• Join over 1.2 million students every month
  • Accelerate your learning by 29%
  • Unlimited access from just £6.99 per month

Those qualities which made Othello heroic (or admirable or exceptional) also caused his suffering. To what extent is this statement true?

Extracts from this document...

Introduction

1. Those qualities which made Othello heroic (or admirable or exceptional) also caused his suffering. To what extent is this statement true? Tragedy is one of the oldest genres of drama, and has roots in Greek of antiquity. It has been practiced throughout the centuries. One such tragedy is William Shakespeare?s Othello, which follows the downfall of its eponymous tragic hero, Othello. However the definition of a tragic hero has changed throughout history, with many intellectuals offering their own opinions. On such man was A.C. Bradley, a renowned English literary scholar, remembered mainly for his analysis of the works of William Shakespeare. A.C. Bradley describes a tragic hero as ?...a person of high degree or of public importance...But this is not enough. His nature is also exceptional, and raised him in some respect above the average level of humanity.?[1] By studying the play, and A.C. Bradley?s definition of a tragic hero, it becomes obvious that the qualities that make Othello heroic also cause his suffering. However they do not do so alone. Iago?s ambitions to cause Othello suffering turn Othello?s admirable characteristics against him. By examining three of Othello?s heroic qualities, this relation between Iago?s desires and Othello?s distress can be revealed. The first of these characteristics is Othello?s position of power, whose consequences lead to Iago?s hatred. ...read more.

Middle

However the downside of his trust starts to already become apparent in the same scene. When the Duke asks Othello to leave an officer behind to transport all of Othello?s ?things..of quality and respect? (1.3.285) to Cyprus, Othello replies with ?...my ancient / A man he is of honesty and trust. / To his conveyance I assign my wife? (1.3.286-88). Othello trusts Iago enough to entrust him not only with his possessions, but with Desdemona herself. Desdemona is of extreme importance to Othello, and the fact that he is willing to hand her over to Iago, demonstrates his blind trust in Iago. This is an obvious mistake as immediately after Othello assigns his wife to him, Iago utters ?...He holds me well. / The better should my purpose work on him? (1.3.391-92), and also ?The Moor is of a free and open nature, / That thinks men honest that but seem to be so, / And will be led by the nose? (1.3.399-402). Iago himself realizes that Othello is easily trusting, and plans to use this against him. He believes that this easy trust will allow him to further his ambitions as Othello will be easy to fool. In Cyprus, this is proven true as Iago constantly poisons Othello?s mind against Desdemona. ...read more.

Conclusion

It is only after the murder that he realizes Desdemona is innocent. Othello comprehends that he did in fact lose his honour and reputation but it was through the act of murder of his wife. He loses the will to live itself, and as his question of his honour lasting longer than his integrity foreshadows his suicide. Through the manipulation of his reputation and honour, which was so useful to him previously, Iago inflicts the greatest suffering on to Othello, and though he is caught, his ambitions are finally realized. In summary, Othello possesses the exceptional qualities mentioned in A.C Bradley?s definition of a tragic hero. The qualities are valuable to him at the play?s beginning, but are turned against him. It is through Iago?s ambition to destroy the Moor that Othello?s qualities transform from admirable attributes to the root of his suffering. His power and authority, a desirable characteristic, goes from helping him influence others to inciting Iago?s hate, and starting the process of his downfall. His trusting nature leads him to placing his faith in Iago, thus allowing the latter in accomplishing his intentions. Lastly his reputation eventually leads to his fixation on his honour, and eventually ends in his death. Othello features a character that suffers throughout the book, and his heroic qualities along with Iago?s ambition lead to the play?s tragedy. ________________ [1] A.C. Bradley, Shakespearean Tragedy: Lectures on Hamlet, Othello, King Lear, Macbeth (London: Macmillan,1905) 19-20. ...read more.

The above preview is unformatted text

This student written piece of work is one of many that can be found in our International Baccalaureate World Literature section.

Found what you're looking for?

  • Start learning 29% faster today
  • 150,000+ documents available
  • Just £6.99 a month

Not the one? Search for your essay title...
  • Join over 1.2 million students every month
  • Accelerate your learning by 29%
  • Unlimited access from just £6.99 per month

See related essaysSee related essays

Related International Baccalaureate World Literature essays

  1. 100 plus maketing plan

    Magazines: We should take advantage of the fact that magazines have become a very specialized medium. There are many consumers' magazines in Tamilnadu and Kerala. Good color production is also an advantage that creates strong images which is the purpose of F&N with its Isotonic Drink brand.

  2. A comparative essay on Othello and Macbeth

    The difference between the characters is that although they reside to killing, Macbeth is influenced by his wife and feels uncomfortable with killing king Duncan but Iago on the other hand is manipulating everyone around him without his wife even suspecting him of any wrongdoing and without even realizing how wicked the things are that he is doing.

  1. Fair is foul and foul is fair (Act 1.1.11-12). This is a famous line ...

    It's both-sided. Why is the world of Macbeth topsy-turvy? Because it reflects the world at large as it really is, not only black and white but an amalgam of both. It is good and evil, innocent and guilty, honest and treacherous. It is a world of sun and clouds, of calm and storm, of cold and warmth.

  2. Gusev Analysis. Chekov brings up two ordinary characters that are suffering under the ...

    While Pavel Ivanitch is obsessed social injustice Gusev worries about his family and business. Gusev's daydreams about his homeland and family reveals his narrow intentions whereas Pavel Ivanitch peers into every social and political abuse he can find, Gusev's concerns are more material and immediate.

  1. All of the characters who experience misfortune in Othello bring it upon themselves. Discuss ...

    illustrates the extent of compassion he has towards her, and how unwilling he is to live a normal life when he is being cheated on. The visible change in how differently he begins to visualize his love life with Desdemona starts to develop the foundation of his misleading thoughts towards his wife.

  2. In Time for a Tiger, Anthony Burgess impresses upon his readers that his heroes ...

    Afterwards however, arguably with the aid of a love potion, he experiences "the annunciation and the epiphany" (pg. 136) and he makes love to Fenella. I respect Victor so much for this particular journey he experience over the course of the book because it is one that that many people, myself included, avoid and fear.

  1. How and to what effect does the use of language empower Higgins and ...

    Taking this for granted, Higgins realizes that Eliza?s emotions have shallow significance because she is restrained in her language to express her thoughts and lacks the capability to organize her thoughts. Which is why for Eliza, every emotion whether it be terror, rebelliousness, humiliation, and anger, they are all responded

  2. An Analysis of "The Kite Runner"'s Propaganda Qualities

    Amir connects Hassan with his image of Afghanistan throughout the novel, creating an emotional tie for the reader as well. Hassan is the epitome of goodness and self-sacrifice, who allows himself to be brutalized so that Amir can bring home a trophy to his father.

  • Over 160,000 pieces
    of student written work
  • Annotated by
    experienced teachers
  • Ideas and feedback to
    improve your own work