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Community Responses to Othello: Rahima Shafiq Ullah

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’re remounting 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 Rahima Shafiq Ullah:

The Nature of Evil

You know what you know, that
the nature of evil is revealed in the evil of nature.

To be foul and foolish, or fair and wise—
either paradox or logic gnaws at the soul,
sharp toothed and dull.
For men in rage will do what they will
instigated by green monsters, whispering devils,

enemies that go into and out of mouths
to spread and blacken reputation.
Such loss of the immortal self for a bestial nature.
An ensign of pestilence, racing like
wind keening through sand dunes.
Quick insinuations, ghosts traveling
at the speed of light through the desert’s surface

for fear of losing their existence
the only thing they have,
to announce the storm to come.

All this a mere phenomena of air, the breath we
intake and exhale, a conglomeration of particles
coursing through the body,
charging thoughts in synapses—even
the last thought and breath absolves the murderer
since love is all you need to know of life
and yet love is never enough in this life.


Rahima Shafiq Ullah is a poet, with an MFA from George Mason University, who teaches English. Growing up and living in Northern Virginia, she constantly explores nature and enjoys the arts. Rahima also translates Bengali poetry and loves to travel.

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