Othello– Comparative Study of Original Text and Oliver Parker’s Movie
William Shakespeare’s Othello is an Aristotelian tragedy that dramatises the steady death of the eponymous lead character. Shakespeare utilizes a multiplicity of literary methods to convey universal concepts exemplified throughout the course of Othello’s decrease. However, Oliver Parker revitalizes the play’s timeless concepts in a cinematic medium, sexualising the play for modern sensibilities. Parker uses visual concepts and cinematic devices to position a focus on the idea of power and its intrinsic relationship with language in the original play.
Thus whilst maintaining the credibility of Shakespeare’s expression in creating this modern adjustment, Parker’s movie … Shakespeare shows the power intrinsic in language through Othello’s speech in the courtship scene. Othello provides to the audience a dignified and powerful speech in his defence against Brabantio’s unrefined accusations. He develops a sincere tone when welcoming the Venetian state’s ‘most powerful, severe and reverend signiors’ whilst likewise providing himself as a modest speaker, who is ‘rude … in [his] speech’.
His declaration is ironic in that his courtship speech is eloquent and includes credibility to his defence. In informing his ‘unvarnished tale’ in the ‘tented field’, vivid images is produced through Othello’s usage of cumulation and alliteration when describing his life in ‘battles, sieges [and] fortunes’ by ‘flood and field’. His emotive focus on his military background sways the senator’s views, slowly dismissing Brabantio’s accusations. The exotic tales of ‘hair-breadth scapes’ are what Othello recommends as the ‘just witchcraft I have actually used’ to ‘charm’ Desdemona, demonstrating the seductive power of his language.
Hence, Brabantio’s allegations go unheeded, eventually controlled by Othello’s eloquent speech, causing the idea of the power and its relation with language. However Parker exemplifies the concept of power through jealousy and its numerous damaging ramifications. Adapting ‘a space in the castle’ in the play, Iago instead leads Othello into a dark dungeon setting, paralleling his descent into Iago’s diabolic world. The various abuse instruments and detainees portray Iago’s position of power in controling Othello.
Iago’s determined insinuations and machinations appear in causing the jealousy within Othello, sending him into an epileptic seizure.– ‘work [ing] on [his] medication-. Othello is seemly imprisoned by the chains of jealousy, the ‘green eyed beast’ within him. Parker incorporates a sex scene montage accompanied by a progressively intensified music, to accentuate the sexual suspense whilst showing Othello’s loss of control and incoherent state of mind. He employs the altering use of point of views when Iago ‘encaves’ Othello behind bars, reinforcing the concept that Othello being sent to prison and manipulated by Iago.
Othello’s perspective through the bars parallels his clouded understanding by Iago’s ‘poison’. Parker’s visual concept of the handkerchief has a symbolic power, emblematic of Desdemona’s ‘cheating’. It acts as the ‘ocular proof’, and therefore Othello, the caged monster, is let loose– ‘How shall I murder him’. Thus, through cinematic devices Parker is able to highlight the harmful power of jealousy, obvious in Othello’s changed mentality of strength to fear and ‘revenge’ as he catches Iago’s scheming proficiency. Shakespeare again highlights the intrinsic power in language.
Through the catharsis of the play, it is utilized to receive a degree of redemption for one’s sinful acts. Here, the audience exists with Othello’s purgation of regret of the murder of Desdemona, with his regret ‘wash [ing] [him] in steep-down gulfs of liquid fire’. Referring to the preceding water imagery of the ‘Pontic Sea’ in Act iii, Othello marks his ‘journey’s end’ and the ‘sea-mark of [his] utmost sail’, hence he ‘retires as a ‘soldier’. By returning to imagery comparable to the courtship scene, Othello tries to regain as much of his initial stature and regard as possible through making use of language.
Othello invokes his previous services to the state, ‘hope [ing] that the Venetians will ‘speak of [him] as [he] [was]. Ultimately, he attempts to establish his own final identity– ‘where a deadly and a turban ‘d Turk … and smote him, therefore’. Through this, he remembers the earlier tasks of defending the Venetian state against the army, and thus re-enacting this through his suicide to end on a last act of service. Although his criminal activities rooted from the ‘seeds of doubt’ from Iago will never be forgiven, Othello restores his some of his original dignified stature of a respected basic presented through his usage of language.
Although both Shakespeare and Parker make use of various mediums, they both convey parallel ideas especially in relation to the concept of power. Shakespeare provides power that lies within language while Parker uses visual proficiency in exemplifying this idea, both sanctioning that ‘Power, nevertheless it has actually progressed, whatever its origins, will not be given up without a struggle.’ _ Shulamith Firestone. _ Bibilography: Othello by William Shakespeare Othello; film adjustment from Shakespeare’s Othello; Directed by Oliver Parker http://en. wikipedia. org/wiki/Shulamith _ Firestone Different teacher’s notes