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Tragic Hero In Othello By William Shakespeare

1546 words - 7 pages

One might think of a tragedy being a terrible and destructible event in one’s life that causes great pain and may contain great loss. One particular play written by William Shakespeare – one of the most well known poets in history, happens to be a tragedy-filled story. Othello, the Moor of Venice, set during the captivating renaissance era portrays a character named Othello who reveals characteristics of a tragic hero. The brilliant philosopher Aristotle from the fourth century B.C. developed his own definition and idea of what a tragic hero is. Eric Engle, author of “Aristotle, Law and Justice: The Tragic Hero,” said, Due to Aristotle’s influence, his tragic flaw has distorted western ...view middle of the document...

Although a soldier and a foreigner by trade, he delighted himself by marrying into an honorable family. An example of Othello’s dignified status was when he stood in front of the duke and senate in Act 1 scene 3. They were very sympathetic towards him, unlike Brabantio who had plans to embarrass him and punish him for eloping with Desdemona. Additionally, the story complemented him by labeling him as a valiant and suitable man known to those around him. Othello signifies a tragic hero in the sense that he was well respected by society and carried himself well.
One of the main occurrences in the story is that Othello, a moor, is in love with Desdemona, who is Brabantio’s daughter. Brabantio was the Venetian senator of the town, and did not want his daughter and Othello to be together due to Othello’s skin color, religious views, and age. Being a moor, Othello is perceived as an outsider. Desdemona and Othello’s love was filled with longing and passion. As their love story begins to unfold, the audience can sense that it may not all turn out to be pleasant. Othello, being the strong and courageous man that he was, was not afraid of Brabantio’s threats. He exemplified strong characteristics of his courage and bravery after Brabantio confronts him about eloping with Desdemona. Othello was also a very innocent person, and the person that knew that was Iago. Iago was the story’s antagonist, and sought to bring about Othello’s downfall. He wanted to destroy Othello and get revenge for because in the first scene of the play, he claims to be angry with Othello for having dispatched him over for the position of lieutenant in favor of another inexperienced man named Michael Cassio. Iago also blamed Othello for supposedly sleeping with his wife, Emilia. The audience begins to grasp the hatred that Iago had for Othello in the first act. An example of this is when Iago says, “I hate the Moor, And it is thought abroad, that twixt’ my sheets” (Kennedy & Gioia, Act 1 scene 3). Othello exemplifies Aristotle’s definition of a tragic hero complete with characteristics of nobility and greatness due to his leadership roles, noble status in society, and courage facing his enemies.
While Othello exhibits the nobility and leadership roles commonly associated with a tragic hero by Aristotle’s terms, he also acquires a couple of less commendable characteristics that contribute to his tragic flaws. Every character that is considered a tragic hero possesses one or more tragic flaws. Throughout the play, Othello showed great signs of having a striking gullibility as well as a rapid violet temper. The belief and his jealous nature are fatal flaws in Othello, both of which are abused by Iago, the man who is focused on his ruin (n.a). Othello’s bounding love for Desdemona made it excruciating to think of her with any other man and that is why his jealousy took over his emotions. Desdemona also deeply loved Othello, and she did not want to get involved an any disputes to make...

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