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A Comparison/Contrast of Book and DVD Version of William Shakespeare’s Othello Essay

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William Shakespeare is a known playwright and poet. He was born on April 1564 in Stratford-upon-Avon. He is a son of a thriving Glover and his mother is a gentry’s daughter. He is regarded as the greatest dramatist and writer of the English language. Although he is long been dead, his works are largely used and regarded by many artists that occurred after him. Through centuries his works were not forgotten and his greatness was never undermined. It was believed by the conventional scholars that in between 1586 and 1612 that Shakespeare’s works have been created. He is one of those few artists who did a very well job in both comedy and tragedy. His plays and/or his works are characterized by complex characterization, poetic magnificence combined with a philosophical depth.Through the centuries and decades, like what I have mentioned earlier, Shakespeare’s works have lived, as a matter fact most of them were translated into various languages of different countries. He is also considered as the most quoted writer although there are people who have speculated a lot of things about Shakespeare like his sexual preference, religious membership, even the authorship of some works that were attributed as his. When he moved to London, he became a writer there at the same time he is a co-owner of a playing company named Lord Chamberlain’s Men. That name was taken from their aristocratic sponsor, and its popularity gave way to its adoption by James I. After his death, his remains were buried in the chancel of the Holy Trinity Church and there is a monument that was built for him. In his tomb, you will see his epitaph,“Good friend, for Jesus’ sake forbear,To dig the dust enclosed here.Blest be the man that spares these stones,And cursed be he that moves my bones.”[1]On the other hand, one of the renowned actress and director in South Africa is Janet Suzman. He was born on February 1939 in Johannesburg. Her first ever show is Billy Liar held at the Tower Theatre where she played the character of Liz. In 1963 she became a member of the Royal Shakespeare Company where she was a given a chance to play different characters in various Shakespeare’s works. Her stage appearances were influenced mainly by Shakespeare and other classicists. During the sixty’s and early seventy’s she appeared in numerous British television drama. She has directed Shakespeare’s Othello in his native land – South Africa and this was held in Market Theatre, Johannesburg. She is also known for her authorship of the book entitled, “Acting with Shakespeare: Three Comedies”.  This is based on a sequence of acting master classes.From the facts of William Shakespeare and Janet Suzman stated above it can be seen that the latter got her influences from Shakespeare himself. Her works are mainly connected with the works done by Shakespeare in his time. There is no point that the two artists be compared because they both have distinct and separate existence. Shakespeare will always be Shakespeare, same goes to Suzman. The two artists have different descent, Shakespeare is known in Europe while Suzman is known in South Africa. Another factor is that Suzman regard Shakespeare as an idol and she was inspired by Shakespeare’s works. She has directed Othello because her works are inclined with the works of Shakespeare. Not to mention that the main character of the story has personal touch to her because Othello, like Suzman came from Africa. It can also be noticed that Shakespeare has created different woks that are being used until today; he became the major contributor to the works of the great contemporary artists.Othello is considered as one of the four great tragedies created by Shakespeare. The other three are Hamlet, King Lear, and MacBeth. Othello is also considered by the critics as the support of the zenith of dramatic art made by Shakespeare. What separates Othello from other tragic works of Shakespeare is the character of Iago. He has his own diabolical role that exudes in the story. He is also the main writer of the primary plot and gives way to the other characters such as and most importantly to Othello, the dignified Moor. The central themes of the play are the art of seeing and the break between appearance and reality. It also shed light to patriarchy and political state.The full title of the play is, “The Tragedy of Othello, The Moor of Venice”, its genre is tragedy and it was written using English language. It was written in England sometime in between 1601 and 1604 but it was first published in 1622 and its publisher is named Thomas Walkley. The protagonist is Othello. The major conflict is brought about by Iago who is very envious of Othello. He (Iago), made Othello believe that his wife Desdemona is unfaithful to him. The rising action is when the schemes of Iago came out. He then insistently tells Othello that his wife is having an affair with Cassio. The climax is when Othello professed to Iago that he would seek a bloody revenge. The falling action is when Othello found out that Iago is lying to him all along, that he is just making up the story.The book version of William Shakespeare’s Othello, he has built a powerful drama involving marriage. It started when Othello and Desdemona eloped. Theirs is a fascination with intense devotion. But it all ended up in a tragedy – in unsupported jealousy and violent deaths. Othello before stabbing himself cried out loud and said,“I kiss’d thee ere I kill’d thee.No way but this/Killing myself,To die upon a kiss.”[2]The story happened somewhere in the Mediterranean to Venice then moved to Cyprus which highlighted the lead character’s African past. There are a lot of differences in the story, like the issue of race, age, and cultural roots. With these factors it is not surprising that the marriage has ended badly. But this does not mean that everything is just about the tragic part because it in the story Othello and Desdemona have showed great love for each other. Love that can conquer everything, but the great love they have for each other was destroyed because of the envy of other people specifically, Iago. With his bested interest and greed for power, and his needs to overthrow Othello he destroyed the former by destroying the love he has for his wife. Iago manipulated everyone; he made Othello believe into his dirty schemes while Desdemona have suffered because of that. Othello have said,“Now, by yond marble, heaven,In due reverence of a sacred vow,I here enrage my words.”[3]But it can be seen how the lead character still trustful and generous though he have experienced cruelty of life. What have happened in the story can be related to our present time. As we all know, today, we are all sensitive of the issues concerning race, class, and gender. These issues are very big deal that many concerned groups are doing their best to eliminate the distinction. Everyone is trying their best to produce a world that there is peace and people do not vary much. In the story, Othello and Desdemona have different race because he is black, she is white. Their intermarriage is the main sentiment of Iago that manifested in the whole story. As for class, it can be seen in the character of Iago, he is inferior thus he makes other people’s life miserable. As for gender, it is noticeable that in the story the characters of Desdemona, Bianca, and Emilia remind the people and/or the audience that long time ago, every society is dominated by men. A society is run by men, the power is in their hands thus making women total powerless and can do nothing but to follow the men who rule over them.Scholars believe that Othello was written by Shakespeare in 1603. This was performed at court and its ever initial publication was in 1622. There was a Folio in 1623 where there is an included more full text of the story. In writing the story, Shakespeare got his inspiration from different renowned works of different notable artists.Janet Suzman’s version of Othello is a protest play that will tackle the issue of Apartheid in Africa. The context of the film is very important that it needs to have very strong details. There was no intention of filming the play because it was not feasible then. But after lifting the Immorality Act which bars the intermarriage the plans came to life. But it was still considered as an ambitious project because it will be the first time for Suzman to direct a movie. Othello under Suzman’s direction was the first one to feature a really black Othello. The performance was done with a mixed audience. After having the first kissed done by the couple in the film, some audience have walked out, the company even received numerous hate mails. The movie was starred by John Kani, Richard Haines, and Joanna Weinberg who plays Othello, Iago, and Desdemona respectively. Janet Suzman also shared what had Kani comment when he was doing the film, he, Kani said that he understands the agony Othello feels in the story but he can not perform and/or do the love because he have the impression that whites should be hated. He has also having a hard time in speaking English thus making the right pronunciation difficult.The film brings Suzman’s message. Her dreams and hopes for South Africa entangled in what happened to Othello. Her vision for South Africa is like the vision of Shakespeare to Venice. That there should be peace, understanding, and tolerance and during that time, the outcome and the repercussions of the movie are not yet determined. But today, the world has changed and the issue of apartheid has resolved. The story of Othello will remain and it will serve as model for each of us that everything is possible thus we should be careful with our every decision. We will never know who is the one that will stand by us or the one who will break us.The book and the DVD version are one and the same. It’s just that Shakespeare and Suzman have different places as to where they will relate the story. They both have the same approach. It’s like true to life because it tackles issue that is really happening and does not only happen in movies.

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A Comparison/Contrast of Book and DVD Version of William Shakespeare’s Othello. (2019, Jun 20). Retrieved from https://paperap.com/paper-on-essay-a-comparison-contrast-of-book-and-dvd-version-of-william-shakespeares-othello-2/

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