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The narrative limitations of pure pictures stems from their inability to make

propositions. As Sol Worth has argued, visual media lack the code, the
grammar, and the syntactic rules necessary to articulate specific meanings
(Ryan 10)

There are certain types of statements that seem totally beyond their reach
(Ryan 10)

Being limited to the visible, they are unable to express abstract ideas, such
as causality (Ryan 11)

Reading images is a matter of training just like in the case of studying a


foreign language, the grammar and syntax of images has to be learned
and practiced in order to decode their meaning

If we define narrative in cognitive terms, it is not a linguistic object but a


mental image

While it may be true that only language can express the causal relations
that hold a narrative together, this does not mean that a text needs to
represent these relations explicitly to be interpreted as a narrative

What matters [] is the spectators ability to infer from the text

The human mind seeks patterns such as cause and effect

The patterns we uncover are, to a certain extent, culturally conditioned

From his experiments, Bartlett concluded that people tend to rationalize


material that they are remembering. In other words, they try to make it
easier to understand the material, and modify it into something they feel
more comfortable with. (Foster 17)

The scene in which Brabantio accuses Othello of bewitching his daughter


establishes the storyworld

Existents

Setting

Social rules and values

Events

Mental Events

The Principle of Minimal Departure

When a text mentions an object that exists in reality, all the realworld properties of this object can be imported into the storyworld
unless explicitly contradicted by the text (Ryan 35)

In the case of an adaption, the source material can become an object


within the storyworld of the adaptation e.g. in Harlem Duet the 1928
incarnation of Othello quotes several lines of Shakespeare

O is not just an adaptation of Shakespeare

It engages not just the text of Othello but also the aura of significance
surrounding the original text the storyworld is extended such that it
includes the source material as well

The movie begins and ends with Ave Maria from Verdis Otello

The story is framed by Hugo (Iago) (he narrates both the first and the final
scene)

Iago is given a clear motivation

The audience empathizes with him

All my life I always wanted to fly. I always wanted to live like a hawk. I
know you're not supposed to be jealous of anything, but... to take flight, to
soar above everything and everyone, now that's living (first lines)

All my life I always wanted to fly. I always wanted to live like a hawk. I
know you're not supposed to be jealous of anything, but... to take flight, to
soar above everything and everyone, now that's living. But a hawk is no
good around normal birds. It can't fit in. Even though all the other birds
probably wanna be hawks; they hate him for what they can't be. Proud.
Powerful. Determined. Dark. Odin is a hawk. He soars above us. He can fly.
One of these days, everyone's gonna pay attention to me. Because I'm
gonna fly too (last lines)

Odin (Othello) is by no means innocent he has violent tendencies, he is


aggressive and impulsive

Racial issues are almost never addressed explicitly, however, it is always


present implicitly

The story is set in the South

Othello is African-American (and he is the only African-American in


the movie)

Arguably an effect of the MD principle

My life is over, that's it. But while all ya'll are out here livin' yours, sitting around
talking about the nigger who lost it back in high school, you make sure you tell
them the truth. You tell them I loved that girl! I did! But I got played!
[Points to Hugo]

He twisted my head up. He fucked it up. I ain't no different than none of ya'll. My
mom ain't no crack head. I wasn't no gang banger. It wasn't some hood rat drug
dealer that tripped me up. It was this white, prep school motherfucker standing
right there! You tell them where I'm from... didn't make me do this.
[Shoots himself in the chest, collapses]

When O demands that Hugo tell him why he deceived him

I did what I did, and that's all you need to know. From here on out I say
nothing

O reframes Shakespeares Othello into a contemporary story of betrayal


and intrigue

Though the movie maintains a certain kind of dialogue with the original
text, the relation between these two texts is not the issue at hand

The movie attempts to reframe the contemporary issue of race and racism
from a broader cultural and historical perspective

The most significant borrowing from the Shakesperean text is the cultural
significance attached to it, rather than the plot itself