Interview comparing Oliver Parker's "Othello' and Tim Blake Nelson's 'O' to the original play Othello. Othello- William Shakespeare

Essay by kycaveHigh School, 12th gradeA-, October 2008

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Hello and welcome to the movie show. This week we have James Pearson, a recognised Shakespearean authority and critic to discuss two film adaptations of the Shakespearean play Othello. Oliver Parker's 1995 production and Tim Blake Nelson's 'O' will be the two films analysed against the original play. James, which do you think better represents Shakespeare's original intent?Well Paul, it would be very hard to decide because the target audience is vastly different for each movie. Both directors attempted to modernize their productions, but they each had diverse intents for their films and unique interpretations of the play. Blake Nelson's 'O' is directed at a modern day teenage audience, and is an alternative reading of the text, while Oliver Parker's audience is a broader demographic, focussed particularly on Shakespearean fans. It is more a dominant reading of the original play.

So how have the differing target audiences and readings of the text affected the plot development of each movie?Both directors have changed or added scenes to the plot to attempt to modernize their productions.

Parker has closely followed the original plot, adding a handful of scenes and cutting over half of the original script in order to present it in a two hour time slot. He uses a number of events, such as the sex scene between Othello and Desdemona to replace text from the original play while still portraying the same idea. In these added scenarios, he has deliberately retained the original discourses in the play, even enhancing several aspects. For example, Parker is careful to play up the love affair between the title character and his wife so that when the inevitable occurs, it has a more profound impact. When Othello declares, "My life upon Desdemona's faith," you believe him. Nelson has also followed the...