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Does Othello's lack of perception diminish his tragic stature?

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Introduction

Does Othello's lack of perception diminish his tragic stature? Othello's lack of perception does to some extent diminish his tragic stature in some parts. However it is reclaimed again, perhaps towards the end when we see how Othello has been deceived. As quoted by Aristotle "Othello is too trusting." It is his naivety that leads to his downfall. At the beginning of the play, Othello is described as a "bombastic", lascivious man as Iago comments on this. However this is contradicted when he makes his appearance in Act 1 Scene 2. We see a sincere nobleman with cool-headedness, quite the contradiction to how we see him later. Othello's perception of Iago emphasizes his tragic stature at first in the play. Some critics may see him as quite foolish for being so trustworthy in Iago. However, Iago appears to trigger off a jealousy that was already embedded in Othello. As he fears if he "love her not chaos will come again." Iago can manipulate this, and it could be argued that Othello himself brought on this tragedy again, for having no faith in Desdemona by his quickness to judge when he talks of a "monstrous" thought that Iago must have. ...read more.

Middle

However, Shakespeare is always reminding the audience that Othello's way of thinking is always being manipulated. We should see him as a tragic hero due to his attributes and the fact that he almost always speaks in blank verse. His lack of control draws us away from his tragic stature. He is sympathetic. But it is self-sympathy that he contains. He only sees the world how he has seen it in the past. Perhaps he is getting experiences of love and war confused. When his anger about love arises, he talks in the style of war as he refers to "Big war" and "plumed troops". This speech has a poetic rhythm to it that backs up Bradley's suggestion that Othello is a "great poet". Again this is showing his passion. His passion is however so great that it leads to his "waked wraeth". He has no control over his emotions; his anger draws us away from his stature as a hero. However, as commented by Leavis, Othello is "self-dramatizing". The fact that he dramatizes himself emphasizes his tragic stature. ...read more.

Conclusion

Elizabethan acceptance of racism at that time added to his insecurities which all added to his downfall. If the death of Desdemona diminished his tragic stature in anyway, it is reinstated again in the last scene when he questions Iago as to why he has done what he's done. It is also shown by the fact that he cannot live without Desdemona. "For in my sense, tis happiness to die". Again, self-dramatizing as is his final speech when he talks of his service and love. As stated by Holloway, the ending speech is "genre convention" of the hero in most Elizabethan drama. Emphasizing that Othello is the tragic hero of this play. I agree that in some ways, Othello's lack of perception shows his sympathy, but for Desdemona it does not last long. His naivety has got the better of him, as he does not realize that he is heavily under the influence of Iago. For a short while, it would appear for some audiences that his tragic stature diminishes when we see Othello's wrath, but it is soon reinstated when Shakespeare reminds us of Iago's influence and Othello's own self-dramatizing. By V.G ...read more.

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