Parker's Filmic Interpretation of Othello

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Parker’s filmic interpretation of Othello attributes power to the appearance and identity. While a large proportion of Shakespeare’s poetics have been left out, Parker maintains the vast majority of the play’s timeless themes placing particular emphasis on the importance of appearances and identity. Parker’s film contracts Othello’s decline of the inevitable consequences of the protagonist’s oxymoronic identity within a society who judges based on aesthetics. These are portrayed as threats to Othello’s power and lead to a disintegration of his upright power.

The excerpt viewed illustrates Iago loading his weapon and Othello, with a jealous fury. Parker’s care of constructing contributes to characterisation of Othello’s black clad garment emphasising his ethnicity and Iago’s brown, plain costume allows him to portray his ‘plain speaking’ image and facilitates his plans. Iago’s ironic statement ‘men should be what they seem’ emphasises the two faced nature of Iago where he says earlier, ‘I am not what I am’. Parker’s setting of an armoury represents the intention of Iago building a weapon of destruction. Close up shots of Othello putting the gun together highlights the notion of him being prepared for destruction. When Iago refuses to let Othello know about what plagues his mind, Othello points a gun at Iago’s chest. This directorial addition by Parker shows how Iago has primed Othello into a dangerous weapon. A close up shot of Iago whispering into Othello’s ear illustrates pouring pestilence into his ear. Iago uses Othello’s position of an outsider as he says ‘I do know our country, disposition well’, to raise insecurities in Othello’s mind. A cutaway shot to Cassio embracing his wife exemplifies how the central threats to Othello lie in a society of appearances and his identity.

Shakespeare’s courtship scene forshadows Othello’s decline by showcasing the insecurities which trouble him. Opening with ‘Most potent, grave and reverend signiors’ Othello’s power...
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