Essay by lisalaw139High School, 11th gradeA+, May 2004

download word file, 8 pages 4.5

Downloaded 85 times

Othello has been continuously adapted and reinterpreted in response to various contextual influences which dominate the different eras in which it has been read. The original dominant reading was based on the Judeo-Christian context of the Elizabethan times and reflected in Shakespeare use of the Aristotelian tragic conventions. The downfall of the protagonist was linked to his fatal flaw or hamartia and to forces that lay outside his control. The tragic hero presented in Oliver Parker's film is a man of noble stature whose enormous potential is wasted because of this flaw. Apart from the traditional reading, more contemporary interpretations of Othello include the post colonial reading which attributes the downfall of the tragic hero to the insecurities experienced by a black man in a white Venetian society. His alienation and isolation are easily exploited by a ruthless villain. This reading relies on the stereotyping of blacks that was prevalent in white societies.

Another interpretation of Othello is the feminist perspective which explores the position of women in patriarchal societies. This reading which can be supported by the Oliver Parker's production and sees Shakespeare as an enlightened playwright whose representations of women as morally strong and independent characters challenges the usual patriarchal stereotypes. These various interpretations and representations of the play provide evidence of its continuing ability to speak and be appreciated by different audiences.

Oliver Parker's Othello presents the dominant reading of the play by positioning a sympathetic view of Othello and implying that the tragic downfall of Othello results from the fatal flaw exacerbated by a malignant villain whose knowledge of human frailties allows him to entrap the "credulous fool." Parker attempts to interpret Othello's downfall by exploring the concepts of good and evil.

Othello's high nobility and dignity in the Venetian society is established...