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This article is about Shakespeare's play. For other uses, see Othello (disambiguation).

In Othello, one of William Shakespeare's plays, Shakespeare creates powerful drama from a marriage between the exotic Moor Othello and the Venetian lady Desdemona that begins with elopement and mutual devotion and ends with jealous rage and death. Shakespeare builds many differences into his hero and heroine, including race, age, and cultural background. Yet most readers and audiences believe the couple's strong love would overcome these differences were it not for Iago, who sets out to destroy Othello. Iago's false insinuations about Desdemona's infidelity draw Othello into his schemes, and Desdemona is subjected to Othello's horrifying verbal and physical assaults.

Othello was performed at court in 1604 and scholars believe Shakespeare wrote it that year or the year before. It was pubilshed as a quarto in 1622, and a somewhat fuller text was included in the 1623 First Folio. Giraldi Cinthio's Hecatommithi was the chief source.[1]

Productions at the Folger

Helen Hayes Awards
Nominations: "Outstanding Lighting Design, Resident Production" for Andrew F. Griffin
Helen Hayes Awards
Nominations: "Outstanding Sound Design, Resident Production" for Scott Burgess

Early editions

First Folio

LUNA: First Folio: 2s3v - 2v6r
Hamnet: STC 22273 Fo. 1 no. 68

Second Folio

LUNA: Second Folio: 2v1v - 2y4r
Hamnet: 22274 Fo. 2 no. 07

First Quarto

LUNA: First Quarto
Hamnet: STC 22305 Copy 1

Second Quarto

LUNA: Second Quarto
Hamnet: STC 22306 Copy 1

Modern editions

Othello Folger Edition.jpg

Othello can be read online with Folger Digital Texts and purchased from Simon and Schuster.

Hamnet link to Folger Edition: PR2753 .M6 2004 copy 2 v.27

In popular culture


This 1995 adaptation of Othello stars Laurence Fishburne and Kenneth Branagh.

Watch the trailer for this 2001 teen drama adaptation of Othello, "O" starring Mekhi Phifer, Julia Stiles, and Josh Hartnett.


The Folger owns at least 90 stand-alone translations of Othello in various languages (not including collected works). Cataloging of these works is ongoing as of early 2015, and many have full-level catalog records, but some works still have only partial records. Translations can be found Hamnet in by searching for "Translations"in the Genre/Form Term field, or by searching the Call Number (Left-Anchored) field for call numbers starting with PR2796 (see the list of Sh.Col. translations call numbers for specific language call numbers). Since not all translations are fully cataloged, some items may only turn up in one of these searches.

Performance materials

Other media


Othello Audio Edition from Simon & Schuster available on CD and as an audio download.

Othello audio cd cover.jpg
Othello Owiso Odera
Iago Ian Merrill Peakes
Desdemona Janie Brookshire
Emilia Karen Peakes
Rodrigo Louis Butelli
Cassio Thomas Keegan
Montano Chris Genebach
Brabantio Jeff Allin
Lodovico Joe Guzman
Gratiano Todd Scofield
Bianca Zehra Fazel

Other parts were played by members of the cast.

Directed by Robert Richmond.

Original music composed by Anthony Cochrane and the recording was engineered by Matt Nielsen.

In partnership with Simon & Schuster Audio

Listen to Arun Rath's report on Giuseppe Monteverdi's Othello, the Moor of Venice on NPR's All Things Considered. (October 5, 2013)

Image Group

Explore the curated image group for Othello in the Folger digital image collection.

Content Advisory: this image group contains racist language, representations of racial stereotypes, actors performing in blackface, and domestic violence.


Hear Barbara A. Mowat, co-editor of the Folger Shakespeare Library editions, discuss word choice in Othello.

Watch dramaturg Michele Osherow and actors from Folger Theatre's 2011 production of Othello explore language in the play.

Listen to Osherow and the cast of the Folger Theatre 2011 production of Othello probe characters' use of deception.

Hear Robert Richmond, director of the 2011 Folger Theatre production of Othello, discuss jealously in the play.


  1. Adapted from the Folger Library Shakespeare edition, edited by Barbara A. Mowat and Paul Werstine. © 1993 Folger Shakespeare Library.