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To what extent is Othello a Hegelian tragedy?

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To what extent is Othello a Hegelian tragedy? A Hegelian tragedy must have; a society in conflict and a series of opposing social forces that ultimately destroy themselves. It is argued that a Hegelian tragedy is not about the individual characters but rather what they represent. The beginning of the play Othello is set in Venice and the Venetian society is definitely portrayed to be in conflict. Firstly there is a war going on between Venice and the Turks. Othello is a general and plays a key role on the war. Eventually the venetians beat the Turks and Othello, Desdemona and the rest of the key characters go to stay in Cyprus. Secondly there is the conflict with race within the society. Othello, otherwise known as the moor, originates from North Africa and he is black. Many of the characters call his names such as 'thick lips' and 'black ram' as well as always referring to him as 'the moor'. ...read more.


The opening scenes establish Othello's status as an outsider in Venice. Iago's hatred of Othello as racially motivated is emphasised especially in his description of Othello as 'his Moorship' which implies that Iago sees Othello's high status as incompatible with his race. In a way, Venice is portrayed as a society in which there are competing ideas about race, because not everyone has a problem with Othello being black, especially Desdemona and of course the duke who likes othello and doesn't mind one bit that he is black. But it is also portrayed as a society where no one seems to be totally unaware of Othello's difference. To other opposing social forces are love and lust. In the play there are examples of both these aspects. True love is shown between Desdemona and Othello at the beginning of the play. The two love each other for who they are, rather than just how each other look. ...read more.


But sadly Othello believes the lies rather than the truth. There is a battle between order and chaos and this is shown throughout the entire play. Although Iago goes through lots of trouble to create chaotic events at the beginning Shakespeare tends to bring a sense of order into the play that calms down the previous events. This is shown when Brabantio visits the Duke with the issue of his daughter and Othello. The Duke makes the decision to leave Othello and Desdemona be and that Desdemona has chosen this path and Brabantio follows the Duke's decision. However Iago never stops trying to cause the chaos and as Othello sinks deeper into distrust of Desdemona and is more consumed by his jealousy, chaos increases and threatens to devour him. His suspicion of Desdemona's affair overpowers him and makes him mentally chaotic, leaving him in deep despair. To conclude Othello is to a great extent a Hegelian tragedy because it matches hugely all of the Hegelian traits, especially the opposing social forces and the play being set in a society in conflict. ?? ?? ?? ?? Jessica Lachlan ...read more.

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