Othello As Tragic Hero Essay

Othello as a Tragic Hero Essay

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Othello is a tragic hero because of his greatnesses and his weaknesses. He is a noble man who possesses all the qualities of a military leader, which he is. He has control over himself and shows courage as well as dignity. Just as Othello is a virtuous man there are some flaws within him, these flaws complete him ff as a tragic hero. Othello is often blinded by trust and can not see a person for who they really are. He trusts the people around him even when they mean to afflict harm upon him. Through this, it can be seen why Othello is one of the most tragic hero out of all the characters from Shakespeare’s many plays.

To begin with, Othello is a graceful man with a valiant personality which draws people near. Although he is known…show more content…

Even in the toughest of times, he keeps his anger under control. “I will a round unvarnished tale deliver of my whole course of love – what drugs, what charms, what conjuration, and what mighty magic (for such proceeding and charged withal) I won his daughter” (Act 1, scene 3, 90-94)
As an example. this shows how Othello deals with style and grace under fire, when accused of witchcraft by marrying Desdemona. Othello neither yells nor screams, but explains in a way that captivates his audience and enhances the emotions in the play.

Aside from the greatnesses there also are some flaws. With Othello being a military leader for most of his life, trusting another military friend would be common and therefore Othello had no reason to not trust iago. So it can be said that Othello has tragic weaknesses, one being too trustworthy. Many times Othello does not see the evil acts of iago. He is used to dealing with military people on the battlefield, where you put your life in the hands of others. In this situation trust is very important. Othello says that iago is a man of honor and trust and therefore has no reason to doubt his honesty.

Likewise another weakness of Othello’s would be that he is a man who gets confused easily and cannot judge right from wrong. This can be seen when

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A tragic hero is of noble status and greatness. The tragic hero possesses a human tendency to make error in judgment. The tragic hero has a tragic flaw. Othello is noble and quite capable as a leader. He is chosen to lead in the military effort against the Turkish invasion against Cyprus. Although he is of high stature and greatness, he makes an error in his judgment against his wife, Desdemona.

Othello is a tragic hero in that he allowed his jealously to overcome him. It is one thing to be jealous, but Othello acted on his jealousy and murdered his wife, Desdemona. Because Iago planted seeds of jealousy, Othello was taken into a snare. Othello should have trusted his wife. He trusted the wrong man and his life ended in tragedy.

Although Iago planted seeds of jealousy, Othello lacked self control. He could not control his rage. This was a tragic flaw. He allowed his jealousy to consume him. He was totally overwhelmed with jealousy. Rather than trusting his beloved wife, he smothered her out of jealousy. In the end, he takes his own life out of utter hopelessness.

These characteristics fit Othello:

The following is a summary of [Aristotle's] basic ideas regarding the tragic hero:

1.  The tragic hero is a character of noble stature and has greatness.  This should be readily evident in the play.  The character must occupy a "high" status position but must ALSO embody nobility and virtue as part of his/her innate character.

2.  Though the tragic hero is pre-eminently great, he/she is not perfect.  Otherwise, the rest of us--mere mortals--would be unable to identify with the tragic hero.  We should see in him or her someone who is essentially like us, although perhaps elevated to a higher position in society.

3.  The hero's downfall, therefore, is partially her/his own fault, the result of free choice, not of accident or villainy or some overriding, malignant fate.  In fact, the tragedy is usually triggered by some error of judgment or some character flaw that contributes to the hero's lack of perfection noted above.   This error of judgment or character flaw is known as hamartia and is usually translated as "tragic flaw" (although some scholars argue that this is a mistranslation).  Often the character's hamartiainvolves hubris (which is defined as a sort of arrogant pride or over-confidence).

4.  The hero's misfortunate is not wholly deserved. The punishment exceeds the crime.

5.  The fall is not pure loss. There is some increase in awareness, some gain in self-knowledge, some discovery on the part of the tragic hero..

6.  Though it arouses solemn emotion, tragedy does not leave its audience in a state of depression.  Aristotle argues that one function of tragedy is to arouse the "unhealthy" emotions of pity and fear and through a catharsis (which comes from watching the tragic hero's terrible fate) cleanse us of those emotions.   It might be worth noting here that Greek drama was not considered "entertainment," pure and simple; it had a communal function--to contribute to the good health of the community.  This is why dramatic performances were a part of religious festivals and community celebrations.


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