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How does Shakespeare make Othello a tragic character?

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Introduction

How does Shakespeare make Othello a tragic character? The play Othello by William Shakespeare is about passion, treachery and revenge. Othello is a black, well-respected army general in Italy. He falls in love with the white daughter of Brabantio, a senator of Italy, called Desdemona and gets married to her without Brabantio's consent. Iago and Cassio are Othello's best friends, Iago turns out to be two-faced and evil towards Othello because he gave the job of lieutenant to Cassio when Iago thinks it should have been his. Othello is summoned to Cyprus to fight the Turkish army and takes Desdemona with him. There, Iago makes Othello believe that his wife is having an affair with Cassio and renders him into a state of depression. Othello goes mad with anger and ends up murdering Desdemona in bed. When he finds out Iago was lying he falls into a state of despair and stabs himself. The Greek philosopher Aristotle studied tragedies and identified a list of arguments that a classical tragedy had in it. Aristotle argued that classical tragedies have a protagonist, who is usually a man, who is rich and powerful and is respected in society. The protagonist makes a mistake or error of judgement, which makes him fall from power and loose his identity. ...read more.

Middle

The audience also feels sorry for Cassio, as he is the innocent person in the twisted web of lies of Iago. The audience's view of Othello is changed, as we don't see him as the calm, strong minded, compassionate character that we saw at the beginning of the play. Now that Iago has convinced him his wife is unfaithful he is beating her. Shakespeare has done this to provoke the idea of Othello being a tragic character as we see the first step of him falling and we can see that what was a tremendously happy character's life is being torn apart. The audience also feels remorseful for Desdemona as a man twice the size of her strikes her. We also feel sorry for her as she is loosing her husband without even knowing about it. Shakespeare creates this feeling as he makes Desdemona look innocent and just. By doing this he creates tension and regret as the audience can see her life falling apart but she can't. He does this to influence the idea of a tragedy as the innocent characters are being tortured. According to Aristotle the protagonist then suffers a loss or change of identity. The audience can see an example of this in act three scene three as Iago renders Othello into misery and depression. ...read more.

Conclusion

In conclusion we can see that Shakespeare has made Othello a tragic character by following the theory of Aristotle. He has included a protagonist that is rich powerful and has a respected position in society. We can see then that Othello falls from power, as in Aristotle's theory, and looses identity. Othello feel out of society, as he does not know what to do with himself or Desdemona anymore. Like Aristotle said, Shakespeare ends the play so that the audience learns a moral lesson in life. He does this by making Iago so twisted and evil that when the audience sees what has happened they know not to interfere each other's life and love for it can end in tragedy. Although Aristotle's theory of tragedy is widely used to analyse literature, in my opinion a tragedy is something that's ends sad and depressing but not necessarily negative. Shakespeare has also accomplished this. Although we are sad that the innocent Desdemona and the virtuous Othello both died, we are happy that Iago's deceitful plan is foiled and he is caught and arrested. This shows us that there is hope, as the villain doesn't always escape. This also shows that good prevails over evil, as the love that Othello had for Desdemona made sure that Iago's plan did not work and so Iago couldn't come into power. Prabhjit Takher 10RH English coursework Miss Burdon ...read more.

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