Othello & O Comparative Essay

The Shakespearean tragedy “Othello” and its modern adaptation “O” directed by Tim Nelson are both stories about a great man who suffers under the influence of external evil. Universal themes including jealousy, racism and appearance and reality are portrayed in both contexts. Although both texts are set centuries apart, many of the same themes are apparent in Othello and O. The themes however were conveyed differently by each composer. Shakespeare used literary devices including imagery and soliloquies to present the themes to Elizabethan audience whereas Nelson uses a variety of film techniques to present the themes to a 21st century adolescent audience.
Jealousy is a universal issue which both Shakespeare in Othello and Nelson in O explore in order to convey the message that anybody has the potential to show characteristics of jealousy through their actions. By exploring this issue, the audience will value honesty and realise that without honesty, our lives can be placed into potentially dangerous situations.
Jealousy drives Iago to plot against Othello in Shakespeare’s play, Othello. Shakespeare metaphorically depicts jealousy as “the green- eyed monster which doth mock the meat they feed on.” ,thus Iago is introduced as manipulative and the catalysts of Othello’s downfall. Iago’s jealousy is the result of Othello promoting Cassio, this event drives Iago into formulating a plan which causes both Othello and Cassio to suffer. Iago is also jealous of Othello’s high status in society even though Othello is a “Moor”. “I follow him to serve my turn against him” and “Though I do hate him as I do hell’s pain ... that I put the moor in to jealousy so strong.” are quotes which all reflect the jealousy characterised through Iago. Using jealousy as his motivation, Iago continues to plot against Othello, manipulating Othello from a once noble man into a man poisoned by jealousy. "Lie with her? Lie on her?... Handkerchief! - Oh, devil!” shows Othello’s change in...