Zahra Nazemi

Panel 6D: Adaptation and/as Transcodification/3
Session 6 – July 3, 15:30 – 17:30

Revitalization of Othello in the Iranian Shahrzad Series

After hundreds of years since the death of William Shakespeare, his plays are still being read, taught, translated, performed and adapted into different modes of media across the world. In the present study, the aim is to study Othello as revitalized in the Iranian romantic and historical drama series Shahrzad (first released 2015). In the first season of Shahrzad, Othello is played every night in the National Theatre of Tehran and the story of its rehearsal and the life of its actors play an important role in the whole series. Since the play has been re-contextualized for the Iranian audience and is a subplot of the dramatic story of Shahrzad, many alterations have been made in the adaptation. No academic research has yet investigated this relationship. Thus, in the present research, I find it crucial to fill this gap by examining the ways in which the Elizabethan play of Shakespeare has been appropriated for the contemporary Iranian audience using the ideas of Linda Hutcheon in A Theory of Adaptation (2013) with special consideration of her concept of ‘Indigenization’. The results suggest that the Iranian adaptation of Othello is hybrid in nature, belonging both to the world of Shakespeare and that of the Iranian society. Besides, the director, being successful in appropriating the major and minor codes in the play, has helped its reception by the inclusion of the play within the framework of a romantic story and a historical setting. This adaptation is, therefore, a good representation of the close connection between the reception of literature and that of cinema.


Cotutela PhD candidate of English Literature at Razi University of Kermanshah (Iran) and Universidad de Cordoba (Spain). My fields of interest are comparative literature, adaptation studies and gender criticism. I have presented and published several scholarly articles in international conferences and journals. Email address: