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"Othello" And Its Connection To Greek Tragedy

761 words - 3 pages

The play Othello is Shakespeare's own version of a classic Greek tragedy. A classical dramatic tragedy derives its essence from the ancient Greek plays that were often popular in Athens. These plays would typically consist of the downfall of a famous Greek character in history/legend, or the breakdown of a hero. Typically the hero is forced to struggle against overwhelming odds, and fate only that this characters downfall would be so imposing that regardless of these forces of nature and fate that destroy him, that he would rise and regain glory due to his moral victory. These tragedies would invoke terror and pity on the audience, in a sense a tragedy could be considered a form of a catharsis, literally cleansing the soul as it is performed, even though the horror typically disturbed audiences, at the same time it cleansed their soul and purified the spirit.

According to Aristotle proposal, all great tragedies share three things in common, the place, the time, and the plot. The entire tragedy would occur in one set place (like a market, or palace), the events in the play would all take place in the course of a single, day, and the play would only consist of a single story (plot). Shakespeare's tragedy is far more unhindered in that it is not closely structured around these strict regulations. Throughout the entire play of Othello (except for Act I, which is set in Venice), is placed entirely within the stronghold of Cyprus. When evaluating the time span of Othello, logically speaking occurs in the course of a couple of weeks. But, when deciphering the time of day that each major event occurs in Othello it becomes evident that it is abstractly set in the course of one day, like a classic tragedy according to Aristotle. Each major scene is set in a specific hour of the day, beginning with the sex after midnight under moonlight Venice skies, to the senate meeting at the break of dawn, then within the walls of Cyprus with the upsurge of the mid-morning tempest, and the afternoon that is filled with developments of the tragedy, which eventually leads to the momentous jamboree in the early parts of dusk, and concludes with the murder at bedtime. The plot of the tragedy is fairly unified in that...

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