The republic of Venice employs Othello, a self-made man and a Moor, to defend its overseas territories against the Turks. But for all his military success, Othello remains an outsider in the city, an object of racism, envy and mistrust. As the Turkish threat gathers and Venetian forces are despatched to Cyprus, Iago, a junior officer secretly enraged by his lack of promotion, exploits Othello's ambiguous position and ingenuous nature, driving him into a passionate and uncontrollable jealousy.
With its racing concentrated plot and intense dramatic details, Othello is one of Shakespeare's most exciting, atmospheric and heartbreaking plays. By introducing to early 17th-century England a black character as complex as Othello, it is also one of his most extraordinary imaginative achievements.