Women in Othello - Film Review

Topics: Othello, Laurence Fishburne, Iago Pages: 2 (512 words) Published: October 10, 2013
It is made evident to all upon reading Shakespeare’s ‘Othello’ that without the female characters to fashion an intimate insight into the mind-set of the subordinate sex, the play would not have had half the desired impact on its original Elizabethan audience as intended. With a hefty responsibility such as this, one would imagine the main female role in particular would remain as true to her character as possible. However, this is where the screenplay falls tragically short. Conventionally (and furthermore, logically), Desdemona is supposed to have immense sexual power over Othello; so much so that Cassio refers teasingly to her as ‘our great captain’s captain’. Knowing this it is impossible to envision a character with such control over one so very fierce and commanding as anything less than a strong, deeply desirable temptress. This, I believe to be the production’s fatal flaw. It appears that the importance of her sensuality was grossly overlooked as rather than portraying Desdemona as a female capable of inducing jealousy so ferocious that it drives an immutable man to brink of insanity, Irene Jacobs instead presents to the screen a meek and feeble character with pathetically little sexual prowess or general charisma. Acts rife with opportunity for Irene to express Desdemona’s bewitching charm are wasted as a shy and delicate character is seen in place of what should be a strong and confident young woman. A prime example of this is the scene in which she performs a dance for Othello (Laurence Fishburne), as rather than her appearing alluring and desirable the entire sequence seems quite obviously uncomfortable for both actor and audience alike. Whilst this major aspect of her personality appeared to escape the film adaptation, it cannot be denied that her character remained the epitome of innocence, purity and devotion as seen in the play. Even in the face of death after meek pleas to have her fate postponed are denied, Irene’s somewhat weak character makes...
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