Tim Blake Nelson's O And Oliver Parker's Othello

1031 words - 4 pages

The Shakespeare classic play Othello has been remade many times throughout the years whether it be through the big screen or on stage. Two of the larger known recreations of the play were made by Tim Blake Nelson ("O") and Oliver Parker (Othello). Both of these directors attempted to appeal to an audience made up of different people. Parker attempted to appeal to Shakespeare lovers; Nelson went the route of appealing to the youth (much like the 1996 adaption of Romeo and Juliet). One of the constant ideas in either case is that the interpretation follows many of the original themes and ideas such as racism, misogyny, and jealousy. Both films take different approaches to recreate the play and in doing so have significant similarities and differences.
Oliver Parker takes Shakespeare's play and recreates it for the big screen, but stays true to the original plot to appeal mostly to those who appreciate Shakespeare's work. Although there had been scenes removed and scenes added in that were not in the actual play, Parker attempted to make the adaption of Othello more like a movie while still retaining critical details. For example, Parker used the vow between Iago and Othello in a more dramatic light by drawing attention to the fact that the two are growing closer with staging. According to Roger Ebert in a personal review. The play was not done due justice by Parker in part because Iago “in enlisting Roderigo to his conspiracy, [he] sets a tone and uses body language that reads as homosexual; he seems to be in a play of his own” (Ebert).
Meanwhile Nelson's version of Othello appeals to the youth by incorporating an aspect that would resonate with his target audience: high school. The entire setting is moved into a modernized world with guns, ambulances, and school that create an atmosphere that would make Othello understandable. The problem faced by Nelson would be to create problems that teenagers would have to face that go against transplanting the adult problems onto younger people. What this means is that people are likely to sympathize with Hugo because his jealousy and desire for attention are somewhat relatable and cause a conflict between Shakespeare and the adaption. We note that Nelson changes Othello's name to Odin and the main focus to his race and skin color rather than outside ethnicity (Bourne). The entire adaption works in Nelson's favor because he adopts enough of the problems that are not only comparable and realistic, but fit the time period he is adapting Othello into.
In terms of themes, Parker stays true with the theme of racism due to a white woman marrying a moor; unheard of in the time period of the play. Parker also plays with the idea of misogyny as another theme from the original play, as the women in “Othello” are portrayed more often than not as inferior. The actors portraying the different main characters do a superb job of capturing and showing the different tensions of both race and sex. But not only...

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