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Comparing Oedipus and Othello

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Comparing Oedipus and Othello

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When comparing and contrasting the character's Oedipus and Othello by means

of the different theatrical practices, one must take in account that there have been

many interpretations, and productions of each of their respected plays. The differing

presentations of each may lead someone to think differently about the play than

another would. In comparing and contrasting the dramatic representation of the

protagonists Oedipus and Othello, theatrical presentation, costume design, and

character will lead the reader, and viewer, to have a greater insight into the theatrical

practices of their times and their approaches to the issue of verisimilitude.

The theatrical presentation of both plays are very similar. The two plays would

both be presented on a thrust stage, which is a platform surrounded on three sides by

the audience. Except for the backdrop which would have some element of scenery,

the stage itself would be bare apart from a few scenic elements and props. Othello,

like most of Shakespeare's plays, had what is called an abstract setting. That is a

setting in which the locale may change rapidly, it may not be indicated by the script

that it has changed, and was most likely suggested by a few props. Abstract settings

place more emphasis on the language and the performer, which causes the spectator

to use their imagination. It also places more emphasis on costuming. This type of

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setting helped set up the style of representational theater, which places high emphasis

on the realistic. The style used in classical Greece was presentational which, because

of the use of the mask, gave no illusion that this story is happening before their eyes.

The audience is reminded that they are watching a play, and not merely observing

life. Thus, the use of the thrust stage is the only similarity of the two types of

presentation. Othello is a purely illusionistic play, whereas Oedipus Rex is one that...