Conflict is explored and created in many different ways throughout Shakespeare’s play Othello and Gurinder Chada’s film Bend it like Beckham. Both main characters Jess Bhamra and Othello experience internal and external conflict. They both have to make choices which affect themselves and people around them. Deception and cultural conflict play a major role during both texts. A range of both literary techniques such as irony used by Shakespeare and film techniques such as high and low angle shots during Bend it like Beckham help to create conflict.
Whilst the inner conflict during Othello deals with Othello questioning whether to believe Iago about his faithful wife’s “infidelity”, during the movie Bend it like Beckham, Jess undergoes internal conflict about whether to follow her dreams of becoming a football star or to pursue her families tradition and become a proper Indian woman who can cook and will marry a ‘nice’ Indian boy. A key scene which portrays this inner conflict about soccer versus family is during the scene when Jess gets her results. The scene starts off with a high angle shot of Baba G looking down onto Jessminda. This film technique emphasises the importance of culture, the authority of Baba G both as patriarch and Jess as both female and daughter. It makes Jess look small, insignificant and powerless as if she doesn’t have the strength to pursue her dream. In the next frame most of the screen is taken up by Mr and Mrs Bhamra whilst only a small portion of the frame is taken up by Jess. This film technique shows the viewers the dominance of family and culture over Jess. The music “dream the dream” is played, this symbolises that Jess is only going to ever dream about her ambition of being a soccer player. The music is played whilst Jess is learning how to cook and become a proper Indian lady. The music helps the viewer to empathise with Jess. The variety of different film techniques help to create conflict during the movie.
Throughout Shakespeare’s play, Othello endures inner conflict as well. Iago has manipulated Othello and planted the seeds of doubt about his wife Desdemona’s faithfulness into his mind. Cultural divide also plays a role here as Iago’s takes advantage of Othello not being entirely confident about his wife and emphasising the differences between them. Othello doesn’t know whether to believe his wife or Iago, he wants ocular proof. When “honest, honest Iago” provides Othello with the ocular proof of the handkerchief, Othello has become sure of his wife’s infidelity. At the beginning of the play Othello says “My life upon her faith”. This quote has the literary techniques of foreshadowing and is quite ironic. The irony in this quote is that Othello doesn’t take much convincing to turn away from this belief about Desdemona and her faithfulness and ultimately takes away not only her life but his own as well.
This quote also shows his great devotion and trust to his wife early on in the play which is greatly contrasted to later on in the play when Othello says “Ay let her rot and perish, and be damned tonight, for she shall not live”. This shows that Othello has lost all the previous trust and love for Desdemona. Conflict is further built in this quote by the use of high modality words and grave imagery, this helps the responder to sympathise more for poor Desdemona. It also helps to emphasise the hate that Othello now has for his wife and how Iago has succeeded in manipulating the Moor. Through Shakespeare’s effective use of literary techniques such as high modality words, conflict is effectively being created and heightened throughout the play.
Deception is another main theme that creates conflict during both texts. During the film Bend it like Beckham, Jessminda deceives her parents by going to play soccer against Mrs Bhamra’s wishes. During this scene, Mrs Bhamra has caught Jessminda playing soccer in the park with the boys. Not only is conflict created through the deception of her parents, but also with cultural conflict because she is running around with boys. The scene begins with an establishing shot of Mrs Bhamra spying in the bushes, this establishes the conflict that is about to arise. We then have a close up shot of Jess’s face when she realises her mother is there. This shot helps the responder to empathise with Jessminda. We then go to Mr and Mrs Bhamra’s house, where we have a low angle shot of Baba G showing authority of culture over Jess. We also have a high angle shot of Mrs Bhamra looking down onto Jess, showing she has dominance over her and making Jessminda look small and helpless. Mrs Bhamra is almost always placed in the same scene as Baba G.
This shows the viewer that culture plays a big role in her life. The effect of this is that it shows the importance of culture and adds to the conflict. Mr and Mrs Bhamra are usually shot in the same frame whilst Jess is shot alone. This places the like-minded people together and makes Jess look isolated and feeble. It illustrates for us that family and culture will always rule over Jess’s dreams. When Mr Bhamra is speaking it is usually though eye level, showing how he can relate better to Jess than Mrs Bhamra can. Conflict is created by the family beliefs and expectations and how Jess deceives her parents to pursue something she aspires to. By using the film technique of shooting Mrs Bhamra and Jess in different frame because of their conflicting views, this also heightens the conflict during the film.
During the play Othello, deception is the main reason for creating conflict, along with revenge and vengeance. Iago deceives Othello by convincing him of his wife’s infidelity. Iago’s motive for manipulating Othello was because he promoted Cassio and he believed that Othello slept with his wife Emilia. “O beware my lord of jealousy: It is the green eyes monster which doth mock the meat it feeds on”. When Iago says this, it is very ironic as he is the one who created the jealousy in the first place. The metaphorical language and descriptive language in this quote adds to the conflict and helps create a picture to the responders. Through the deception of many people by Iago, conflict is furthermore created.
The conflict in the play Othello is constantly experienced as Iago plays on the minds of all the characters and seeks to manipulate them in order to seek his revenge. He is the reason for the conflict amongst them as the rage and resentment he feels festers below the surface. His murdering of Roderigo is but one facet of the conflict. His effective psychological domination over Othello and others drives the conflict in the play.
In Conclusion, it is evident that conflict is explored and created in many different ways throughout Shakespeare’s play Othello and Gurinder Chada’s film Bend it like Beckham. Through the use of various literary and film techniques, this conflict is added to in further depth. Inner conflict, deception and cultural conflict, explored in both texts are the main foundation of the conflict.