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Community Responses to Othello: Paulette Beete

Community Responses to Othello

STC’s vision is to create theatre that ignites a dialogue and that connects classic works to our modern world—this vision is especially true for Ron Daniels’ production of OthelloIn the context of world events, this tragedy is one of the classics that seems most timely, relevant and urgent.

(We’ve remounted Othello for the 2017 Free For All! Learn how to get tickets.)

For that reason, we have invited some members of our community to craft responses to Othello and to all of the questions this production poses in whatever form calls to them—whether that means poems, songs, pictures, essays, stories or anything in between. We hope these responses, which will be published online throughout the run of the show, will help further the dialogue between STC and the community and help provide our audiences with another lens to view this current production.

Now, without further introduction, please enjoy the response to Othello from poet Paulette Beete:

Othello Says His Final Good-bye to Iago

Your blackness is a kind of magnetism.
Your blackness is a kind of flattery.
Your blackness is a kind of stutter.
Your blackness makes me a bomb.
Your blackness makes me a revolution.
Your blackness makes me a mess.
Your blackness is my manna.
Your blackness is my virtue.
Your blackness is my passion.
Your blackness villains me.
Your blackness reveals me.
Your blackness deadens me.
Your blackness deafens me.
Your blackness makes itself my grief.
Your blackness makes itself my burden.
Your blackness makes itself my future.
Your blackness is an incantation.
Your blackness is an exhortation.
Your blackness is a blessing.
Your blackness is a prayer.
Your blackness unfixes me.
Your blackness humans me.
Your blackness makes me a migrant.
Your blackness makes itself my fault.
Your blackness makes itself my flesh.
Your blackness makes me forgive it.
Your blackness breaks my language.
Your blackness becomes my landscape.
Your blackness is a kind of idiocy.
Your blackness is a kind of love.
Your blackness makes me honest.
Your blackness gives me shelter.
Your blackness unmoors me.

*Author’s Note: Though Othello’s blackness is the triggering element of Shakespeare’s tragedy, I would argue that it’s Iago’s blackness—of spirit, of heart, of intention, of outlook—that is the engine of the play. Iago’s blackness is the virus that eventually fells—in one way or the other—everyone he touches. In this poem, I wanted to give Othello a moment to accuse Iago while wrestling with the ways in which he allowed himself to be seduced by Iago’s blackness.


Paulette Beete’s work has appeared in Crab Orchard Review, Beltway Poetry Quarterly, Escape into Life, Found Poetry Review and many other journals. She’s the author of the poetry chapbooks Blues for a Pretty Girl (Finishing Line Press) and Voice Lessons (Plan B Press). She blogs (occasionally) at

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