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Does othello represent the idea of a tragic hero

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Introduction

In Greek tragedy, the concept of hamartia is an error in judgment or where an unwitting mistake is applied to the actions of a hero. For example, the hero might attempt to achieve a certain objective by making an error in judgment, however, the hero instead achieves the opposite of what they wanted to achieve, with disastrous consequences. The hero's hamartia is the cause of his peripeteia. Bradley argues that Othello is a practically "faultless hero", whose strengths and virtues are used against him by the character of Iago. He says that Othello's only trait of character is his strong and absolute trust. He argues that Othello's trust can be seen through his words to Iago when he says "My ancient, a man he is of honesty and trust to his conveyance, I assign my wife". Although it could also be argued that Othello illustrates another flaw in his character in that he regards his wife as a possession. He says that "[Othello's] opinion of Iago was the opinion of practically everyone who knew him". This demonstrates to us that Othello was not the only one that was deceived and manipulated by Iago. Another example of this can be seen through Iago's manipulation of the character of Cassio. This is seen when Cassio trusts Iago to look after him in the event of him getting drunk, Iago abused this trust by allowing him to get into a fight. It shows us that it was not through fault of Othello that he was manipulated; so much as it was through the strength of Iago's power. ...read more.

Middle

'Othello, in his magnanimous way, is egotistical. He really is, beyond any question, the nobly massive man of action, the captain of men, he sees himself as being, but he does very much see himself in short, a habit of self - approving dramatization is an essential element of Othello's make-up and remains so at the very end. Leavis thinks that Othello gives in too easily to Iago's manipulations and that his love of Desdemona isn't real and that it's more of an egotistical self love, or being in love with the idea of being in love. 'It may be love, but it can be only in an oddly qualified sense of her: it must be much more a matter of self-centered and self-regarding satisfactions - pride, sensual possessiveness, appetite, loss of loving - than he suspects. I do believe that Othello had the qualities of a hero However Othello appears to be quite single- minded when he exclaims to Iago that "to be once in doubt / Is once to be resolved" suggesting that one moment of suspicion gives him eternal doubt. This is also supported by Othello's fixed trust for Iago until the final moments of the play, and by his certainty that Desdemona is untrustworthy, provoked only by his suspicion and paranoid mind. However it is evident from Othello's words "I'll have some proof" that he is not as susceptible as Bradley proposes, as he demands for proof to provide evidence for Desdemona's disloyalty. ...read more.

Conclusion

Leavis does not believe that Catharsis occurs because in Othello's final speech, he talks in third person, keeping the audience at a distance, and throughout this speech, Othello is "preoccupied with his emotions rather than Desdemona in her own right". We can see this when Othello says "Speak of me as I am" This shows us that despite what has happened to Desdemona, Othello is still thinking of himself and his own feelings. Overall I do think of Othello as a tragic hero, despite his bad traits, Such as being far too egotistical and jealous. However it is also obvious that he is emotionally distraught about what he does to Desdemona. So much to the extent that he takes his own life. Othello isn't a 'faultless hero' like Bradley believes he is but everyone has faults in their character. Leavis says that Othello is wrong to trust Iago, but the fact is that we only see this fault because we witness this from and exclusive view. Without the knowledge that Iago is a deceitful villain, we would probably hold nothing against Othello. He was manipulated through his immense trust in Iago, which was his main vice. I don't think that Othello meets all of the requirements for a tragic hero, but he does achieve most of them to a certain extent. Othello isn't a perfect tragic hero, but he is without a doubt a hero, who fall's victim to a great tragedy which leads to his own death and the death of his wife. I believe that Othello, despite all of his traits and errors is a tragic hero. Natasha Williams ...read more.

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