The ideas of identity are explored in Othello. Both William Shakespeare's original play and the cinematic adaptation by Oliver Parker explore ideas of otherness and the patriarchy. William Shakespeare represents multiple ideas in his play Othello. Oliver Parker further resonates Shakespeare's ideas, using different cinematic techniques. Patriarchy has always been associated with a rigid concept of manipulation and control. Both William Shakespeare and Oliver Parker show how that idea, when entwined with fears and misunderstandings of otherness can lead to catastrophic incidents.
The opening act of Othello establishes that Othello takes an important position in Venice that gives him high status and the privileges that come from it. However, it is also apparent that even though Othello has these privileges, he continues to be perceived as 'other'. The people of Venice, especially Iago and Brabantio, refer to Othello as a Moor: "I am one, sir, that comes to tell you your daughter and the Moor/ are now making the beast with two backs" their references to Othello as "a moor" are said with a derogatory tone. Their intention is to emphasize Othello's otherness and infer that he doesn't truly belong. Brabantio and Iago use disdainful language to reduce Othello's status, Iago, in particular, uses animal imagery to convey a sense of Othello as less than human. Iago's xenophobia towards Othello is a persistent reminder to the audience that Othello is an outsider who has gained his status through his success as a general. His authority does not give him the justification of being perceived as normal. .
Othello's otherness makes him highly insecure and he is heavily manipulated by Iago, whose plotting and scheming creates the central conflict, which arises from his Machievellian actions. Iago uses Othello's otherness to his advantage and gains Othello's trust as a respectable ancient.