Out with Othello, in with O
by Christie Roberts
The film ‘O’ by Tim Blake Nelson explores values have remained constant throughout both contexts such as the idea of prejudice and racial inequality however today’s society has changed from being very hierarchical and patriarchal to being egalitarian. Many themes such as evil, deception, racism and jealousy are explored in Shakespeare’s Othello and Tim Blake Nelson’s film ‘O’ which is an appropriation of Shakespeare’s Othello which demonstrates the enduring power of the universal themes explored in the original text.
The theme of jealousy is prominent throughout the play as it motivates the characters’ actions. Through soliloquy, characterisation and imagery Shakespeare establishes the theme of Jealousy. Jealousy is a powerful theme explored in Othello that remains of concern in today’s society.
Through Iago and Roderigo who are both motivated by jealousy and Othello who is subject to it, many dimensions of jealousy are explored.
The play uses emotive imagery; it is filled with images of darkness, confusion and uncertainty which helps establish this theme
Jealousy is what appears to destroy Othello. It is the emotion suggested to him by Iago, when he says, “O beware jealousy; / It is the green ey’d monster, which doth mock / that meat it feeds on”.
Iago has noticed Othello’s tendency to insecurity and overreaction, but not even Iago imagined Othello would go as far into jealousy as he did. Jealousy focuses Othello’s mind so tightly on one idea, the idea that Desdemona has betrayed him with Cassio, that no other assurance or explanation can penetrate.
Up to the moment he kills Desdemona, Othello’s growing jealousy maddens him past the recall of reason. Upon seeing that she was innocent and that he killed her unjustly, Othello recovers. He can again see his life in proportion and grieve at the terrible thing he has done. Once again, he speaks with calm rationality, judging and condemning and finally committed...