Othello - Shakespeare & Oliver Parker film version: traditional, post colonial and feminist intepretations

Essay by marnitramtinHigh School, 11th gradeA+, January 2007

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Whatever way you read it, the play Othello leaves its audience feeling ill at ease.

Discuss with close reference to the original text and two different ways of considering Othello.

The Shakespearean play, Othello is a text that has left its audiences from Elizabethan context up till today's modern western society to feel 'ill at ease'. A traditional reading from Elizabethan 17th century still echoes in today's audience despite cultural values & attitudes changing over time. The reason for this, is that the human nature to feel compassion and sympathise with a fellow human in strife is the same compassion and sympathy audiences feel for the character Othello - and I believe that the essence in being human and feeling these emotions have not changed over 400 years. However changes in values and attitudes in an era give way to resistant readings to interpret the text and this can be seen through the film version directed by Oliver Parker (1995).

This film has given insight to the modern audience including myself to further the understanding of the post-colonial and feminist perspectives of Othello and thus helped to shape out sympathies.

The traditional reading examines the play in an Aristotelian sense where Othello, a man of high rank in social status or in the 'chain of being' is undone by weaknesses or 'hamartia' in his character. Sympathy for Othello is the result. Shakespeare uses dramatic irony as a technique to make us feel ill at ease about this wherein Othello's innocence, he opened up his weaknesses to everyone in order protect his love with Desdemona "...rude am I in speech". Although this does not necessarily mean Othello is weak in his speech delivery for he evidently sways Brabantio and the Duke in that monologue, it implies that he is lacking some...