"Othello", written by William Shakepeare and "O", directed by Tim Nelson Blake. Comparative Essay

Essay by lolikon September 2006

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Any composer is profoundly influenced by their context, a factor that has an impact on the composition of any text. Both William Shakespeare's play, entitled "Othello" and Tim Nelson Blake's film, named, "O" show how influential context may have on any text. The contextual influences found in Othello can be seen through racist remarks against the main character Othello, the role of women and how they were perceived during Elizabethan times and is also influenced by military aspects. The film 'O', a modernisation of the play 'Othello' is set in contemporary America, in a state which also has a history of racism which the main character Odin suffers. Along with racism, the film is also influenced by the high amount of violence known in America, especially gun-related deaths among teenagers. Similar to "Othello", the film is set in a white, upper class private school where the sport basketball is highly supported.

In William Shakespeare's play, Othello, the main character also named Othello stands out and is unique due to the man's physical appearance. Othello, being a black Muslim man would often be looked down upon based on the colour of their skin and religion by the Venetians. Racist remarks was clearly seen in the play when Iago told a distraught Brabantio that Othello, a 'black ram, is tupping your white ewe" (Act 1 Scene 1 Line 88-89). The metaphor of Othello being a 'black ram' shows how people in the Elizabethan period often connected the colour black to mean 'evil' and 'beastly' whilst contrasting from the words 'white ewe', a metaphor for pure, young and innocent. This very standpoint of Iago and also of Brabantio shows how the contextual influences of the many people in Venetian and Elizabethan society, who viewed themselves as superior compared to black people.

In Tim...