Othello, Shakespeare’s timeless story about race, love, jealousy, and betrayal was a bit too much for early 19th century Washingtonians.

Set in 16th century Venice and Cyprus, Othello the Moor (aka a black man), a general in the Venetian army has married Desdemona, a white woman, in secret.

Her daddy finds out and all hell breaks loose.

Stuff happens, Desdemona dies due to Othello’s unwarranted jealousy, a few others die, Othello is heartbroken when he finds out Desdemona had been faithful, and kills himself.

All in all, not your usual rom-com.

Well, it wasn’t a rom-com at all; it was a Shakespearean tragedy of the highest order.

When Othello was performed in Washington DC in the 1830s, a Washington Newspaper Reviewer called for the lynching of the playwright.

Shakespeare had been dead for over 200 years.

Nothing’s changed much.