Paul Robeson? William Shakespeare? Apocryphal?
Dear Quote Investigator: A prominent actor once discussed William Shakespeare’s tragic character Othello and said the following:
There could be no greater character to play.
This statement has been attributed to Paul Robeson. Would you please explore this topic.
Quote Investigator: Paul Robeson played the character Othello in London in 1930. He also performed the character on Broadway in 1943 and 1944. Othello became Robeson’s best-known role.
The American Archive of Public Broadcasting contains a video of the April 9, 1998 episode of “The NewsHour with Jim Lehrer”. The episode included a segment from an interview with Paul Robeson conducted in 1959. Boldface added to excerpts by QI:Website: American Archive of Public Broadcasting, Date: April 9, 1998, Television Series: The NewsHour with Jim Lehrer, Quotation spoken at 44 minutes of 1 hour 1 minute, Producing Organization: … Continue reading
PAUL ROBESON: Shakespeare posed this problem of a say black man in a white society in the role that he’s playing. And Shakespeare gave Othello such dignity—he came not from—as he said—not from hate but from honor, from a sense of his own human dignity. And to me, to my mind, there could be no greater character to play.
Below is one additional selected citation.
|↑1||Website: American Archive of Public Broadcasting, Date: April 9, 1998, Television Series: The NewsHour with Jim Lehrer, Quotation spoken at 44 minutes of 1 hour 1 minute, Producing Organization: NewsHour Productions, Washington, D.C. (Accessed via americanarchive.org on September 1, 2022) link|