Othello - Comparative Study of Original Text and Oliver Parker's Film 'Othello'Text 1: Othello by William Shakespeare Text 2: Film Othello directed by Oliver Parker (Adaptation of Shakespeare's Othello)

Essay by zeltawHigh School, 11th gradeA-, May 2010

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William Shakespeare's Othello is an Aristotelian tragedy that dramatises the gradual demise of the eponymous protagonist. Shakespeare employs a multiplicity of literary techniques to convey universal ideas exemplified throughout the course of Othello's decline. However, Oliver Parker reinvigorates the play's timeless ideas in a cinematic medium, sexualising the play for modern sensibilities. Parker utilises visual motifs and cinematic devices to place an emphasis on the idea of power and its intrinsic relationship with language in the original play. Hence whilst retaining the authenticity of Shakespeare's expression in creating this contemporary adaptation, Parker's film... Shakespeare illustrates the power inherent in language through Othello's speech in the courtship scene. Othello presents to the audience a dignified and powerful speech in his defence against Brabantio's crude accusations. He establishes a sincere tone when greeting the Venetian state's 'most potent, grave and reverend signiors' whilst also presenting himself as a modest speaker, who is 'rude...in

[his] speech'. His statement is ironic in that his courtship speech is eloquent and adds credibility to his defence. In telling his 'unvarnished tale' in the 'tented field', vivid imagery is created through Othello's use of cumulation and alliteration when describing his life in 'battles, sieges [and] fortunes' by 'flood and field'. His emotive emphasis on his military background sways the senator's views, slowly dismissing Brabantio's accusations. The exotic tales of 'hair-breadth scapes' are what Othello suggests as the 'only witchcraft I have used' to 'woo' Desdemona, demonstrating the seductive power of his language. Thus, Brabantio's accusations go unheeded, ultimately subdued by Othello's eloquent speech, bringing about the idea of the power and its relation with language. However Parker exemplifies the idea of power through jealousy and its many destructive implications. Adapting 'a room in the castle' in the play, Iago instead leads Othello into...