Othello and Film O

Category: Film, Iago, Irony, Othello, Tragedy
Last Updated: 13 Oct 2022
Essay type: APA
Pages: 4 Views: 447

Despite the shift in time and place, the two texts Shakespeare’s Othello and Tim Blake Nelson’s film ‘O’ explores timeless ideas such as jealousy and illusion versus reality. These ideas transcend through time and still remain constant in modern society. To achieve universal themes represented in Othello, Tim Blake Nelson uses a variety of different techniques such as camera angles and Verdi’s Opera music to effectively achieve such themes and values in his film to suit his 21st century adolescent audiences.

On the other hand, Shakespeare have originated the plot by using literacy devices such as imagery, soliloquies and asides to suit his contemporary Elizabethan audience. In Shakespeare’s Othello, the theme jealousy is evident throughout the play. The composer uses techniques such as imagery and characterisation to convey this idea effectively. The protagonist Othello was characterised as a general, a man who has high social standards, rational, logical and a military man who is known as the “Valiant” and “more fail than black”.

This has shaped a strong comparison towards the end of the play when the Moor who is perplexed and enraged by jealousy for Desdemona, calling her “Impudent Strumpet! ”. Othello is a man of reason, and it is not until the proof of the handkerchief does the audience see his decline into distrust. With Iago’s understanding of human nature and their characteristics, Iago was able to turn their honesty against themselves. Othello’s mind became so corrupted by Iago that Othello got lose of his mind “Lie with her? Lie on her?.. Handkerchief! - Oh devil!” that the once calm and honourable figure was unfortunately lost to the “green eyed monster which doth mock the meat it feeds on”.

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Shakespeare uses imagery to describe jealousy as a monster, effectively highlighted the destructive nature of jealousy. In a different form the film “O” also represents the theme of jealousy effectively. Tim Blake Nelson conveys jealousy effectively through techniques such as super imposition, a variety of non diegetic (Verdi’s opera representing tragedy at the opening scene of doves) and a range of different angled camera shots to convey his theme of jealousy.

The composer utilizes the popular medium of cinema as well as the use of colloquial language, slangs and profanities to suit his contemporary adolescent audiences. Oden having similar characteristics to Othello is naive and easily trusting who fall into the deception of Hugo. The use of non diegetic sounds as well as superimposition was imposed to symbolise jealousy. Tim Blake Nelson used such technique in the “willow” scene, the lyrics “Even the sun goes down Heroes eventually die” are all forecasts of the tragic death of Desi.

The sex scene when Oden looks into the mirror and saw Mike’s face looking straight back at him smiling “evilly” gives the audience a look into Oden’s mind of jealousy and an indication of corruption of Oden’s mind. Iago is a success model in reflecting the theme “illusion verses reality”. Shakespeare employs techniques such as soliloquies and dramatic irony to effectively present the theme to his audience. In the beginning of the play, audiences are quickly known the “devil” of the story is Iago. Deception than arises in Othello when the protagonist constantly referred Iago as “the honest Iago”.

However the audience is aware that Iago is indeed not honest at all, from quotes “I am not what I am” and “In following him I follow but myself” is an indication of the double-faced Iago. Iago is seen as the most loyal friend to Othello, Iago helped Othello to “prove” the unfaithfulness of Desdemona and evidenced Othello being cuckold by Desdemona. The effective use of asides creates dramatic irony for the audiences as Othello’s naivety and trust in Iago is evident. These scenes effectively conveys the theme of illusion vs reality as Iago creates the “illusion” of being Othello’s honest friend.

In comparison to “O”, Nelson also used characterisation and dramatic irony in shaping the theme illusion verses reality. However techniques differs greatly between the two text in order to suit its audiences. In “O”, Iago was being further conveyed through the character Hugo, who is a teenager boy and craves for everyone’s attention. “All my life, I always wanted to fly” is a voice over at both opening and closing of the movie indicating Hugo wanting to success and will be able to receive attention from his father and friends. Dramatic irony has been effectively used to engage audiences to reflect upon the nature of illusion versus reality.

The conversation between Michael and Hugo, when Michael asked Hugo for advices about reputation. Hugo replied quickly “Like who gives a fuck about reputation, the only person you have to answer is yourself”, this quote is not only an indication of Hugo being a true Machiavellian villain, but it also highlights the theme of reality vs illusion. Shakespeare focused on values in integrity and reputation however to suit the 21st audiences Tim Blake Nelson have focused more on popularity. Hugo appeared to be a trustworthy friend in the film to both Oden and Michael and this is a representation of illusion verses reality.

Tim Blake Nelson effectively presents this thought through the use of dramatic irony and mis en scene throughout the movie similarly to Shakespeare’s Othello. Despite the time and space, both composer explored the basic humanity by using similar techniques however it differs greatly to suit its contemporary audiences. Shakespeare’s “Othello” used literacy devices such as dramatic irony and soliloquies instead Tim Blake Nelson structured his film “O” using popular medium of cinema along with pop and opera music to create his universal themes.

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Othello and Film O. (2016, Jul 22). Retrieved from https://phdessay.com/othello-and-film-o/

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