Comparative Study of Texts: Othello

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Othello: Practice Essay A Comparative Study of Texts: PRACTICE ESSAY How has your understanding of the impact of context on the transformation of values been illuminated by the study of Shakespeare’s Othello and Davies’ film version? Around 1601, Shakespeare wrote Othello. 400 years later, Davies appropriates him. Whilst it seems unoriginal at first, Davies’ rendition has changed entirely the context of Shakespeare’s original, to a modern one. And what better way to apply a modern context than a clichéd urban crime thriller. Attached to context are its values, or what is considered to be important in a society. Without any doubt, these contextual values have transformed greatly over time. And when comparing these two works, it is evident that different underlying ideas and messages about the values are emphasised by the composers. Although numerous themes and specific techniques are used to do so, context and medium have a crucial role to play. By definition, context is the circumstances in which a text is created or set and medium is the method used to present the text. To begin with, we must look at the context of each text and examine its intricate values. The two texts have very different contexts. But what is more significant is the effect that context has. For example, Davies uses context to accentuate a number of issues and values present in his contemporary context, which is of course not unlike the circumstances today. Perhaps the most noticeable is the value of respect. Respect has transformed a great deal over the past 400 years and both the play and the film use the theme of racism to explore this value. In Elizabethan society, there was a great lack of respect for non-European members of society, like Othello. In the play, it is obvious that there are many racist comments made about Othello in front of his face. Of course, this blatant
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