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An Analysis Of The Tragic Heros Othello And Okonkwo

1584 words - 7 pages

I describe how Othello and Okonkwo are tragic heros with the use of character foils and character types. Although Othello is a dynamic character and Okonkwo is static, I still can classify them as a tragic heros. Using character foils allows us to see the characters progress through the book and change to the actions of others around them.

In Shakespeare’s play Othello, two characters play a game of tug-a-war with Othello in the middle. At one end is sweet and honest Desdemona while at the other end is dark and cynical Iago. These two side characters are within themselves character foils and we watch as Iago pulls Othello to his side. Othello is introduced as a man of self-control. He handles himself well in awkward situations and is always calm and collected. Within the first few pages we are also introduced to Iago, a scheming and terrible person. “I follow him to serve my turn upon him.” (Shakespeare I.I.44) Here Iago expresses how he is using people to advance him in his work. Later, Othello is accused of a crime he hasn’t committed but accepts the charges Brabantio puts on him. “Hold your hands,/Both you of my inclining and the rest./Were it my cue to fight, I should have known it/Without a prompter. Whither will you that I go/To answer this your charge?” (Shakespeare I.II.83-87) Othello stays calm throughout the process and never once is rude in anyway. This is a character foil with Iago. For now, Othello is honest and respectful like Desdemona and Iago is the evil one. Advancing through the book however, Othello is tricked by Iago’s schemes, allowing Othello to become more like Iago. While Othello changes, Desdemona never adjust to the people around her. “And have you mercy too! I never did/Offend you in my life, never loved Cassio/But with such general warranty of heaven/As I might love. I never gave him token.” (Shakespeare V.II.66-69) Sweet Desdemona is being completely honest to Othello. She remains the same respecting and kind girl from the start of the play. In this quote, she was telling the truth about telling the truth, yet Othello still doesn’t believe her. “O perjured woman, thou dost stone my heart,/And mak’st me call what I intend to do/A murder, which I thought a sacrifice!” (Shakespeare V.II.71-73) After Desdemona tries protesting and proving she’s honest, Othello tells her, he is going to kill her. We can see how Iago has influenced Othello and changed him to become a dark and evil person. At the end of the play his transition is completed and Othello goes from his sweet and kind personality, to becoming a character foil with Desdemona, the female counterpart of him from before. This shows Othello being a dynamic character. He starts the play as a male counterpart to Desdemona (honest, sweet and kind) and ends the story as a partner in crime with Iago (dark, cynical, and crafty).

In Chinua Achebe’s novel, Things Fall Apart, Okonkwo and Obierika are two opposite characters. When introduced to Okonkwo, he is viewed by...

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