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Ultimate Spider-Man, Vol. 1
Ultimate Spider-Man, Vol. 1
by Brian Michael Bendis
Edition: Hardcover
56 used & new from $2.47

2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Not a "cash-in" but a necessary update., August 10, 2006
An earlier review says that this (and the rest of the Ultimate series) is a copout from Marvel that alienates readers who have been fans for years. The other series are still going, and Ultimate may not be for those older fans, but the Ultimate series is a necessary change for Marvel. These comics have been around for forty years----and once you get that far, it gets to be necessary to go back to the roots of things, to take the same ideas and give them new twists, to tell familiar stories but rework them in a different way. (And sometimes, a BETTER way.) It isn't blasphemous----please, how many different versions of any comic "canon" are there? We're a different culture, a different society, and it doesn't matter how old or young you are----these comics are very well-written, and updated for the 21st century rather than the 1960s to reach new readers, not just "younger" readers.

This new version presents Spider-man as younger and more awkward, with writing that encapsulates our current need to see a Spider-man who is a person as well as a superhero. There is more depth in the Ultimate series right off the bat, because there are forty years of previous canons to back it up, and characters we're already familiar with, even if they're in a different setting.

The Ultimate series is great for anyone just getting into Spider-man, or any comics in general, or even for those older, die-hard fans... who are willing to open their minds and see that just because something's different, and updated, doesn't mean it's bad. In fact, it's quite good.

The Pillars of the Earth
The Pillars of the Earth
by Ken Follett
Edition: Mass Market Paperback
Price: $7.99
397 used & new from $0.01

148 of 174 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Not without flaws, but certainly worth the read., November 3, 2003
I borrowed this book from my voice teacher after she recommended it to me, and soon after I did so everybody at my high school was talking about this book: my Shakespeare teacher, my friends in madrigals, my fellow English students . . . somehow everyone had come upon this book at once and I had to know what the big deal was.
_The Pillars of the Earth_ opens with a prologue that vaguely introduces future characters and a mystery that will gradually tie the numerous characters together. It is exciting and bizarre and sets the expectations high. It is apparent by this prologue alone that Ken Follett has done his research in terms of twelfth-century culture, a theme that is consistent throughout the novel.
After this, the book was disappointing at first. It was hard to get into, with the story following Tom Builder and his family in his struggle to find work in order to survive. At this point the writing seems pedantic - it is too simple, sometimes as if Follett is speaking to a child. It reflects the education level of the characters in focus, which is an interesting narrative tool but grew quite tiresome. The first part of the book took me three months to read because of this. However, I either got used to it or it lessened as the book went on - something that was most fortuitous.
Once the narration leaves Tom Builder, Follett begins to bring us into the major part of the story involving Brother Philip of St.-John-In-The-Forest. Philip is an incredibly engaging character, whose strong Christian conviction is honest without being preachy or comedic. This young, nobly ambitious monk is only one of the fine characters that make this novel worthwhile. Also of special note are Jack Jackson, the sharply intelligent and rebellious bastard son of a witch; Archdeacon Waleran Bigod, the self-serving and double-dealing priest who is just too slick for words; and Aliena, the beautiful daughter of a fallen earl who, though at great risk for becoming a dull and vapid Mary Sue, remains a fascinatingly admirable and sometimes unsympathetic character. None of the heroes are perfect - all of the protagonists have their flaws that make them undeniably human, something that most novelists don't do with their characters because it risks the character's likeability.
The story is long. It has to be - it's about the building of a Gothic cathedral, which takes twenty, thirty years to build .. and so the story spans some thirty years. Everything that could go wrong does go wrong, as is to be expected with a project of such expanse. At times it can be tedious but those points are rare. When the plot is not racing along to the point where one can't help thinking "Good Lord, what _else_ could happen?", one is learning about the culture of the twelfth century, which never reads like a textbook and always adds color and context to the story.
The unexpected thing about _The Pillars of the Earth_ is its political intrigue. It is not generally thought that such games of power would have to be played for the building of a cathedral, but this book proves it wrong. Such maneuverings are seen through the eyes of naive Philip, who must learn to move in this world if he wishes to see his cathedral built. We learn along with him what people must do for the king and just how far some are willing to go.
All in all, it is an incredible story. However, there is some gratuitous sexuality and violence that is not necessary for the plot. It seemed that all love was based around physical attraction and lust, even the most innocent of loves (never mind the constant rape scenes involving Lord William Hamleigh). This is, perhaps, to show a marked contrast between 'normal people' and the celibate monks, and also because the twelfth-century English culture did not blush at sexuality. Only a few scenes of Lord William's sexual abuse are integral to the plot; the rest are to enhance one's hatred of him and understanding of his mind. Don't read this, certainly, if you are squeamish - everything is put into its most vulgar terms (making it a historically accurate narration, and I was most impressed with that fact) and the violence is not flowery and romantic.
My other complaint was some words were used that were definitely not in the twelfth century, having been invented by either Shakespeare (such as "puke" and "weird") or someone long after his time. This will not stick out to most readers and ought not to affect the enjoyment of the novel unless one is a history buff or lover of word-lore - it might jar that sort of reader for a moment before one can move on. There are not enough instances of this for it to be distracting, and although the novel feels contemporary and the characters seem modern, it all fits ideally into the time period it was set in, making it a historical novel that is accessible to contemporary readers. Brilliant.
My recommendation? READ THIS BOOK. It is something that will stay with you for a very long time. The characters are bound to follow you at school, at work, anywhere you're not supposed to be reading. You will probably be disappointed when it finally ends. For me, it was a struggle to get through the beginning but once Philip was introduced it was quite a ride. Loved it. Read it. :)

The Last Sherlock Holmes Story
The Last Sherlock Holmes Story
by Michael Dibdin
Edition: Paperback
Price: $14.00
118 used & new from $0.01

5 of 10 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Truly shocking, but truly rewarding., September 16, 2003
I have long been an adoring supporter of Holmes and Watson, in both canon stories and pastiches. This is one of those pastiches that will either outrage the fan or will be completely embraced. It truly is one of the most shocking Holmes stories ever written, if not the most shocking - the troublesome part about it is that it is all very possible. It is very easy to be repulsed. However, as another review said, keep an open mind.
Dibdin tells his story with remarkable skill, giving Watson such a believable voice that is distinct (and with reason) from ACD's 'reminiscences.' He skirts around canonical plot holes and such with ease and simplicity. The Watson portrayed is true to form. Loyal and not as bright as his foil, but certainly highly intelligent and honorable in his own right. Holmes is the same way, and yet he becomes even more three-dimensional, even more hauntingly fascinating. As for the history, there are no garish alterations in the Jack the Ripper evidence - in fact, all evidence that is true exists in the book, and any evidence that has been added for the purpose of solving the mystery is so accurately detailed that one would believe it to be true. The line between fact and fiction truly blends into oblivion here.
A Holmesian will either love or hate this book. I love Holmes more than anything - and I loved this book. My heart was pounding, my mind was racing, and it truly _frightened_ me. It will not have this effect if you are not familiar or passionate about Sherlock Holmes. The wonderful thing about _The Last Sherlock Holmes Story_ is that it brings up incredible debates and discussions. I recommend sharing it with a group of Holmesians and hosting group debates. I was hit with a number of fascinating thoughts - even an elaborate conspiracy theory regarding Sherlock Holmes being a real person rather than a fictional character.
Do not read this book if you are not well-versed in the Holmesian world. In fact, I recommend that you NOT read it if you are even indifferent, or don't like Holmes at all. This is a book for fans, even with the potential for outrage. In order to get the full effect, one has to know Holmes's character inside and out. One has to know the troublesome holes in timelines and "The Final Problem." Otherwise, one will be left with a sense of "So what?"

Amber: Journeys Beyond (Jewel Case) - PC
Amber: Journeys Beyond (Jewel Case) - PC
Offered by Bargain Buyers Software
Price: $20.08
19 used & new from $2.46

15 of 16 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars One of the best "Journeys" out there.., June 7, 2003
I've been reading these reviews. People have complained that the display is small, that the puzzles are difficult - and yet it's also been said that the game is good for kids. Yes, the display is small. The puzzles are difficult and often very frustrating, but that's part of playing the game. It's NOT an easy game, especially if you don't do things in the correct order. It can get very frustrating.
But here's what's really important. I don't play many computer games, because they don't interest me. AMBER: Journeys Beyond ranks among my favorites because of its incredible attention to detail, beautifully eerie ghost worlds, and direct realism to actual paranormal investigation despite its sci-fi/fantasy nature. Each setting is complete, different, and in some way unusual. Going through Roxy's house at the beginning, if you're playing it in the dark and paying attention, will definitely give you a few frights - that is, if you believe in ghosts and have experienced some similar things. Margaret's world is mournful and nostalgic. Brice's realm is fantastical and beautiful, with a definite hint of psychosis - everything is slightly warped. Young Edwin's world is childishly delicate and painfully sad. Each setting has alarmingly creepy moments that will make you jump if you're not prepared.
If you're into the paranormal and the stories of the dead, then the game should be more enjoyable for you. If you're a hardcore game player looking for action and adventure, this isn't where you'll find it. With this game, the play is almost less important than the story. If it's frustrating, find a walkthrough of the game and play it that way - which is normally unethical, but the experience of the story will be greater.
My only problems with the game are - yes, the display is small, but one can look past that; one might have to replay a section of the game over and over in order to get a certain clue because sometimes you can't go back to it more than once; and that it doesn't exist for Macintosh. Newer versions for Mac and Windows should be released to compensate for the better systems.
I recommend this game for the ghost-hunters, the ones who live in haunted houses, the ones who use ouija boards, the ones who experiment with EVP (Electronic Voice Phenomenon) - you're the ones who will find it the most realistic, even though there are so many elements of science fiction. I recommend this game to the storytellers, the writers, the readers - you'll get sucked in. I don't recommend this game for someone just looking for action and difficult puzzles to solve, people that don't care about story or atmosphere. This game isn't for them. This game is for the rest of us. :)

Girl with a Pearl Earring: A Novel
Girl with a Pearl Earring: A Novel
by Tracy Chevalier
Edition: Paperback
Price: $9.52
1110 used & new from $0.01

3 of 4 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Another startlingly inspiring art novel, November 28, 2002
For anyone who paints or draws, there are certain novels that awake the spirit of the artist, that arouse the passion and inspire the soul. _Girl With A Pearl Earring_ is one of them. Here we are not only introduced to the wonderful character of Griet, but we learn so much about the technique and grueling process of great painting and the life of Vermeer. The novel is gritty, heart-wrenching, and incredibly beautiful and elegant. An extremely classy book that comes highly recommended. I would also recommend that the book be read with some resource to Vermeer's paintings at hand, to understand what's being spoken of in several of the book's descriptions of paintings.
I usually write more but it's half past midnight and I ought to go to bed. All I have to say is that the book is a relatively quick read, but that does not effect the way the novel moves the soul, particularly the creative one. It is a beauty of a novel, as rich with texture and eerie realism as the paintings of Vermeer himself.

The Passion of Artemisia
The Passion of Artemisia
by Susan Vreeland
Edition: Hardcover
257 used & new from $0.01

6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars If only it were longer!, November 28, 2002
If you know anything about Artemisia Gentileschi, you'll know she was a genius, a woman who broke all barriers of gender to do what she loved to do - paint. Susan Vreeland captures this woman's passion in this book, and makes it very clear that in order to paint, it must be your lifeblood. She writes with such a startling love for art and painting that you can hear the pigments being ground, feel the brushes between your fingers. Artemisia has an excellent speech to her daughter, Palmira, late in her book, about the intensity and empathy that painting requires. It is, by far, the strongest point in the novel and it should be read simply for that scene.
When I first began reading _The Passion of Artemisia_, I found that it moved entirely too fast. I got comfortable with one situation before I found it moved to another, and years would pass so quickly I would get lost. Some would call it short but sweet. I call it disappointing. Not because it was too fast - I later discovered that the pace was more decent than I previously believed - but because I loved the writing and the world of the novel so much that I wanted to see more, feel more, read more. I felt as though Vreeland skimped out. However, it thankfully is not too wordy - and the words that Vreeland does use all seemed to be hand-picked for effectiveness.
Despite the fast pacing, it isn't -too- quick. It's quick and intense and by the time you're done you don't quite feel like you've missed anything. It moves along almost with the swiftness of a movie (in fact, I think this version would make an excellent film - I saw _Artemisia_, a critically acclaimed French film, before I read this and it was wonderful, but the two stories are very different and focus on different periods of her life). I just wish the book were longer so I had more of a chance to savor the eccentric beauty and passion of the painting world that I got a taste of in the narrative.
The other slight problem I have with _Passion_ is that Artemisia's voice felt too modern. In some ways it was effective, but it was difficult to grasp the fact that this was a woman living hundreds of years ago. The historical details are all accurate, there aren't any anachronisms. The voice merely did not seem aged or perhaps refined enough. It doesn't take anything away from the novel, however. It may even enhance it - making the reader more able to understand and empathize with her.
Slight problems aside, I highly recommend _The Passion of Artemisia_. I'm sure you'll wish it were longer, too. Also - I would recommend that when you read it, you have either a book or an online gallery of Artemisia Gentileschi's paintings, to understand what's being described in the novel. It completely enriches the experience.

Confessions of an Ugly Stepsister
Confessions of an Ugly Stepsister
by Gregory Maguire
Edition: Paperback
Price: $10.00
788 used & new from $0.01

2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Don't expect the Cinderella story you once knew, November 28, 2002
Gregory Maguire's _Confessions of an Ugly Stepsister_ is proof that once a story happens, hearsay and history make it into something completely different. This Cinderella story is nothing like the story you know and love - almost to the point where the two are entirely separate entities. There is no fairy godmother, there are no glass slippers, and "Cinderella" is not a spirited young girl with big dreams to marry a prince. In fact, Clara is an emotionally corrupted girl, shut away due to her perfect beauty and doomed to an almost developmentally retarded childishness. The two stepsisters are also unexpected. Iris, our narrator, is a truly good person, though she's told she's ugly almost constantly. Ruth is ox-like and mentally retarded. In the original Cinderella tale, the stepsisters were not necessarily ugly in feature but ugly in heart - in _Confessions of an Ugly Stepsister_, they're likable people. Not that this is a bad thing, of course.
Maguire sets _Confessions_ in Renaissance Holland, and intigrates real characters in with the fictional ones, giving _Confessions_ a real flair for realism. Cinderella's fanciful tale suddenly becomes absolute fact - certainly the way Maguire intended it. You definitely get the feel of truth about this novel, and that's part of its charm. Not only is it real, but it's a deep study into love and hate, beauty and ugliness, and many other contrasts in search of truth.
However, _Confessions_ does not stand up to Maguire's _Wicked_. It is an excellent book in its own right, but next to _Wicked_ it does not have the same strength and vitality. The prose is too roundabout, the otherwise interesting characters almost vapid in such a narrative. _Wicked_ seems to delve far deeper into the story, enhancing it and bringing out another side. _Confessions_ attempts to do the same thing, but instead of getting another character's opinion, you get "the true story" - which, at times, is not as interesting as the fairy tale.
Every so often Maguire will surprise you, though, with an unexpected bit or two of wisdom scattered throughout _Confessions_ that makes all of the reading worthwhile. In addition, _Confessions_ comes into the art world with a heavy emphasis on painting and artists (Iris becomes an apprentice to an artist and falls in love with a fellow student) - this romantic world of paint and canvas is brought to life excellently in this novel - though if you want something that is more about the world of art and the passion in it, I recommend _Girl With a Pearl Earring_ and _The Passion of Artemisia_ instead.
All in all, _Wicked_ was the better Maguire novel. _Confessions_ is slightly too ambitious, like its predecessor could be at times, but it isn't a bad book by a long shot - it's a -great- read. It just isn't the -greatest.-
I also recommend the Disney film based on the book - the two are extremely different, and of course the Disney film doesn't contain any of the book's gritty details. But the costuming is beautiful and surprisingly historically accurate. It's worth a look. But the book is more worth the read.

Wicked: The Life and Times of the Wicked Witch of the West
Wicked: The Life and Times of the Wicked Witch of the West
by Gregory Maguire
Edition: Paperback
Price: $9.84
1186 used & new from $0.01

0 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars A psychological portrait of the most stereotypical witch, November 28, 2002
Gregory Maguire's brilliant debut novel, _Wicked_, is ambitious and incredibly fascinating. Forget everything you thought you knew about Oz and be prepared to have it come into a startling realm of realism. In _Wicked_, the people of Oz live in a modern society that seems very much like our own - complete with sex, violence, and vulgarity. Culturally, Oz is quite different - not to mention the different peoples we don't have - the blue-skinned people of the Vinkus, the Animals (as the Cowardly Lion), the Tiktoks (as the Tin Man), and the many different forms of Munchkins - but it's still fully understandable and relatable to our world, intertwined with Baum's original fantasy realm. _Wicked_ is not only a biography of the Wicked Witch, but a totally different view of Oz.
Oz is a land under totalitarian rule from the Great Wizard. Animals (with a capital "A" to distinguish them from the non-talking variety) are fighting for their rights as citizens, while hate crimes against their kind abound. Tiktoks are starting to get minds of their own and great distrust for these mechanical beings is growing throughout. And into this world comes Elphaba (named for the first sounds in Oz's creator's name, L. Frank Baum), a green-skinned girl with an extreme aversion to water who will become the Wicked Witch of the West.
_Wicked_ follows Elphaba's entire life, from before her birth to her tragic death at the hands of Dorothy Gale of Kansas. Along the way we meet many memorable new characters, but also Galinda (later to rename herself "Glinda" - the Good Witch of the North), and the previously uncharacterized Wicked Witch of the East. The Tin Man, the Cowardly Lion, the Scarecrow, and Dorothy all have cameos, but the book is hardly about them. The characters in _Wicked_ are at once bizarre and completely real, and the journey that Elphaba takes from being a queer child with a skin affliction to the Witch of the West is also believable, even in this fantasy world.
I would give this book five stars, were it not for a few complaints that I had. The first half of the book is absolutely phenomenal. From her first appearance at school to age twenty-three, Elphaba is one of the most stunning and captivating characters I've ever come across. From then to her death, she's still the same character, but the book doesn't seem to live up to the expectations created by the excellent first half. The second half seems to try too hard to be symbolic and meaningful - the first half just tells a damn good story. That doesn't mean that the second half isn't worth a read - it definitely is. It simply did not live up to Elphaba's earlier years.
I highly recommend this book, but don't expect it to be the fluffy Oz you know. Maguire makes sure that this is not a book for children - it's the real Oz. The beautiful, gritty, culturally diverse, politically corrupt Oz. It is an excellent and surprising read, and Elphaba is a character that will stick with you for a long time. You'll never watch _The Wizard of Oz_ the same way again.

The Friendly Shakespeare: A Thoroughly Painless Guide to the Best of the Bard
The Friendly Shakespeare: A Thoroughly Painless Guide to the Best of the Bard
by Norrie Epstein
Edition: Paperback
Price: $18.02
153 used & new from $0.01

30 of 32 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The greatest Shakespeare reference EVER., November 28, 2002
I mean it. It really is.
Norrie Epstein, who also brings you _The Friendly Dickens_, has produced an absolutely unbelievable wealth of information involving Shakespeare's life, work, and times, all in an extremely readable, interesting, and -funny- way. If you ever thought Shakespeare was unapproachable, you thought wrong. _The Friendly Shakespeare_ takes everything your high school English teacher said about Shakespeare's elegant and classy prose and throws it out the window, showing Shakespeare's work for what it really was: sex and violence - extremely graphic sex and violence, filled with the ultimate bawdy talk and most injuring insults ever to be seen in English. It takes the sentimentality out of Shakespeare, making it as unclean as it always was, explaining out-of-date references and slang that would otherwise mean nothing to the modern ear but made a great deal of sense for the Elizabethans.
Epstein explores almost every possible aspect of the Shakespearean world: examining each play and its virtues and downfalls, delving into the twisted world of Elizabethan culture, discovering Shakespeare's life (and the mystery as to whether Shakespeare was who we think he was, or a pseudonym for any number of other writers, or if Shakespeare stole credit), interviewing actors and directors, the zany adaptations and unusual performances by unlikely actors, and reviewing the many film versions available on video. Nearly every page has a marginal tidbit with a quote or statistic or other little-known fact about Shakespeare's world or productions of his plays. Just from flipping randomly through the book, you could learn more about Shakespeare than you thought you ever wanted to know.
Being a student, I can say that _The Friendly Shakespeare_ is the finest reference for students - whether or not they have an interest in Shakespeare. Everything is presented in a fresh, exciting manner, and for those "experienced" students who have a passion for Shakespeare, it isn't "dumbed down." This isn't _The Idiot's Guide to Shakespeare_. It provides both the basics to get those non-enthusiasts going, and some extremely thought-proviking information for the veterans. Never once is Epstein's text dry or boring or overly wordy, like people expect most Shakespeare studies to be. Nor is it childish or pathetically simple.
What I love most about this book is how it really breaks through the stereotypes and barriers that most teachers have set up, making students HATE Shakespeare - they oversanitize it, making it pretty and beautiful, they oversentimentalize it, making it weak. Shakespeare's plays would not have lasted so long if they were just attractive poems about love. Certainly not. _The Friendly Shakespeare_ takes us back to the true Shakespeare, the Shakespeare that the original audiences must have seen - the gritty, dirty, audience-pleasing text, from the sexuality of _Othello_ to the extraneous gore of _Titus Andronicus_, to the often hushed-up fact that the sonnets were written to another man and not a woman.
Yet Epstein never makes it just about the sex and the violence - she does not deny Shakespeare was a genius of words, as he truly was. She just makes us more -aware- of his genius, for no true genius was ever all fluff and flowers. She tells us -why- he was brilliant, not merely saying he was because popular opinion states it. And after reading this book, you'll understand why, too. And you'll think Epstein is a genius as well for bringing us such a fantastic reference.
I recommend _The Friendly Shakespeare_ to everyone - students, adults, actors, directors, teachers, the veterans, the novices - it will inspire, it will enamour, it will delight, it will shock, and most importantly . . . it will make you love Mr William Shakespeare the way he -should- be loved.
Comment Comment (1) | Permalink | Most recent comment: Feb 7, 2007 7:37 PM PST

by William Shakespeare
Edition: Mass Market Paperback
143 used & new from $0.01

5.0 out of 5 stars Shakespeare doesn't need war or royalty to make great drama, November 28, 2002
This review is from: OTHELLO (Mass Market Paperback)
William Shakespeare is perhaps at his most subtle best in _The Tragedy of Othello_. Unlike in many of his other plays, particularly tragedies and certainly histories, Shakespeare writes on a massive scale - about the highly privileged, about royalty, about bloody family feuds and wars. Not only does _Othello_ contain none of that, but it manages to be Shakespeare's most intense play, hitting the audience harder than any other.
Like _Romeo and Juliet_, it involves star-crossed lovers: an older black officer (Othello) and a young white woman (Desdemona). Shakespeare's modernity is particularly shocking. Even in the latter half of the 20th century, audiences were not ready to see a black man with his hands upon a white woman, even if it's a white man in blackface - and yet four hundred years ago, Shakespeare wrote this play. It shatters immense racial barriers, and yet Shakespeare never intended it to be a play about race - and it isn't. Othello's race is, amazingly, highly unimportant in the grand scheme of the play.
_Othello_ hits very close to home. Rather than dealing with things most audiences never have to face, the plot is extremely domestic and straightforward - unlike in Shakespeare's other tragedies, there is no comic relief. There is one plot, one line of thought, and you are forced to deal with every minute of it. You never get a rest from the action. Then there's the domesticity of it - the villainous Iago wants to take revenge upon Othello, and so, in the guise of an honest friend, convinces Othello that Desdemona has been sleeping with fellow officer Cassio. No matter our position in life, we can all empathize with Othello's struggle between trusting his friend and trusting his wife, and the madness that comes from being overtaken by extreme jealousy. Iago's elaborate plot to destroy the lives of Othello, Cassio, and Desdemona is extremely simple to understand, even in iambic pentameter.
This is also one of the only plays where the villain, not the hero, is the one who speaks most to the audience. We learn everything about Iago and his plans, because we as an audience develop a close relationship with him as he talks to us - seeing his charming side and the side that is purely amoral and perhaps even purely evil. Shakespeare, in Iago, has created the first true villain of drama, the ultimate "charming man without a conscience." The only thing we truly -don't- know about him is why he wants to ruin the lives of these people - and perhaps that's for the best. Shakespeare has left scholars and actors to wonder about it for hundreds of years, and come up with all sorts of theories.
_The Tragedy of Othello_ just goes to prove that Shakespeare did not rely on elaborate stories of royalty and war, but could create the most intense dramas revolving around the most intimate and domestic of settings - the bedroom.
If you think you know _Othello_ because you saw the film _O_, you couldn't be more wrong. There's no such thing as a Shakespeare plot without the brilliance of Shakespearean language - and nothing captures the innocence of Desdemona and the near gleeful evil of Iago like the words of Shakespeare, the greatest dramatist to write in the English language.

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