Shakespeare Movie vs Play

Shakespeare’s Othello: Movie (Oliver parker 1995) Vs. Play Oliver parker’s Othello came out in 1995 with Laurence Fishburne as Othello this is also the first time Othello was played by a coloured actor, Kenneth Branagh as Iago and Irene Jacob as Desdemona. Parker kept the original plot and language intact, however the movie seemed to give Othello life through visual and audio aids. Parker’s Othello enables the viewer to associate on a personal level and compliments to the anticipation and imagination of those who have read the play before watching the movie.

The audio although normally overpowered by the visual aspect played a key role in defining and empowering the movie. The music was fast and uplifting during celebration and on the eve of Othello’s victory against the turks however the music changed to slow and haunting during Iago’s monologues, Othello’s lascivious and crazed thought of Cassio and Desdemona and scenes involving death. Audio plays key role in foreshadowing and indication, whenever Iago speaks of his plans the music starts of in piano or mezzo piano and slowly crescendos as is heard when Iago repeats “i hate the moor,” the music becomes increasingly passionate and strong.

Iago’s pronunciation and stress of each his words during his soliloquies were indicators of coming events. Iago’s words were soft and soothing when he was “pouring pestilence” and they became loud and strong when a key scene would be approaching. Iago’s soft speech was a way of showing his sincerity to Othello but also as a way of safe guarding his real intentions, this is can be seen when Iago first reveals to Othello that Desdemona is being unfaithful. The most captivating usage of music in the movie was the song Desdemona sings in the bath to Emilia “Willow, Willow,” on the night of her death.

The song foreshadows the death of the person of sings it. It predicted the death of Desdemona’s mother’s maid and it does the same for her and Emilia. The visual aid in the movie played a large role in aiding the viewers imagination and also filling in blanks that the play could not. Some of the best visuals in Parker’s movie adaptation of Othello were not in the script, the black and white chess pieces, water, wedding, sea burial, the dagger, and the glimpses of Cassio and Desdemona together.

The chess pieces seem to symbolise Iago’s plan to destroy Othello and Desdemona and also the sea burial later in the movie. Oliver used a lot of fire and water images throughout the movie, water seemed to represent ill fate, water foreshadows death or something bad. Desdemona was in the bath the night she was killed and Othello even washed is hands and face before he killed Desdemona. The fire and light in Oliver’s movie seemed to represent safety and warmth, When Othello is about to kill Desdemona he blows out the candle. The candle represents Desdemona and how her time to live is coming to an end.

Oliver plays with light through the background, Scenes which involve Desdemona are bright and lit up until her death and scenes which involve Iago are dark and lack brightness. Othello’s clothes were indicators to his own personal change in the beginning he would wear white and clothes different to the others but towards the end the clothes he was wearing were black. These colours reflect the moor’s mood at different times of the play. The movie however had some weak points that pulled it away from shakespeare’s original intent with the script. There was a lot more emphasis on sexuality in the movie than Shakespeare’s play intended.

There is also questions about Iago’s sexuality and true intents in one fleeting moment in Parker’s Othello; Iago breaks down crying when him and Othello make a blood pact. Iago’s breakdown comes as a surprise and throws the viewer off guard to much towards the end distorting Iago’s reasoning for plotting against the Moor. Overall Parker did a good job with the movie he managed to maintain location and time period of Shakespeare’s original, it allows us to get a clearer more defined picture of Othello. The dialogue and settings are kept as authentic as possible.

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