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Othello: The Tragic Hero.

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Nazir Savji Mrs. McLean ENG 4U July 16, 2003 Othello: The Tragic Hero In all tragic plays, there exists a tragic hero. Though he may die in the end, he is still known to the play as the "hero". In William 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. Finally, this fall from high to low standing must emerge on the account of his tragic flaw, also known as hamartia, Therefore, using these criteria, we can easily classify Othello, the Moor, as a tragic hero. First off, a tragic hero must be a person of noble stature from which they can fall from. In the beginning of the play, Shakespeare illustrates Othello as a benevolent military noble who shares an intellectual love with his young wife, Desdemona, which is of utmost purity and innocence. ...read more.


i. 7-32). This proves to be a most calamitous decision for Iago does not take the verdict lightly. Iago says to Roderigo "I have told thee / often, and I retell thee again and again, I hate the Moor: my / cause is hearted; thine hath no less reason. Let us be / conjunctive in our revenge against him". Because of the Moor's decision, the vindictive Iago is going to put all of his efforts towards making the Moor's life a living hell. If Othello had promoted Iago instead of Cassio to lieutenant, then the "animal" that Othello turned into at the end of the novel may never have transpired. Another example is when he strikes his wife Desdemona, with her immense pulchritude, in the face. Lodovico, one of Brabanzio's kinsmen, is appalled and flabbergasted at what had befallen. He exclaims politely "My lord, this would not be believed in Venice, / Though I should swear I saw't. 'Tis very much. / Make her amends; she weeps." (IV. i. 242). Lodovico speaks reprovingly and reprehensibly to Othello and no longer holds the same approbation for him as he once did. ...read more.


Secondly, the Moor does not doubt any information that Iago provides him with. Everything he says is believed to be veridical by the Moor. In fact, when Iago provides "ocular" proof demonstrating that Cassio and Desdemona are having an affair, Othello does not doubt it at all. Even though all the information is circumstantial and may not be authentic, Othello never suspects it to be apocryphal. This lack of insight leads to his destruction. In the end, throughout the play, Othello continuously calls Iago "honest Iago". This expression recurs over ten times in the play. Shakespeare uses this phrase to show how much trust Othello has in Iago that the Moor thinks Iago would do anything to gratify him. Unfortunately, this trust allowed Iago to penetrate the mind of Othello and guide him to his devastation. From this blemish in the character of Othello, we can deduce that he retains the tragic flaw that tragic heroes must feature. In conclusion, Othello follows all the criteria of a tragic hero and is therefore a tragic hero. Othello is someone of posh standing and through a series of actions and persuasions undergoes an alteration of fortune, which is attributed to a flaw in his character. ...read more.

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