Appearance verses reality is a philosophical question. We all know that what we perceive may not always be reality. Good Morning Yr 11 Students, I understand that you have been closely studying Othello, both Shakespeare and Davies’ version. In your studies, you would have discovered many links between the two, through evident themes and values, displayed by many different characters.
A theme I have discovered and would like to present to you today, is that of appearance verses reality and how it is altered due to the changing contexts of Shakespearean original Othello and Davies’ screenplay Othello. This is evident through the use of the protagonist, Desman, in the way she carries and portrays herself. Within Shakespearean play, Othello, the theme of appearance verses reality, proves to us, through Desman, that what appears may not always be. This is due to Othello outlook on his wife.
The character of Desman is seen to be quite the role model of a woman, in the 17th century England. Women in that day and age were seen to obey the most dominant male in their lives, if they were married, it be their husbands, if they were not, it be their fathers. If a woman were to disobey her husband and/or be dishonest with him, it would seem out of character, as they were seen to be innocent, and naive. In that case, women sleeping with anyone other than her husband was morally wrong, and not expected.
In Adhesion’s case, she appeared to be innocent and naive when she is asked ‘Are you not a strumpet? And replies with ‘No, as I am a Christian’. She is also shown as not knowing what Othello had been accusing her of, and had remained true to her husband, therefore she is wronged and is what she appears to be. Whereas in Davies’ screenplay version having being set three centuries later, a lot was different in the way the theme was portrayed.
Women in the 20th century London, had more equal rights than woman previously did, so it was common for them to have their own freedom. Due to this new found equality, it meant it was not a surprise if they slept around. Therefore Desman seems less innocent in this version, as it was a more common thing, to sleep around. Desman is portrayed as secretive, giving the signs she may have done wrong and is not what she appears to be. The fact that she has interest in Cassia in this version, also plants a seed of doubt in our minds about who she might be.
Ago is also very persuasive in what he says to Othello about Desman sleeping around in her younger years, painting her out to be different to what we initially think. The context of this film does not suggest it is uncommon for people to sleep around, leading us and Othello to believe that Deities is dishonest. In this version, Deities being shown as secretive, is portrayed through a close up shot of Deities, revealing her mischievous facial expression, when Othello suggests the idea of Deities sleeping tit Cassia, she immediately pushes it away and attempts to distract him through flirting.
In comparison to Shakespearean play, Deities is not seen to be as pure and innocent and thus in this screenplay version we, as an audience, are unsure of whether Deities is what she seems. From both these versions of Othello, we draw the conclusion that the theme of appearance verses reality, has been changed to manipulate the audience’s perception of certain characters. I have presented this to you today, through the character Desman. We now see that what appears to be, may or may not be in reality.