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International Journal Of Language, Literature And Culture(IJLLC)

Taming the Alien in Burge-Dexter’s Othello (1965)

Tarik Bouguerba


International Journal of Language, Literature and Culture (IJLLC), Vol-1,Issue-1, July - August 2021, Pages 14-22, 10.22161/ijllc.1.1.4

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The article offers a thorough analysis of Burge-Dexter’s filmed theatre Othello (1965) and traces the process wherein Shakespeare’s grand narrative heightens racial politics in the British context. Such a reading I take up seems to shake and problematise Laurence Olivier’s impersonation of Othello as a black external other who has systematically been excluded along lines where blacks as Europe’s internal others. This article also pins down acts of narration and representation the production offered and explores how Olivier’s apparent anxiety about maintaining his civilized control over a savage character becomes a platform where blacks in Britain are seen as outsiders who had failed to contribute to the nation-building back then. The article eventually questions the social-political relevance this production provoked in view of how Olivier’s Othello reflects how black immigrants were not at ease at a time ‘keep Britain white’ was confirmed.

Shakespeare, Othello, Laurence Olivier, Burge-Dexter, film theatre, nation-building, exclusion, inclusion, blacks.

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