The New Student's Reference Work/Othello
Othel′lo, one of Shakespeare's four supreme masterpieces in tragedy, was perhaps written in 1604. Published in 1622 in quarto, in 1623 it appeared in the famous first folio. The alternative title of the drama is The Moor of Venice. The basis of the plot was adopted by Shakspere from an Italian novel entitled Un Capitano Moro. The tragedy deals with the love and jealousy of Othello, a so-called Moor, who wins the love of the fair Venetian maiden Desdemona by his qualities of heart and head and his strange tales of adventure by flood and field. The villain, Iago, plays upon the jealousy of the otherwise great-hearted man, until, believing his wife to be false, Othello slays her and dies by his own hand.