Article Title

Race and Othello on Film


In her article "Race and Othello on Film," Laura Reitz-Wilson discusses Shakespeare's treatment of race in Othello and compares it to what Hollywood as a producer of culture has done. Reitz-Wilson looks at nine different film versions and analyzes their approaches to Othello's race and character. She parses the historical and textual evidence for racism in Shakespeare's and concludes that it exists and should not be overlooked. Othello's otherness is, in fact, directly connected to his blackness, but Hollywood has rarely captured the tenuous line Shakespeare creates between barbarian and civilized Venetian. Her analysis of the film versions of Othello concentrates the cinematic and directorial tricks that directors have used to avoid the issue of race and concludes with a discussion of how Tim Blake Nelson's O presents the issue of a race in a way that is pedagogically useful.