Othello is perhaps Shakespeare s most troublesome tragedy. While it has retained its popularity on the stage, many critics have struggled to see value in it. The Romantics warmed to the figure of Othello himself and wrung their hands over the plight of Desdemona; the Modernists looked down on the play as an achievement of Shakespeare s stagecraft rather than of his imagination. The play continues to be read, staged and studied, and each new approach provides a new view. In this Icon Readers Guide, Nicholas Potter traces the critical history of the play from the earliest pronouncements to present-day criticism. The most significant critical accounts are excerpted and discussed, placed within their historical context and assessed for their contribution to the developing evaluation of the work. The Guide assumes no particular view of the continuing debate, but tries to do justice to the variety of opinion, as well as pointing out significant themes and recurring concerns. The ugly racism of many critical accounts, and the inadequacy of many attempts to face up to the issues raised by the play, are not glossed over. Othello is a play that challenges many received opinions and that still provokes controversy. Would it be worth study if it did not?