"Othello" and "O" Comparative Essay

Essay by christovHigh School, 10th gradeA, November 2006

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We live in a world entangled with lies, jealousy, violence and tragedy. We are an envious society that never has enough, and we're willing to tear down others to get what we want, or to ruin their happiness. Two texts that portray these values of society include "Othello", a play written by William Shakespeare and "O", a film directed by Tim Blake Nelson. Today I will be contrasting these two texts and in more depth contrasting two parallel characters, Othello and Odin. The different language and medium of production of the two texts reflect the time in which they were written. Othello was composed in the Elizabethan era, displayed by the classy English literature written in the form of a play. It was aimed at all classes of society, from the monarchy right down to the peasantry. However, O was created in a time no different from today, shown by its modern language, themes and its medium of production, film.

"O" is aimed at a much younger, simpler, Westernised audience portrayed by the swearing and rap music.

"Othello" is a powerful tragedy based on the themes of love, jealously, trust and betrayal and is quite simply the basis of "O", Nelson has borrowed the storyline, plot and even the characters from the great drama. However, he has appropriated Othello into a post-modern structure, superimposing it into a contemporary time and setting. Nelson presents his own themes and values to his audience without betraying Shakespeare's original tale of diaster and despair. New values Nelson gives "Othello" in "O" are violence, teenage relationships, drugs and Sport. "O" will perhaps introduce a new audience to William Shakespeare and some of his most intriguing and tragic characters.

One of those characters is "Othello", a general...