Othello, subtitled "the Moor of Venice," is a famous Shakespearean drama centring on the eponymous character, the fictional North African chief military officer of the City of Venice. At the outset of the drama, Othello - a deeply respected and loyal man - is engaged to be married to Desdemona, the daughter of political leader of the city. This union would result in an interracial marriage, an extremely rare occurrence in Shakespeare's day, and the characters in the play grapple intermittently with the problem of racism, accordingly.
However, the main story centers upon a plan by Iago, a lieutenant of Othello, to sabotage Othello's sterling reputation, and destroy his life, by making Othello believe that Desdemona has been unfaithful to him. Iago's desire to harm Othello emerges almost ex nihilo – Samuel Taylor Coleridge famously termed it "motiveless malignity" – and thus a main theme of the play is the "the destructive power of jealousy". This, combined with the minor themes of deception and love leads the viewer to the question, "What can make a man do evil things?", and what is evil? One of Shakespeare's greatest tragedies, the play's plot often forms the basis for cinematic "modernizations."
Open Source Shakespeare - Othello