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Play And Film "The Death Of Desdemona" (Act V Scene Ii): Oliver Parker's "Othello" And "Othello" By William Shakespeare.

1607 words - 6 pages

This comparative essay focuses on the murder of Desdemona (Act V, Scene ii) of William Shakespeare's 'Othello', in both the Folger version of the play, and Oliver Parker's film adaptation of the play. Through omissions to the script, use of lighting, and added scenes, Oliver Parker alleviates Othello of guilt, and preserves his honour in his adaptation. This paper will examine the original play as performed in the Globe Theatre in the seventeenth century. In order to show the many changes made to this act when filmed, it will be detailed in order of scene additions, textual changes, and then lighting, which will tie back into scene additions at the end.The most obvious difference between the Oliver Parker film adaptation, and Shakespeare's original play, is the use of camera angles. The Globe Theater was circular, with an audience occupying the circumference of the theatre. High paying audiences are seated up high (the highest paying seated at the high rear of the stage), and cheaper seats are sold down low, and surrounding the stage area (these people are known as the groundlings). Because of the setup of the theatre, it is impossible for everyone to see everything in detail. If an important part of the scene is played out, it must be visible to the entire audience. Thus, small gestures and less visible scenes (which could be crucial moments to the play) could be missed entirely if used; and the opposite; grand scale cinematic scenes which would have also been impossible to perform on stage. Parker, however, did not suffer from these "minor" setbacks by today's standards. With the use of camera close-ups, and wide scenic footage he is able to add to his film adaptation a great deal more than the original could possibly provide for its audiences.Oliver Parker made very few attempts to add to the text, but instead chose to add to the actions of the scenes. Two significant additions are made in this way to his film that was not written in the original play. One of these will discussed now and one will be discussed later on in this paper. The first addition is when Cassio hands Othello a dagger to kill himself with. Because of the need for the secretive way in which Cassio "slips" Othello the dagger, the audience of the Globe Theatre could easily have missed this sleight of hand with the blink of an eye, thus rendering a scene of this importance impossible at the live performance. If an audience member had missed this, it would have totally changed the significance of Shakespeare's Cassio saying "This did I fear, but thought he had no weapon, For he was great of heart." (5.2.422-423) The use of a camera close-up makes this action possible however. The camera locks onto Cassio's hand as he grasps Othello to seemingly pull him to his feet, while simultaneously slipping the dagger into Othello's hand. The next scene quickly jumping to Othello tucking it behind his back while he makes his final address before stabbing himself. By adding this footage to...

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