The contexts of the two texts; Othello by William Shakespeare and O by Tim Blake Nelson must be understood to be able to successfully compare the universal themes and human experiences of the texts. The context of Othello is a Jacobean era where the social hierarchy was determined by class and race compared to the 1990s American South Carolina, a state known for its past slavery, high school of O. When we understand these contexts and how they affect the human experiences we can fully compare these texts and how language and film techniques are used to help convey these human experiences.
In both texts, racism plays a significant role in how both Othello and Odin were viewed. In the Jacobean era of Othello, racism was a more common theme of the society and even played a significant role in determining an individual's status and class. This context is significantly different from the racism evident in the 1990s America context of O. Although there is less acceptance of racism in this context, through the means of expectations and stereotypes held on individuals of certain races, racism played a large role in the life of Odin. One of the most successful techniques to emphasis this theme of racism and how it was affected by the context of the texts is the use of animal symbolism. In Othello, Othello is referred to as a "black ramtupping your white ewe". This language technique heavily emphasises the bestiality view that many Venetians held on 'Moors' at the time. They believed that Moors were dangerous and as evident in the quote, often compared them to beasts to humiliate and isolate them from the Venetian community, causing a sense of isolation for Othello. This use of animal symbolism is further explored in Tim Blake Nelsons O where, evident by accompanying close ups, Odin is referred to a black hawk, and the white society of the school is referred to white doves.