January 11 2020
From one of the greatest Shakespeare scholars of our time, Harold Bloom presents Othello’s Iago, perhaps the Bard’s most compelling villain—the fourth in a series of five short books about the great playwright’s most significant personalities. Few antagonists in all of literature have displayed the ruthless cunning and deceit of Iago. Denied the promotion he believes he deserves, Iago takes vengeance on Othello and destroys him. One of William Shakespeare’s most provocative and culturally relevant plays, Othello is widely studied for its complex and enduring themes of race and racism, love, trust, betrayal, and repentance. It remains widely performed across professional and community theatre alike and has been the source for many film and literary adaptations. Now award-winning writer and beloved professor Harold Bloom investigates Iago’s motives and unthinkable actions with razor-sharp insight, agility, and compassion. Why and how does Iago use lies and deception—the fake news of the 15th century—to destroy Othello and several other characters in his path? What can Othello tell us about racism? Bloom is mesmerizing in the classroom, treating Shakespeare’s characters like people he has known all his life. He delivers exhilarating intimacy and clarity in these pages, writing about his shifting understanding—over the course of his own lifetime—of this endlessly compelling figure, so that Iago also becomes an extraordinarily moving argument for literature as a path to and a measure of our humanity. “There are few readers more astute than Bloom” (Publishers Weekly), and his Iago is a provocative study for our time.
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