Term Paper: Othello in a Movie

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Othello in a Movie

This report is a comparison-contrast two movies following the theme of William Shakespeare's play of jealousy, betrayal, and murder called "Othello." The movies are the 2001 release "O' directed Tim Blake Nelson and the 1995 release "Othello" directed by Oliver Parker. The stars of these films were Mekhi Phifer for "O" and Lawrence Fishburn for "Othello." e and the more recent movie "O" staring. Although the paper provides a review of the films in general, the main focus is to get insights into the character Iago. The Iago character in the film "O" was named Hugo and was played by the actor Josh Hartnett. In "Othello," Iago's character was played by Kenneth Branaugh. In most cases, attempts to redo a Shakespeare play in a movie format usually turns out pretty cheesy. But both Oliver Parker and Tim Blake Nelson did a pretty good job of bringing in modern interpretations but still capturing the really important aspects of the original play. In other words, a movie audience is not bored out of their mind but you can still see that this was in fact a remake of Shakespeare's work. The directors did their fair share of using artistic license for dialogue and character development, but the stories were not bad.

A never really knew much about William Shakespeare's play "Othello," so these two movies helped me get an understanding of the plot. The film "O," is movie that starts slow but makes up for it in the end as the plot thickens. Parker's Othello was more consistent in the sense that it was exciting from the beginning to the end and featured Lawrence Fishburn as Othello and he is a very good actor. "O" was move of a modern update of the Shakespeare classic that culminates into an exciting third act that was very affective.

The original play by Shakespeare begins with a character, Roderigo, discovering that the woman he loved eloped with the general who was hired to lead the Venetian army against the Turks. Roderigo is also upset with the character Iago because Roderigo paid Iago to help match make. but, Iago is more concerned and angry by the fact that Othello, the general, passed him over for promotion even though he feels he was the most loyal ensign. Iago is duplicitous individual who disguises his evil nature behind a front of honesty even though he truly enjoys watching others suffer. Together, Iago and Roderigo inform Brabantio who is the father of Desdemona, the young lady that Othello has eloped with. Iago discovers Othello and Desdemona in an inn and lets them know that her father is upset. After being called back for a war council, Othello is threatened with jail by Brabantio and his henchmen but Othello suggests a higher authority settle the matter. The matter is settled in favor of Othello and he is later dispatched abroad with Desdemona scheduled to join him later with Iago and Cassio, the person who he feels stole his promotion. Iago formulates the details of his plan that uses Othello's trust and Cassio's good looks.

In Parker's Othello, the story is mainly seen from the perspective of Iago. "Kenneth Branagh, perhaps better focused since he's only acting in this piece, makes Iago a chillingly rational character whose acerbic asides to the camera draw the audience into his plot almost as an accomplice." (Berardinelli) Seeing the story from Iago's point-of-view gives new insight into the murderous plot of the original story. I thought that Branaugh was perfect for this part and he did a great job with his range of emotions.

In "O," the story is set in Charleston, South Carolina, at Palmetto Grove prep school. Instead of a Venetian street, the film begins at a basketball game as Odin James played by Mekhi Phifer is the Othello of the story and he has just brought the team to another win. On the sidelines is a very jealous Hugo played by Josh Hartnett who is this versions Iago. "Odin has… [END OF PREVIEW]

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