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Compare and contrast a feature film and an original theatre performance, concentrating on the character of Desdemona.

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Nasreen Bi Compare and contrast a feature film and an original theatre performance, concentrating on the character of Desdemona. From the time of the earliest written historical records, male dominance was paramount. Shakespeare himself casted male actors to play female roles because women at the time were not allowed on stage. However, his perception of women did not conform to that of society. In his sonnets, for example, he perceived women to be crucial to his existence and to hold great significance in life. In the play Othello we are clearly shown the difference between good and evil. Desdemona and Othello represent good and they are shown to have human sensibilities and this is evident in the two productions of the play one which is a RSC production and the other is the Oliver Parker version. Iago the villain of the play is shown to be evil and this is represented in the two productions mainly through his voice projection and his facial expressions. The play centralizes the downfall of the protagonist, Othello. In Shakespeare's times men would have played the roles of women and as a result audiences may not have taken their roles seriously. We are introduced to the character of Desdemona in Act 1 Scene 3 beginning with her father, Brabantio views of her.. The scene itself begins with excitement of the news of the events in Cyprus and then we get Brabantio entering with his anger. ...read more.


We can see the difference in the way Desdemona is dressed in both productions. In the RSC production she is wearing dull coloured clothing covering her from top to bottom. This is done to show us the audience that Desdemona does not try to look beautiful as she just is. In the Oliver Parker film, Desdemona costume is plain yet colorful, which enhances her beauty. This again is done to attract the modern audience and to represent her beauty through what a modern audience would expect. Both productions represent the character of Desdemona through her appearance as being very innocent, which initially suggests that Brabantio is right. However, we discover that although she is beautiful she is also has intellect and confidence about her, which gives us as an audience a deeper insight into her character revealed in both productions through her affirmative voice. Shakespeare represents Desdemona as being confident. We can see this by the speech she makes to her father in front of her father, her husband, the Duke and all the senators when she declares her love for Othello. This is not what we initially expect to see from Desdemona. She begins her speech by initially complimenting her father as being a good father, "My life and education both do learn me how to respect you" And she goes on further to say, "Your love and education both do learn me how to respect you " She compliments her father and demonstrates whole-heartedly her love for him, although she has defied him by marrying Othello. ...read more.


It adds to dramatic effect of film of the moving images. Whereas a theatre performance the movement of actors is restricted to the space available and is not the in same capacity as film. Both productions had the dramatic effect as they achieved the seriousness of this scene to the audience, through the role of Desdemona and her speech in Act 1 Scene 3. By placing Desdemona in the center of the room and her body language, costume, her tone of voice, her actions all adds to the dramatic effect desired which was that there was a woman who wants to be liberated. In conclusion we can see that there are contrasts and similarities between the two productions of the play Othello, and their presentation of Desdemona in Act 1 Scene 3. The two productions demonstrate on different levels the character of Desdemona and both I feel are effective in defining her role. The scene in relation to the whole play is significant in terms of dramatic irony and effect as it sets up the wheels of evil to work its hands on the good. However, to a modern audience the play I feel seems quite tedious in its attempt to suggest that one man can manipulate the good characteristics so easily of so many others. Despite this the play does highlight the depressing divisions in society that have been passed down and exist within modern society based on race and caste. 1 ...read more.

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