If Othello Had Been Written in Modern Times How Would It Differ

1273 Words Oct 21st, 2012 6 Pages
Name: Marco Conservo

Candidate number:

May 2013 session

International School of Milan

English A language and literature HL

Task 2: Reader, culture and text

Prescribed question: If the text had been written in a different time or place or language or for a different audience, how and why might it differ?

Specific question: If Othello had been set in a modern era, how would it differ?

Title of text: Othello

Task is related to course section

Pt 4: Literature- Critical Study, The individual, Community and Identity

Task focus: The aim of this essay is to analyse how Shakespeare’s play Othello would differ if it had been set in a politically correct and modern society such as ours.

If Othello had been set in
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However, as the play unfolds, particularly in the last two acts we increasingly note that Emilia is an ambiguous character: she is Iago’s victim but also has a strong opinion about men and women that is now reflected in modern society.
But I do think it is their husbands' faults
If wives do fall: say that they slack their duties,
And pour our treasures into foreign laps,
Or else break out in peevish jealousies,
Throwing restraint upon us; or say they strike us,
Or scant our former having in despite;
Why, we have galls, and though we have some grace,
Yet have we some revenge. Act 4 sc 3 line 16”
This would probably be a feeling shared by Elizabethans but in reverse- they would identify Emilia as a faithful wife initially but would probably be confused and maybe even shocked by her words to Desdemona and equality between men and women when it comes to desire.

In conclusion, we can say that elements of the plot would have undergone marked changes if Othello had been written in modern, politically correct times. Brabantio wouldn’t be making such a drama out of the fact that his daughter has married a black man; Emilia wouldn’t be stealing at the command of her husband and racist terms would not have been used by noblemen and colleagues. If the play had been set in modern times, it wouldn’t be the same play and perhaps it wouldn’t be as exciting and powerful either.

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