Who Really Wrote It? |3| Othello

None of the plays attributed to Shakespeare were written by Shakespeare. We know this. It’s fact. The earth revolves around the sun, 2+2=4, Shakespeare was a disgusting fraud. These are the foundations upon which our civilisation is built. What is less commonly known is that every single one of Shakespeare’s plays was written by a different person/group of things/musical collective. This week, we’ll be proving through close textual analysis that Othello was actually written by Michael Collins.

When you think of Michael Collins, “secret playwright of a play commonly attributed to Shakespeare” doesn’t immediately come to mind but I believe that I can persuade you that Michael Collins, the sexiest minister for finance that Ireland will probably ever have, did indeed write Othello. Thanks to the Royal Society for the Prevention of Shakespearean Thunder Stealing (RSPSTS, pronounced Rispists), I have been granted exclusive access to alternate drafts of Othello as well as extensive biographical items belonging to Michael Collins. These prove beyond a doubt that Shakespeare never wrote a damn thing in his life and that Michael Collins has another feather to add to his already extremely feathery hat.

The Original Title of Othello

Jeff Bridges in The Big Lebowski based on Michael Collins's Othello - HeadStuff.org
Still from the Coen Bros film adaptation based on Michael Collins’s original vision for The Big Othellow. Pic via playbuzz.com

Once you just decide one day weigh up the evidence and conclude that Othello was written by Michael Collins, The Big Fellow, it quickly becomes apparent that it’s an extremely biographical play. For instance, did you know that Othello’s title in early drafts was The Big Othellow? Yes, Othello was originally about a military commander from Cork trying to get shit done despite being undermined by a manipulative New Yorker. Early test audiences found it difficult to sympathise with a protagonist from Cork so Collins made Othello a Moorish military captain in Cyprus instead and a classic tragedy was born.

In the early versions, The Big Othellow falls in love with Julia Roberts (later Desdemona) but a shady New Yorker named Eamo (later Iago) plots to ruin everything out of jealously for The Big Othellow’s handsome face, long torso, and military prowess.

Biographical Similarities

I’m not the only one to have posited that Michael Collins is the true genius behind Othello. Many scholars have noted an unusual number of correlations between aspects of Collins’s life and the plot of Othello. As noted above, both were military commanders from a different background to that of their contemporaries. But consider also:

Othello is dispatched to defend Cyprus against Turkey, a battle he’s expected to lose but against all odds is victorious.

Michael Collins is dispatched to England to negotiate the Anglo-Irish treaty, a negotiation he is expected to lose but against all the odds he gets 26 counties.

And consider me this chumberino:

Othello smothered Desdemona with a pillow.

Michael Collins suppressed British fire during the 1916 rising

And additionally:

Othello features a character named Cassio

The demo setting on a Casio SA-76 was written by Michael Collins during a lunch break at the GPO during the 1916 Rising.

David O'Doherty in Othello - HeadStuff.org
David O’Doherty starring as Cassio in a 2005 stage version of Othello. via tipperary.com

Textual Evidence

Eamon De Valera was known among his associates as

“the green-eyed monster which doth mock the meat he feeds on”

This exact line is also found in Act III Scene III of Othello.

In Act I Scene III, Othello speaks of

“Rough quarries, rocks and hills whose heads touch heaven”

Cork contains many rough quarries, rocks and hills and Corkonians commonly believe that any head that rests on a bed in Cork is touching heaven.

Act V Scene II contains the following stage direction and line:

“[Rising] O, she was foul!”

Michael Collins was famously ambivalent about the effects of the 1916 Rising near the end of his life. Could this line be a coded reference to that unease? You can’t prove that it wasn’t so it probably was. Like 60% for sure.


When Michael Collins was assassinated (a word invented by Shakespeare allegedly, nothing suspicious there, no sir) at Béal Na Bláth in 1922, a piece of paper was found among his possessions which said “Othello 2: The Moor the Merrier – Othello’s family comes to visit and hilarity ensues. Maybe Eddie Murphy plays all of the characters??? Ring Ira to check availability”. Michael Collins wrote Othello. You know it. I know it. Spread the word.

Header Image via thejournal.ie