How successfully has Andrew Davies transformed William Shakespeare’s original text for a modern audience?
In this essay I will explain how Andrew Davies’ film, Othello, 2001 released in 2001, is a successful transformation of William Shakespeare’s tragic play, Othello first performed in 1604. The play follows the events of the General Othello while outlining his love for his wife Desdemona and watches it turn into jealousy, since Iago deceives him into believing she is having an affair with Michael Cassio. Iago’s lies lead Othello to suffocate his innocent wife because of his jealous rage. Then after realising he mistake commits suicide. Similarly, Davies film follows the manipulative Ben Jago’s plans to make the police Commissioner, John Othello, believe that his wife, Dessie, is having an affair with a policeman Michael Cass. The suspicion that Jago plants similarly leads John to kill his wife Dessie and to commit suicide due to his jealousy, leaving Jago to be promoted to the position of Commissioner. Davies’ appropriates the main characters, parts of the plot, and the themes of chaos verses order & racial intolerance and by recontextualising these Davies creates new meanings for a new audience, through illustrating the alteration of values with the change of context. To appeal to the modern audience he reflects the values of England in the twenty-first century.
The play’s dramatic change of character would have greatly compelled and interested the audiences of Shakespeare’s time. His play was a popular entertainment in the context of the Jacobean era. The popular drama film by Davies likewise entertains his viewers. Furthermore he makes his audience think about the issues highlighted by the characters throughout the film. This film shows how people’s values have changed very little since Shakespeare’s era. Many people today are still bigoted and offensive to others of a different race. Furthermore in our patriarchal society people commit lawless acts...
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