The Theater: Wounded Animal

Othello needs to be retrieved even more than it needs to be revived. Of Shakespeare's four great tragedies, which include Hamlet, King Lear and Macbeth, Othello has become increasingly less accessible to modern audiences and actors. There are several reasons for this. To the contemporary playgoer, the Moor's marital jealousy is more amazing than it is convincing, and the evidence of the telltale handkerchief seems unbelievably flimsy. Today's audiences are also more interested in lago's psychologically obscure malignity than in Othello's open nature and loftiness of soul.

For the actor, the pitfall in recent years has been to regard Othello as a...

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