Othello comparison

5 May 2016

“Our engagement in the similarities between Othello and O is further developed by a reflection of their significant differences in textual form”. The texts “Othello” by William Shakespeare and “O” by Tim Blake Nelson develop our engagements in the contextual similarities of the texts by a reflection of the significant differences in a textual form.

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Our insight and interaction with the similarities and differences in the texts is clear because of the skilful use of a variety of techniques and the introduced universal themes such as jealousy and the rights of women. Shakespeare used universal themes such as these to entertain large audiences of people in the form of play in the Elizabethan and Jacobean times.

Nelson’s movie “O” was an appropriation of Shakespeare’s Othello which was made relevant to the 21st century engaging an audience of teenagers and young adults. The theme jealousy is strongly conveyed throughout Shakespeare’s play “Othello” focusing on the capability of jealousy to tear people’s lives apart.

Iago uses the power of jealousy to sew thoughts of doubt about Desdemona’s loyalty into Othello’s head and gain control over him. Shakespeare uses this theme to be relevant to the plays context in order to engage his directed audience. As venetians’ were well known for their jealousy over women and their capability of revenge making Othello’s reaction to Iago talking in Othello’s ear about Desdemona and Cassio causing him to seek revenge on his beloved Desdemona relevant to the context.

Shakespeare shows us how jealousy has the capability to tear people’s lives apart through techniques such as metaphors “Oh, beware, my lord, of jealousy! It is the green-eyed monster which doth mock the meat it feeds on.” – Iago Shakespeare refers jealousy as a green eyed monster and that will mess with a jealous persons mind and ruin them. Similarities of jealousy are also portrayed through Tim Blake Nelson’s movie “O”.

Nelson uses the theme to display how jealousy is still relevant and is a normal feeling to endure as a part of the human condition, whilst also conveying the same message that it can mess with your head and ruin you. Nelsons “O” reflects differences through characterisation as Iago’s character Huego is portrayed as being the more predominately jealous character.

To show this nelson uses repetition of a voice over and reoccurring images “All my life I always wanted to fly. I always wanted to live like a hawk. I know you’re not supposed to be jealous of anything, but… to take flight, to soar above everything and everyone, now that’s living.”

Nelson uses this voice over at both the start and the end of the film to demonstrate Huego’s jealousy of Odin’s basketball reputation and how it overruns him throughout the film, voice over is used to engage the audience and tell us that jealousy is still relevant and normal to feel without directly speaking to the audience like monologue used in Shakespeare’s Othello.

Nelson also uses reoccurring images of Hawks to shown us that Huego’s jealousy remains relevant throughout the whole film. The rights of women in contextual form are differentiated from our accustomed rights in Shakespeare’s play Othello. We see women with very little empowerment as when the play was performed women didn’t have many rights and the males were the dominant gender in a patriarchal society.

This is understood in act 1 scene 3 when the duke is questioning Desdemona about her and Othello being married. “I am hitherto your daughter. But here’s my husband. And so much duty as my mother showed to you, preferring you before her father, So much I challenge that I may profess Due to the Moor my lord.”

This quote by Desdemona shows us that women were property of their fathers and husbands making it relevant to the patriarchal society existing in Elizabethan times when Shakespeare’s play was written. Unlike in Othello women are seen as being more independent and having more rights in the movie “O”. To display this equality of women to Men Nelson uses colloquial language and camera angles.

When the duke questions Dessy about Odin’s and her sexual relationship Dessy reply’s with “Its none of your business!” in Elizabethan times people would have been outraged to see a girl stand up for themselves to a man but through colloquial language nelson makes Dessy’s language relevant to the modern day expectations to engage his audience. Nelson also uses film angles to make the duke almost equal level Dessy to show that women have equal rights to men.

Although the school basketball team consists of only men displaying the value that women are still fragile even though they are equal to men some stereotypes still exist about women.

As you can see from my comparison of Tim Blake Nelsons movie “O” and Shakespeare’s play “Othello” we can gain a greater insight and engagement of the similarities between the two texts by a significant reflection of the differences between context and universal themes themes by the effective use of language and film technique’s.

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