Othelo, A Dramatic Tragedy By William Shakespeare

1285 words - 5 pages

Most people will consider and agree that Othello is a dramatic tragedy. Shakespeare cleverly wove many different layers into his playwright and thus it has stood the time as a literary masterpiece. There are many different definitions of tragedy and Othello would fit into most of their definition. Aristotelian tragedy consists of many parts to meet the definition described by Aristotle. Using these requirements through definition, Othello still would qualify as a tragedy as discussed through thought, diction, tragic hero, and emotional action.

Beginning with the definition, “A tragedy is the imitation of an action that is serious and also, as having magnitude, complete in itself; in appropriate and pleasurable language;... in a dramatic rather than narrative form; with incidents arousing pity and fear, wherewith to accomplish a catharsis of these emotions.” Both the definition and play can lay together and see the corresponding indicators that create the needed tragedy. As the emotional action of the play unfolded, the entire cast began to embrace the unforeseen conflict. This embrace started to change their character and how the audience would perceive them as a whole. This one emotional action not only effected the two directly involved, Othello and Iago, but Cassio, Desdemona, Rodrigo and even Emilia. This action would justify itself in magnitude and complete itself at the end of the play. The diction and thought of Iago to weave this action from seedling to fruition is unequaled. Iago cautiously and meticulously placed careful thought into Othello’s mind. The thought process not only spoken out by Othello but also permeated through action and emotion.

To conclude comparison through definition, the entire tragedy draws pity and catharsis for both Desdemona and Othello. The seductive play of Iago as he weaved his web of destruction and evilness, Desdemona and Othello play directly into the hands of the villain with little resistance. Pity poured onto Desdemona for false accusations of such horrendous actions of unfaithfulness and sexual immorality. Desdemona characterized as a noble by birthright, sheltered, passive and a pure hearted person, who thought nothing false of any one person, be it in thought or action. In the era of the playwright, women were to be submissive to their fathers or husbands and allow them to take the lead. Desdemona raised in that manner did not fit the mold of a typical Venetian woman; she was very outspoken and willing to be forward with her father and husband. Even though strong willed, Desdemona appeared to be very logical and shallow in her thinking, good is good and bad is bad, there was not any room for a grayish median. Her character plays into this misfortune because of her pure, optimistic and naïve nature laid throughout the script. Desdemona does not allow herself to see what lies beneath and ultimately believes that death will purge her of the unknown and fatal errors. Othello received pity at the...

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