Othello Questions and Answers
by William Shakespeare

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Why did William Shakespeare write Othello?  

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Playwrights love stories in which there are a number of contrasting characters because it makes it easy for the audience to get to know them and to understand their various parts in the continuity. Othello is an excellent example of what Lajos Egri in his authoritative book The Art of Dramatic Writing calls "orchestration," using the analogy of musical composition, and especially of opera. The two leading characters, Othello and Desdemona, could hardly be more strongly contrasting. One is a man, the other a woman. One is black, the other is white. One is a fierce warrior, the other sweet and gentle. Giuseppi Verdi saw the operatic potential in Shakespeare's play and adapted it into a famous opera. Verdi could see Othello as a baritone and Desdemona as a coloratura soprano and imagine their love duet when Othello begins with:

Put out the light, and then put out the light.
If I quench thee, thou flaming minister,
I can again thy former light restore,

(The entire section contains 529 words.)

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