Relevance of “Othello” Today
“Othello” is a very relevant play today that William Shakespeare wrote during his time. Sometimes, the play is a little too relevant as it presents a plot that is explored a lot in society, media, movies, books, poems, and most importantly, life today. Even though life and aspects of society have changed since Shakespeare wrote Othello, the themes and issues in the play are still relevant today. Some of the main themes in the play include race, manipulation, jealousy, and hatred.
Everyone that makes up mankind and/or the human race has to deal with these aspects one time or another in their lifetime. Therefore, Shakespeare’s “Othello” still appeals to a modern audience.
My paper will address and be a response to Shakespeare’s “Othello”. When discussing the changes between then and now, I will be mindful of two aspects. The first is to imagine that things now are much better than they were during Shakespeare’s time. The second is to imagine that Shakespeare’s time was even worse than it is now.
The goal of my creative project was to explore the day in the life of a Venetian after the death of Othello and Desdemona. So, I came up with a newspaper that took a critical viewing to the events in Othello. Like normal newspapers, The 60 Second Times, included a catchy headline. The headline was killed by jealousy and Venetian general murders new wife. Furthermore, who wouldn’t want to read a newspaper that prides itself as being the newspaper of the year? The newspaper then goes on to include aspects that make up a popular newspaper. These aspects include an obituary, the fine print, and interesting pictures. The obituary explains the death of Othello and Desdemona and also lets other Venetians know about the causes to their deaths. The fine print”(which is in quotes) is an important part of this newspaper, it is always either too fine to read or irrelevant in newspapers today. But in this case, the fine print was clear and relevant. It said, this newspaper is not responsible for any deaths. In order to properly word and depict the main themes in the newspaper from Othello, I was very critical in selecting images for the newspaper. Robison (2011) developed the idea that “as the play concludes, the audience is left debating their attitudes toward marriage, honesty, jealousy, and justice. So, I strived to have the audience of this newspaper do the same. I only wanted to include the main aspects of the play because most of the time when I read newspapers, they fail to catch my attention. So, in writing The 60 Second Times, I wanted to modernize it. To the point where, it wasn’t too wordy, and anyone would want and be able to read it and understand it.
Throughout the semester, I have worked with Shakespeare’s Othello. I feel very familiarized with the critical stance of the play, the playwright, and the historical period at which it was written. To explore this, I researched different adaptations of Othello (see figure 3). One adaptation I really enjoyed was the version of Othello called O (2001). This film is an adaptation of William Shakespeare’s Othello. The setting is moved to a Southern boarding school instead of Venice. It involves a basketball team. O (Othello), is the star basketball player at this elite boarding school. Iago is Hugo Goulding (also a player on the team); his father is the head coach and loves O like a son. Desdemona is the character Desi, the Dean’s daughter, who hides her relationship with O for a possible number of reasons. Hugo (Iago) is envious of the attention O receives from everyone. Therefore, the plot in this film compares to Shakespeare’s original playwright in Othello with a little modern twist. Shakespeare’s ability to develop different characterizations throughout his plays is genius. Robison (2011) believed that any person’s narrative might turn tragic. Yet perhaps if there is hope it is to be found in history.” Shakespeare’s narratives not only add word count to his work, but it helps to display different themes and aspects of his plays.
William Shakespeare wrote many different types of plays: tragedies, comedies, poems, and histories. His plays undeniably influence the audience in which they were written for. They make you want to convey thoughts and emotions, to make you feel. Therefore, Shakespeare’s literary work still remains influential today.
- Othello. Shakespeare Quarterly, vol. 48, no. 5, 1997, pp. 713-721.
- Pryse, Marjorie. Lust for Audience: An Interpretation of Othello. ELH, vol. 43, no. 4, 1976, pp. 461-478.
- Butcher, Philip. Othello’s Racial Identity. Shakespeare Quarterly, vol. 3, no. 3, 1952, pp. 243-247.
- Robison, Monica Beckner. The Power of Words: Othello as Storyteller. Storytelling, Self, Society, vol. 7, no. 1, 2011, pp. 63-71.
- O. Directed by Tim Blake Nelson and featuring Mekhi Phifer, Josh Hartnett, and Julia Stiles. Released August 31, 2001.
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