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Shakespeare's Use Of Aristotle's Guidelines To Tragedy In Creating The Play Othello

1624 words - 6 pages

Throughout time, the tragedy has been seen as the most emotionally pleasing form of drama, because of its ability to bring the viewer into the drama and feel for the characters, especially the tragic hero. This analysis of tragedy was formed by the Greek philosopher Aristotle, and also noted in his Poetics (guidelines to drama). As a playwright, Shakespeare used Aristotle’s guidelines to tragedy when writing Othello. The play that was created revolved around the tragic hero, Othello, whose tragic flaw transformed him from a nobleman, into a destructive creature, which would inevitably bring him to his downfall. This transformation follows an organic movement of the complex plot from the beginning, middle, to the end of the drama while keeping the tragic hero consistent and also real. As the play moves on the audience feels pity for the tragic hero as well as fear for themselves as they watch the event taking place on stage. Othello can be seen as one of Shakespeare’s greatest tragedies, because it follows the guidelines set up by Aristotle’s Poetics.
As Aristotle’s Poetics states; a tragedy is an imitation of an action of men that is serious and also having magnitude that arouse pity and fear where with to accomplish the catharsis of those emotions. With this definition of a tragedy he also stated the components of the tragedy, ranking them in importance. The first was the plot, which had a recognition scene, the tragic hero’s reversal of fortune, and also a scene of suffering. The plot must have unity and also relate universally to the audience while also being probable. Ranked second was character, which was used to support the plot and bring an organic movement from beginning to end. The main component of character was the tragic hero, who had to be good (of noble nature), consistent, verisimilitude, and appropriate. The hero had to follow these criteria in order to relate to the viewers and establish the catharsis of pity for the tragic hero and fear for themselves. Third, was thought, which was used to show the characters’ motives, either through soliloquy or direct conversation. After those came diction, song and spectacle, which were used to contribute to the unity of the play’s plot.
By using these guidelines, Shakespeare created one of his greatest Aristotelian tragedies. This is because he applied the Poetics’ guidelines to complex plot, the tragic hero, and the establishment of pity, fear, and catharsis of the audience’s emotions. The complex plot follows Othello and his transformation from nobleman to monster through the exploitation of his tragic flaw. As the plot moves from exposition, complication, challenge, conflict, climax, and finally to dénouement, Othello goes through a recognition scene which leads to a reversal in his fortune and his scene of suffering.
As noted by Aristotle, a complex plot must be able to move organically from beginning to end while still staying universal and probable. Also, as the plot moves on...

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