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To what extent is Othello considered a tragic hero?

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Introduction

To what extent is Othello considered a tragic hero? Othello has many qualities that a tragic hero should possess, such as a fatal flaw, a discovery and an epiphany. He is also a very noble character and took a fall from grace so to some extent many would consider Othello to be a tragic hero. However, it is also clear that Othello's status as a black man makes him an outsider to Venetian society, therefore, Othello would be lower down on the chain of Being making him a less respectable character. Othello is also an outsider in the Venetian society because he is not from Venice; again this makes him a less respected character in the play, consequently, making him less of a tragic hero. Othello's main aspect that makes him an excellent tragic hero is his role as a general in the army. This is considered an important job and Othello is well respected for it by Venetian society. Othello's respect is evident as many of the characters in the play address him as the "valiant moor." This shows that Othello is seen as a brave courageous person. Othello demonstrates his bravery throughout the play. An example of this occurs when Othello marries Desdemona as the consequence of this action would obviously have a negative outcome, Othello could have been sentenced to prison or even put to death. ...read more.

Middle

Such as when Iago says to Othello "she did deceive her father" this reminds Othello that Desdemona Is very capable of lying and betraying people. Therefore, she is capable of having an affair with Cassio. This shows how clever and believable Iago is when devising this plan to split them up, as in the end this plan works as they both end up dead. The audience may also view Othello as an unruly character in some parts of the play. One of these scenes is when Othello starts to accuse Desdemona of cheating. When Othello asks for the handkerchief he shows his aggressive side. "The handkerchief" he repeatedly asks to Desdemona to bring the handkerchief and refuses to reason with her thus, reducing him to animal like standards. As a result of this Othello loses his status as a tragic hero. A second reason that undermines Leavis point is that Othello said "I'll see before I doubt" Othello wants proof of Desdemona's affair or he claims he will never believe Iago. Although, Othello did doubt her faith, he never did anything until he had proof from the handkerchief. Even though this is false proof it was enough proof for Othello to come to a conclusion about Desdemona's affair. This shows that Othello is not that thoughtless to kill himself and his wife just on Iago's false words. ...read more.

Conclusion

This is also a very cathartic moment in the play. Shakespeare uses marriage as a basis of tragedy in other plays such as 'Romeo and Juliet.' Just as in Othello it is the parents who don't agree with their marriage. This forms problems in the marriage of Othello and Desdemona as the only thing that people view as unnatural about their marriage is Othello's race. This is shown when Brabantio says "for nature to preposterously to err" the word "err" shows that Brabantio thinks that Desdemona should stay away from Othello. Whilst the word "preposterously" shows that people think their marriage is unnatural. This is one of the reasons why Othello is not considered a tragic hero as all though people respect him as a person they do not respect his marriage. In addition to this his marriage makes him less of a tragic hero because people initially told him to stay away from Desdemona. I believe Othello is a tragic hero he was a passionate man who was miss lead by a clever sly and man. Iago never needed to take physical action to produce a tragic ending; his words were his actions that caused the tragic outcome in the play. Although the characters in the play sometimes disrespect him it was only his race they didn't respect, not him personally as they respected his "warlike" personality as he was sometimes referred to. Therefore, Othello is a good overall tragic hero as race was the only factor that caused his lower status in the Venetian society. ...read more.

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