Othello: Shakespeare vs. Parker

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Othello: Shakespeare vs. Parker

To create an adaptation of a literary work is not an easy task, especially if it is a classic work by man named Shakespeare. Today movies are expected to be packed with drama, action, and sex. True, Othello contains all of these, but it certainly isn't a blockbuster by today's standards. When Shakespeare wrote Othello, viewing the play was an event in itself, not an hour and a half thrill ride that today's viewer have come to expect. This was Parker's dilemma, to create a concise adaptation that could hold its viewers. Still, with revisions and scene cuts Parker's film still runs a little over two hours. There many drawbacks to cutting scenes from an original work, one is loss of cohesion. There are several obvious differences between Oliver Parker's motion picture version of Othello and the original work of William Shakespeare, the first of which is the amount of editing that was done by Parker for his film. As a result of Parker's revised material several differences emerge which vary from the adding of material to the diminished presence of certain characters. Symbols such as masks and chess pieces were added while the role of Emilia was greatly diminished. The clown was entirely excluded from Parker's film. More importantly however, are the broader changes in themes that this more concise version produces. In the editing of Othello the movie, much of the original dialogue between the characters was left out, along with many of Othello's monologues. This is unfortunate, because the depth of Othello's plight is not felt through the experience of the movie as much as it is through the words of the play. Shakespeare's original text does a very good job of allowing the reader to feel understanding of and sympathy for Othello's feelings of jealousy while the movie trivializes these feelings and makes it appear that he is severely overreacting. The depth of Othello's torment is also glossed over in Parker's film while the...
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