'School' edition - it is slightly more expansive and lucid. The notes, however, don't feel as robust as in the Cambridge edition - they're more limited and less comprehensive.
The Oxford School Shakespeare is, I feel, the weakest of the 'school' editions. Overall, I didn't find it as dynamic or thought-provoking as the others. It provides a brief synopsis, a scene by scene analysis, and some useful notes. But text and notes run together on the same page, giving it a congested, claustrophobic feel which I found disconcerting.
For school work, I'd go for the Cambridge, Heinemann, or Longman's, for the keen student, the Arden edition is my top recommendation, followed by the New Cambridge. However, if you are studying the play, it's worth collaborating with your fellow students - you each acquire a different edition of the text, then you can compare and contrast the notes and commentaries.
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


27 of 31 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Excellent For AS Students, 30 Nov 2001
By A Customer
This review is from: Othello (Arden Shakespeare.Third Series) (Paperback)
Before owning this version of the play, I had to make do with the grossly inferior 'Penguin Classics' version, and was not really enjoying the play. The notes explaining the text were minimal, I couldn't find any underlying themes and, to compund the problems I faced, the entire play was set out in an almost-illegible typeface.
So I decided to invest in the Arden Version of 'Othello', and since it dropped through the letterbox I haven't looked back. It truly is exemplary in terms of its coverage of the meaning of the text and its nuances, its context and overall coverage of the language, characters and themes (how does a 100-plus pages of introductory writing sound?).
Now that I have this book, I'm starting to appreciate Shakespeare's vision for 'Othello', I'm getting As for all my essays, and - God forbid! - I'm even starting to enjoy the play.
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Or the evils of Iago, 26 Aug 2011
By 
E. A Solinas "ea_solinas" (MD USA) - See all my reviews
(HALL OF FAME REVIEWER)    (TOP 500 REVIEWER)   
This review is from: Othello (Arden Shakespeare.Third Series) (Paperback)
"Othello" is sort of a companion piece to "Macbeth" -- both are about noble, upstanding men who are destroyed by their own weaknesses. But where Macbeth was ruined by ambition, Othello's destruction comes from his jealousy and gullibility. And the play is really ruled by the nastiest, cruelest, most devious villain Shakespeare ever wrote.

That villain is Iago, a high-ranking soldier who has a grudge against the noble Moorish soldier Othello, who has just eloped with the beautiful Desdemona. Using a nobleman as his pawn, Iago first turns Desdemona's father against Othello, but the new soldier defends himself agains claims of witchcraft.

But Iago's true plan is far more devious, as he disgraces Othello's lieutenant Cassion and plants Desdemona's handkerchief in Cassio's room. Othello finds himself confronted by a chess game of lies, deceit and suspected infidelity, and his jealousy reaches a fever pitch that can only end in death.

Yeah, the real star of this play is undoubtedly Iago. This is the most repellent mixture of absolute malicious evil and crazy-smart intellect that anyone could write -- he is the person you love to hate, even as you admire how devilishly perfect he is at playing the chessmaster who whispers poison into your ear while playing your "friend." He doesn't quite think of EVERYTHING, but he comes close enough that you would NEVER want to deal with someone like this.

But this tragedy is also underscored by the depiction of Othello, a truly noble and loyal soldier who is turned into a deranged homicidal mess. It's somehow even more disturbing to see him deteriorate than it was to see Macbeth, because this guy was on top of the world in every way -- he was smart, eloquent, a brilliant soldier and a newlywed. And look what happens to him.

And Shakespeare deftly builds up this tragedy with a subtle, interconnecting web of lies and misdirections, with the tension building slowly until something has to blow. His writing is typically powerful, generating some quotable phrases ("It is the green-ey'd monster") and lots of cynical, dark dialogue ("Who would not make her husband a cuckold to make him a monarch?").

"Othello" is a strangely fascinating tragedy, with Shakespeare absorbing us again in the tale of a good man corrupted. Definitely a good, if harrowing play.
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Excellent, 9 Oct 2010
By 
T. Gorman - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
This review is from: Othello (Arden Shakespeare.Third Series) (Paperback)
The book is amazing. I'm so glad I bought this in comparison to everyone else in my class with generic copies. The notations are brilliant, now I just have to hope I get my A* in A-Level like I did in GCSE Literature. :)
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


4.0 out of 5 stars A must for A level study, 2 Dec 2013
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
This review is from: Othello (Arden Shakespeare.Third Series) (Paperback)
Official book to accompany English Lit A level course. Well set out book fits nicely into school bag but contains every thing needed in a shakespeare play.
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


2.0 out of 5 stars Copy with Notes, 18 Oct 2013
This review is from: Othello (Arden Shakespeare.Third Series) (Paperback)
the book came filled with notes whereas the ad had said that I was buying a new copy with nothing in it.
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


5.0 out of 5 stars Really good, 2 May 2013
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
This review is from: Othello (Arden Shakespeare.Third Series) (Paperback)
This book included context and translations of old words that the reader may not understand. Plenty of room for annotation.
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


5.0 out of 5 stars sons education, 11 Feb 2013
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
This review is from: Othello (Arden Shakespeare.Third Series) (Paperback)
as previously it was bought for sons education purposes and was found to be useful for him and worth having
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


5.0 out of 5 stars Very well structured., 11 Nov 2012
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
This review is from: Othello (Arden Shakespeare.Third Series) (Paperback)
The text is very well strucured and perfect for annotation. My english higher should go well with this at my side :P
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


5.0 out of 5 stars A thorough introduction to one of four great Shakespearian tragedies, 18 Mar 2012
By 
Doc Barbara "Barbara Daniels" (UK) - See all my reviews
(TOP 500 REVIEWER)   
This review is from: Othello (Arden Shakespeare.Third Series) (Paperback)
All the Arden editions are exhaustive in their textual detail and reference to various early versions but the reader may feel that the text appears too briefly above the footnotes and that one can lose track of the fast-moving plot. I say fast-moving although there are two time sequences in the play after the arrival in Cyprus: a short one marked by references to night and day (so that Othello does not realistically have time to question Desdemona) and a longer one (denoted by allusions to several days/weeks) so that Desdemone does have time for her continued infidelity. Othello himself is characterised by his soldierly honour which is threatened by his apparent loss of honour because of his wife's behaviour and this is why he collapses and feels that his occupation has also gone. This is what makes his jealousy credible as well as the cunning of Iago whose motives - or lack of them - have been the topic of much controversy. I think the clue is in his confession (his soliloquies are certainly justifications rather than confessions) that Cassius has "a daily beauty in his life/That makes me ugly." It is this sense of his own ugliness which pervades his actions right through the gripping "temptation scene" and the fuelling of Othello's jealousy to the ending. It explains his ubiquitous use of animal imagery (all men are animals), and his treatment of Emilia and Roderigo - if he cannot be beautiful, he can be manipulative and dominating. In some ways the plot is Iago's - he controls it and his evil does not die at the end. He did have easy material to work on, however: Othello is a novice in affairs of the heart and his love of Desdemona is based on the fact that she sympathised with his tales of adventure rather than a deeper acquaintance. He has no other friend to confide in and a soldier will believe a trusted colleague. The main difficulty in the play is to answer the question of how Iago escaped detection in his wiles for so long before the main entanglement but, on stage, this doubt hardly arises.
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


‹ Previous | 1 2 | Next ›
Most Helpful First | Newest First

This product

Othello (Arden Shakespeare.Third Series)
Othello (Arden Shakespeare.Third Series) by William Shakespeare (Paperback - 14 Feb 2001)
7.64
In stock
Add to basket Add to wishlist
Only search this product's reviews