Parker’s filmic interpretation of Othello associates power to the look and identity. While a large percentage of Shakespeare’s poetics have been overlooked, Parker preserves the huge bulk of the play’s classic themes putting particular focus on the value of looks and identity. Parker’s movie agreements Othello’s decline of the inevitable consequences of the lead character’s oxymoronic identity within a society who judges based on visual appeals. These are represented as dangers to Othello’s power and lead to a disintegration of his upright power.
The excerpt viewed shows Iago filling his weapon and Othello, with a jealous fury. Parker’s care of constructing adds to characterisation of Othello’s black clad garment stressing his ethnic culture and Iago’s brown, plain outfit permits him to portray his ‘plain speaking’ image and facilitates his plans. Iago’s ironic declaration ‘men ought to be what they seem’ stresses the two faced nature of Iago where he states previously, ‘I am not what I am’. Parker’s setting of an armoury represents the intention of Iago developing a weapon of damage.
Close up shots of Othello putting the weapon together highlights the concept of him being prepared for destruction. When Iago refuses to let Othello understand about what pesters his mind, Othello points a gun at Iago’s chest. This directorial addition by Parker shows how Iago has actually primed Othello into a hazardous weapon. A close up shot of Iago whispering into Othello’s ear illustrates pouring pestilence into his ear. Iago utilizes Othello’s position of an outsider as he states ‘I do understand our country, personality well’, to raise insecurities in Othello’s mind.
A cutaway shot to Cassio accepting his wife exhibits how the main dangers to Othello lie in a society of appearances and his identity. Shakespeare’s courtship scene forshadows Othello’s decrease by showcasing the insecurities which trouble him. Opening with ‘Most potent, serious and reverend signiors’ Othello’s power derives from an acknowledgment of who he requires to keep sweet. This sycophancy reflects his intelligence about how to manage the powerful guys of Venice.
His relations with these archetypical Venetian men highlights his diplomatic relationship with Venice he should preserve to maintain his fragile arrangement of powers. ‘Rude am I in my speech’ augments the characterisation of Othello. The paradox in the statement works on the audience’s recognition that his language is the extremely source of his power. Delivering an “unvarnished tale” his abundant anecdotes of “battles, sieges and fortunes”, of “hair breadth gets away” applies to the material of approaching Turks whilst suggesting his lack of experience with ladies.
Othello’s strangeness with females works as an opening for Iago to pry his relationship apart. Brabantio serves as an abundance of Venetian morals, an example of the creations the audience is most intimate with in the play. His worry of miscegenetic emanates from his language, calling the relationship ‘against all guidelines of nature’ and the impossibility of Desdemona ‘falling for what she feared to look on’. Othello is necessary to Venice’s state affairs but is pushed away by the society he need to safeguard. She liked me for the risks I had passed” functions as the connective to their relationship. Nevertheless, the apparent absence of typical territory in between the 2 undermines their psychological connection and raises concerns about the expediency of their relationship. Shakespeare centralises this early scene around the mob of Othello’s death inherent in his offering by Brabantio, vulnerable power central with Venice and susceptible insight to ladies, as tools utilized by Iago to chisel away at his emotional restitution and contaminate him with the ‘green eyed beasts’.
Parker’s courtship scene demonstrates how identity today is produced similarly to how Othello perceives himself. The same insecurities are proclaimed in Parker and Shakespeare’s variations but through various methods due to the medium. Following Brabantio’s accusations, cutaway shots to Venetian males gossiping reveal the tainting of Othello’s public image and the judgemental action of Venice. These shots underscore the Venetian mindset that form presumptions based on how things appear prior to Othello can supply his own account.
It is this social facilities that types the villain, Iago, and allows him to function so effectively. Othello is spatially distanced from other characters and positioned in front of a war strategist’s table symbolising his military background and ethnic seclusion. His costuming is the most significant; his cape an allusion to contemporary superheroes imbues him with brave attributes. Othello’s speech is overlayed with flashback scenes of his relationship with Desdemona highlighting the ‘world of sighs she gave me for my pains’.
A low angle shot of Othello towering above the sitting Brabantio indicates his accomplishment over him. Parker constructs their relationship as a competitors for Desdemona’s love and makes her a symbolised war prize to Othello. Othello’s identity is developed on the basis of his ethnic culture, relations with officials, and profession. Iago uses these to his advantage and strips Othello of his power by weakening these aspects of his identity. Shakespeare’s last scene highlights the effects of Othello’s conflicted identity.
The religious images he employs in the line ‘toss myself from paradise’ ejects himself from the very same sphere as Desdemona. Othello’s shift from ‘honest Iago’ to ‘devil’ suggests the inversion of their relationship. Lodovico represents the engaging force of Venetian law and acts as a judge to deal with the situation. Use of the past tense by Lodovico in the line ‘O thou Othello, thou wert when so excellent’ symbolizes Othello’s broken ties with Venice. Othello’s last speech supplies insight to an Othello who is free of influence.
The simile, ‘like the base Indian tossed a pearl away richer than his tribe’ lowers Othello to an oblivious savage and relates to where he says ‘However I do enjoy thee, and when I enjoy thee not, turmoil is returned’. The pearl images reiterates with the concept of a reward and reverses the excellent love Desdemona as soon as was to Othello. His ambiguous images which precede his death exemplifies the identity battle he was burdened by; ‘a malignant and turbaned Turk beat a Venetian and traduced the state’– Othello is both the Venetian and the Turk; the oxymoron reveals how his split identity is intolerable.
In an expression of frustration, he ‘took by the throat the circumcised pet and smote him’ shows how he can not deal with his double identity. The obscurity in his image propagates his divided self; he is both the slayer and the slain. Death is perceived as a means of escape for Othello, to him’t is joy to pass away’. Parker’s rendition of Othello demonstrates how power is stemmed from the very same notions today as they were in Shakespeare’s context. At it’s core, Parker communicates Othello’s power to be based on his identity and aspects which make up that.
The styles of appearance and identity penetrate throughout his movie and perpetuates them as fundamental issues to power as Shakespeare’s did. Parker’s movie can not be viewed as a relative text as such it is a film depending on Shakespeare’s play and should be thought about against a backdrop of the original. Parker’s film exhibits the enduring qualities of power which can be seen in Othello; his text is relevant today as it was 400 years earlier.