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by William Shakespeare

Analysis: Trivia

Brain Snacks: Tasty Tidbits of Knowledge

Harvard philosopher, Stanley Cavell, pointed out that there is a "demon" in Desdemona and a "hell" in Othello. (Source: Schalkwyk, David. Speech and Performance in Shakespeare's Sonnets and Plays. Cambridge, England; New York: Cambridge University Press, 2002. 195.)

There have been several productions of Othello performed with all-black casts, and at least one, like a production in 1998 starring Patrick Stewart, in which Othello is white and the rest of the cast is black. (Source)

In England in 1826, black actor Ira Aldridge became the first black man to actually play the role of Othello. Aldridge happened to be married to a white woman himself. (Source)

In more recent years, one of the first well-known black actors to play Othello was Paul Robeson, a high-profile black actor, singer, and activist. Robeson played the title role in productions in England in 1930 and in the United States in 1943. These were groundbreaking productions (although not the first time a black actor played the role). (Source)

For most of the play's performance history, Othello was played by a white actor in blackface (literally, a face painted black). That's how the role was played in Shakespeare's time. (Source)

Ben Kingsley, who played Gandhi in the famous film Gandhi, has also played Othello. He portrayed Othello as a North African Arab. (Source)

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