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"Othello", Written By William Shakepeare And "O", Directed By Tim Nelson Blake. Comparative Essay

1176 words - 5 pages

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 Nelson Blake's "O", the main character Odin, an African American also stands out similarly to Othello. Odin is "the only black kid in the whole damn school" and is surrounded by white people. In the film, the usage of the hawk is to symbolise Odin whilst doves are used to represent all the other white people in the school. At the end of the film Hugo says "the hawk is no good around other birds they don't fit in" which describes how Odin's differences is a barrier to other white people accepting him. The white people in the school, especially Hugo's jealousy of Odin is explained when Hugo says in a voiceover "even though the other birds want to be hawks, they hate him for what they cant be, proud, colourful, determined, Odin is a hawk he sores above us, he can fly. One of these days' people will notice me because I'm going to fly too", Film techniques in "O" also show how Odin was in a lower class when in the scene when Desi's father confronts Odin about his relationship with Desi. A low angle of Desi's father is used, giving the audience the impression of the father being more powerful or dominant than Odin. Whilst the high angle shot of Odin gives the audience the...

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