Othello is the definitive play on the theme of jealousy. In this remorseless tragedy, first performed in 1604, William Shakespeare's most malevolent villain, Iago, aide to Othello, plants the seed of the green-eyed monster in the mind of his master, incubating it with vile insinuations until it devours the great man and the lives of those he loves. Iago believes he has been unfairly treated by the Moor, who is completely unaware of it, so both are carried through the drama on tides of delusion. This is what places Othello among Shakespeare's masterpieces-driven by the spiteful impulses to which all of us are at some time susceptible, the course of life can go horribly awry.
About the Author
William Shakespeare was born in Stratford-upon-Avon, Warwickshire, in 1564. The date of his birth is traditionally April 23, which happens to be St. George's Day, and the day in 1616 on which the playwright died. At age eighteen he married a Stratford farmer's daughter, Anne Hathaway. They had three children. Around 1585 William joined an acting troupe on tour in Stratford from London, and thereafter spent much of his life in the capital. He produced Othello in 1602-03, amid the series of great tragedies, including Hamlet and King Lear, he wrote in the first years of the new century. Shakespeare wrote thirty-six plays and much poetry, and earned enormous fame in his own lifetime in prelude to his immortality.