Shakespeare’s Othello – end, part 1/2 (Laurence Olivier)

Shakespeare’s Othello – Act 5, scene 2, line 243 (Iago, Montano and Gratiano exit) to end of play. go here to view interview with Olivier about performing this role (thanks kiopelus!): Laurence Olivier … Othello Maggie Smith … Desdemona Joyce Redman … Emilia Frank Finlay … Iago Michael Turner … Gratiano Edward Hardwicke … Montano Directed by Stuart Burge and John Dexter from John W. Hales, “Notes and Essays on Shakespeare” (London, 1884): For the most part Shakespeare delights in tracing the action of the great moral laws of the world, and showing how fearful is the penalty of transgression. But sometime he exhibits a yet more dreadful spectacle,–a spectacle mysterious, inscrutable, soul-prostrating. It is Fate, blind, inexorable, rapacious. Desdemona is one of Fate’s choicest victims. Her ‘graces serve’ her ‘but as enemies’. Her very virtues bring on her ruin. What is most innocent is construed into evidence against her. In obeying the best instincts of her clear spirit she excites the evilest suspicions and secures the bitterest condemnation. The truth from her lips is turned into a lie. In the present passage, her answers, by an almost incredible infelicity, are, through the very purity of her nature, just such as to confirm Othello’s detestable impeachment. Could replies be more unfortunate? She lies in the toils of Fate, and there is no escape for her. We may go further than her name in Greek, desdaimon, ‘ill-starred’, and say it is
Video Rating: 4 / 5


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