Friday, February 19, 2010

Challenge # 6 Othello vs Hamlet

(Updated Bracket! Click for Bigger View)

Battle # 5 Othello vs Hamlet

Welcome one welcome all to the 6th battle!!!
Thank you all for being patient during our brief hiatus. We hope you have not all lost hope for your favorite contestant, but instead have been busy inspiring more supporters to help vote!!
Today we have a wonderful match up for your viewing pleasure that is sure to bring not only the laughs, but the votes!!

Before we begin today's match we will be reviewing the rules/concept for those of you playing at home. Twice a week we will be pitting two of Shakespeare's most classic plays against each other in a no holds 'bard' contest to answer the age old question
While some plays might be 'deeper' or more technically written this contest is worried not about those things. Our contest comes right down to what you, the readers, feel in your heart of hearts is the most deserving for the crown. So make sure to carefully weigh your decisions and aim true before selecting your choice. (The poll can be found directly to the top left of the page).

The comedy battles will take place every Monday while Friday will hold the tragedies. You will have 3 days time to vote on each match up so don't dillydally. However we encourage you in that 3 days to do a little outside research of your own. Maybe watch a movie version, find a fun tv. parody, or even actually read a bit of the play (gasp!). However if you don't feel like going the extra mile, we will be providing you with a cornucopia of information for each play to guide you in your quest.

The path is sure to be long and hard but fear not, your efforts shall be rewarded in the end!! This week marks the begging of the 'first tier' of battles. For those who filled out their brackets, each correct guess in this tier will earn you one point towards the grand prize.
The Tempest

So for those of you who have true vision in your hearts, you have earned yourself one point towards the GRAND PRIZE!! for each correct guess. As the battle gets a little further into the game, we will be providing some stats about point leaders.

Now that you have heard the rules it is time to bring today's competitors! So break out your foam fingers, practice your iambic pentameter, and let's get ready to rummmbbllleeeeee in.....

The Battle of the Bards!



Weighing in at: 3323 lines

First Appearance: 1603

Short Summary: Iago plotting, green eyed monsters, strawberry handkerchiefs

Longer Summary:

The play opens with Iago, a cruel, whining, complainer, complaining to his friend Roderigo that Othello, his Commander, has passed him over to promote the handsome young Cassio to be his Lieutenant. And Iago is PISSED. Iago first tries to get Othello in trouble for marrying his love Desdemona by telling her father. However her dad gets over it and Iago must find another way to get revenge.

So the next plan that Iago devises, is to make Othello believe that his wife Desdemona is cheating on him. Step one of the plan: get Cassio Fired. Step 2: Encourage Cassio to ask Desdemona to plead with Othello to be reinstated. Step 3: Throw the idea out there that Cassio and Desi are lovers. Step 5: Get Othello angry enough to kill Cassio in revenge.

So to help him along with the last steps of the plan, Iago plants plants a hankerchief in Cassio's room. Only problem is that the hankerchief was a gift from Othello....and he isn't too pleased when Desi can't find it. Cassio gives it to his mistress, Bianca. Othello believes Bianca's possession of the handkerchief is proof that Desdemona and Cassio are lovers.

By this point in the plan Iago has manipulated Roderigo into trying to kill Cassio. The attempt goes wrong, and Cassio wounds Roderigo so Iago stabs Cassio in the leg. Othello hears Cassio cry out and thinks Iago has killed him, which makes him happy. He returns home, ready to kill Desdemona for cheating. Iago quietly kills Roderigo and sends Emilia (Iago's wife) to Desdemona with news of what has happened.

Othello reaches the sleeping Desdemona first. He kisses her, wakes her, and accuses her of cheating again. Over her protests that she loves him and is innocent, he smothers her (SOB). Emilia enters and Desdemona revives for a moment, declaring herself guiltless but saying, as she dies, that Othello is innocent of her death. Iago and others enter, and Emilia defends Desdemona's innocence, and kind of like Tim Curry in clue... reveals how Iago planned the whole thing. Othello sees the truth and tries to kill Iago. Iago kills Emilia and flees; Othello kills himself in sadness.

Wow even taht summary is pretty sad. Now imagine actually reading the whole play.

Beautiful Quotes:

  • I will wear my heart upon my sleeve
    For daws to peck at.
  • Reputation, reputation, reputation! Oh, I have lost my reputation! I have lost the immortal part of myself, and what remains is bestial.
  • O, beware, my lord, of jealousy!
    It is the green-eyed monster which doth mock
    The meat it feeds on.

Here is a clip from one of my all time favorite movie adaptions of Othello. Here, we see one of the many scenes where Iago (played by Kenneth Branagh) breaks the 4th wall and speaks directly to the audience, which he does many times in the play. It makes you feel his evilness ever more. Did you get goosebumps? I sure did.

Alright folks we hope that you can see through your tears enough to read about our next contestant. It is sure to put up a good fight.

Weighing in at: 3834 lines
First Appearance: 1599-1601
Shortish Summary: madness, poison, death death death (Sounds like a good band name)
Very long summary:

So as you may have guessed, the main character of this play is in fact Hamlet. Hamlet is the Prince of Denmark but despite that his life kind of sucks. His dad was recently murdered by his uncle Cladius, who then went and married his mom. Ouch. Needless to say Hamlet is having a rough time, which isn't made easier when in the opening of the play Hamlet's dad comes back to the grave to tell his son to avenge his death.

'That Polonius guy' is Claudius' trusted chief counselor; his son, Laertes, is returning to France, and his daughter, Ophelia, is courted by Hamlet. Things seem to be going well between the two until everyone tries to convince her that Hamlet isn't feeling it. Ophelia gets even more confused when Hamlet busts into her room right after seeing the ghost, says nothing, then leaves. It is about this point that both Hamlet and Ophelia start to loose their marbles a bit.

Hamlet's mom is worried about hamlet's crazy behavior,so she has Claudius send for two of Hamlet's acquaintances —Rosencrantz and Guildenstern (featured in The Good Books Club pick this month!!!) —to discover the cause of Hamlet's changed behavior. Hamlet is pumped to see his friends, but figures out pretty quickly that they were sent there to spy on him.

In a famous scene Claudius and Polonius convince Ophelia to get Hamlet in a room and speak to her, while they listen in on the conversation. When Hamlet enters Ophelia gets him all worked up upon which Hamlet questions her honesty and furiously rants at her, and drops the famous line: "get thee to a nunnery".

So around this point Hamlet is starting to wonder if the ghost that he saw in the opening was actually his dad. To figure it out he stages a play, re-enacting his father's murder, to determine Claudius's guilt or innocence by studying his reaction. At the part where his dad 'dies' Cladius storms out of the room. Guilltttty.

Gertrude summons Hamlet to her closet to demand an explanation. Upon reaching the queen, an argument erupts between Hamlet and Gertrude. Polonius, who is spying on them is now pretty convinced along with everyone else that Hamlet is a lunatic. Hamlet hears him hiding and stabs him thinking it is Cladius!! The ghost reaapears to Hamlet and tells him to be nice to his mom, but not to finish what he started with Cladius. Of course, his mom can't hear the ghost, so now she reallly thinks Hamlet is nuts.

Claudius, fearing for his life, and finally holding a legitimate excuse to get rid of the prince, makes plans to send Hamlet to England on a diplomatic pretext, closely watched by Rosencrantz and Guildenstern. Alone, Claudius discloses that he is sending Hamlet to his death. A few things happen though and Hamlet realizes he is being lazy and decides to finally get around to killing Cladius.

Laertes, son of Polonius rolls back into france pissed because his dad is dead and his sister has pretty much gone nuts. Claudius convinces Laertes that everything is Hamlets fault so they make a plan to kill him.

A few things happen between the plot and the end that make everyone not just Hamlet's mom believe that Hamlet has lost it (including him flinging himself into Ophelia's grave after she drowns herself). The play ends with pretty much every one dying including Hamlet who has now realized there really is no control over anything in the world.

Fun Facts
  • Hamlet is Shakespeare's longest play.
  • Many books and have been based off of Hamlet (some only supposedly), including

-The Fathers Club (novel)

-The Manchurian Candidate (movie)

-Ghost (movie)

-Rosencrantz and Guildenstern Are Dead(play)

-The Lion King (movie)

Amazing Quotes:
  • "This above all: to thine own self be true,
    And it must follow, as the night the day,
    Thou canst not then be false to any man."
-Said by "that Polonius guy" not Hamlet

  • "Our wills and fates do so contrary run that our devices still are over thrown; Our thoughts are ours, their ends none of our own."
  • "For some must watch, while some must sleep: So runs the world away."

Now here is the plot of Hamlet in one minute in a rap that will probably make you pee your pants. Don't let this video fool you into thinking this play is a comedy is pure tragedy at its finest.

There you go folks!!! For those of you participating in the Good Books Club, make sure to take extra care when reading the Hamlet summary, as it will be helpful when reading the play. Monday starts our final week of tier 1 battles so make sure to get those votes in while you can!!!

-mischief managed-


  1. While Othello is a tremendous play, not much can compare to Hamlet; it's themes are timeless.

  2. Trisha, I totally agree.

    I believe Hamlet is a pioneer in demonstrating the use of rationality; Hamlet continuously questions himself before acting. This may be interpreted as uncertainty but I believe it's more about the fact that certainty is impossible to acquire.

    That, and ghosts, skulls and awesome quotes.

  3. Those are great points ladies!! Hamlet really does see to have some themes that transcend even to this generation. Plus the writing is just beyond amazing!

  4. *sigh* I wanted Othello to win, but I know it will be Hamlet really. I have never warmed to Hamlet, for whatever reason...

  5. Thats the beauty of Shakespeare. He has something out there for everyone!

  6. While I cast my vote for "Hamlet", this one was really tough for me. "Othello" had interracial love, vengeance, jealousy, obsession, one of the greatest villains ever. I had to vote for "Hamlet" though because of the complexity of it's anti-hero. And the influence of "Hamlet" on popular culture is enormous. It casts a long shadow.

  7. This may be interpreted as uncertainty but I believe it's more about the fact that certainty is impossible to acquire.

  8. Othello is obviously the better play. In addition to the Kenneth Branagh as Iago movie version, there's a great South African film directed by Janet Suzman (2000), and it's the focal point for the Billy Crudup/Claire Danes movie Stage Beauty (2004). And look at all these other film versions of it:
    1952 Orson Welles, 1965 Laurence Olivier, 1981 Franklin Melton, 1981 Jonathan Miller (with Anthony Hopkins), 1985 Terry Hands, 1990 Trevor Nunn (based on the RSC performance at Stratford), 2001 "O" by Tim Blake Nelson, and 2001 Othello by Andrew Davies.
    And then there are the operas...

  9. I prefer Hamlet. Maybe it's because it's more familiar. Everyone feels like Hamlet sometimes...

  10. What fun. I just finished reading Othello with four eighth grade girls who loved every word of it. I'll have to ask them how they'd vote in Hamlet vs. Othello. The Tim McInnerney DVD of Othello, filmed at the Globe, is outstanding. I enjoyed Othello because it wasn't so familiar; there was a bit more discovery. And Iago has to go down as one of the truly excellent villians in literture.

  11. is a real encyclopedia on banking! The site helped me to find the type of institution I needed and much more relevant information. Several clicks, 15 minutes to read and now I may easily talk to the bank workers on equal terms!


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