Continuation of Values Throughout "Othello" and "O" 11th Grade

Context and textual form construct ideas that remain perpetual throughout all societies, yet the values behind these ideas differ in nature. Shakespeare’s play, the tragedy Othello, and its contemporary counterpart, Tim Blake Nelson’s film “O”, expresses themes of power and jealousy that remain consistent in both texts, but the justification and motive of these acts vary in a modern context.

Racism is used a form of power in Othello. Consisting of status and respect, Iago’s desire for power is disclosed when he says “I follow him to serve my turn upon”, implying that he is only obeying his commander and ‘friend’ Othello in his self-serving ambition for authority. Iago’s anger is directed at Othello and Cassio, who was promoted to lieutenant instead of him. Believing Cassio to be inexperienced, Iago plots against him and Othello. Iago’s hatred of Othello also compelled by racism, highlighted through the repetition of “the Moor” and other racial slurs like “sooty bosom” and “thick-lips” in reference to Othello, the animal motif “Barbary horse”, “neigh to you”,”jennets for germans” and “coursers for cousins”, claiming that Desdemona and Othello’s children will be barbaric and beastly. Utilizing the concept of fear of the unknown...

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