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'In Shakespeare's Day it was central to contemporary assumptions about the nature of tragedy that the tragic hero himself should be noble, that is why this is Othello's tragedy and not for example Iago's.' How do you as a member of a modern Shakespearian

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Introduction

'In Shakespeare's Day it was central to contemporary assumptions about the nature of tragedy that the tragic hero himself should be noble, that is why this is Othello's tragedy and not for example Iago's.' How do you as a member of a modern Shakespearian audience react to this comment on Othello? You should include an examination of at least 2 extracts. In all tragic plays, there exists a tragic hero who must be a person of noble stature from which they can fall from. In Shakespeare's Othello, the central character, Othello, can be seen as the archetypal tragic hero. All classical, Shakespearean tragic heroes follow the same criteria. At the outset, since tragedy involves the "fall" of a tragic hero, the character must have a lofty position to fall from, or else there is no tragedy, just pathos. Subsequently, through a series of influences or actions, the tragic hero must undergo a change of fortune and fall from high to low estate. ...read more.

Middle

He is well educated, courageous and is well respected by others. This is shown most notably when he enters in 1:3. The Duke states that Othello is "Valiant". Not only is the word "valiant" a synonym for noble but it also suggests that the Duke thinks very highly of him as a strong and powerful leader. He also states: "We must straight employ you/Against the general enemy Ottoman." This shows their loyalty towards Othello as they did not want to act on anything until their noble leader Othello arrived and told them what it is they should do. During his speech, Othello states: "Rude am I in my speech" This is quite ironic as the way he says his speech shows that he is a well educated man. His speech is also written in blank verse. This type of presentation was very often used in Shakespeare's plays when monarchs or very important people were speaking. The fact that Othello is almost speaking as a monarch and speaking in this type of prose seems to emphasise his nobility and makes it look as though he's in a higher status than he actually is. ...read more.

Conclusion

The Duke believes that "this tale would win over" his daughter too which emphasises Othello's respect and nobility further. It is Othello's courage and nobility that Desdemona fell in love with so when Othello begins to lose this nobility, it is no wonder that their relationship begins to fall apart. In conclusion, the statement seems to be partly true in that this is Othello's tragedy as he's the tragic hero, who always ended up dying in the end, and is noble concerning his characteristics. However, Othello's downfall, attributes of a tragic hero, seem to be caused by Iago. Iago seems to be the one who falls and takes everyone else with him rather than Othello which seems to show that Iago also displays attributes of a tragic hero. In the latter part of the play the audience are also interested in what Iago is doing to Othello rather than what is happening to Othello. Therefore it could have quite easily been Iago's tragedy. ...read more.

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