Othello Othello A Tragic Hero Essay Research

Othello: Othello A Tragic Hero Essay, Research Paper

Othello: Othello A Tragic Hero

If one reads Shakespeare’s Othello, they can come to the conclusion that

it might be one of the his most tragic plays ever written by Shakespeare. Romeo

and Juliet, is probably the most famous of his tragic plays, but Othello, has

characteristics that, I think make it even more tragic then his other plays, and

therefore for that reason, you can say that Othello is the most tragic hero.

Othello is a noble man, one who has grace with the ladies but also

possesses all the virtues of a military leader that he is. He is a general that

is experienced in battle. He has shown that he is reliable and well known in

the military and is well respected. His valiant personality, is what draws

people to him, as it does for Desdemona. The senators value him and hear what

he says when he speaks. This is shown here by one of the senators. “Here comes

Barbantio and the valiant Moor”, (Act I scene 3, 47) . This is an example of

the many comments which shows Othello’s character and personality as a person

and an officer. They say he is one of the great leaders.

Not only does he posses great character and courage, but also dignity.

He keeps his control even when he is being accused of witchcraft during the

first encounter with the senators when Desdemona’s father confronts him about

see his daughter.

“Most potent, grave, and reverend signors,

My very noble and approved good masters;

That I have ta’en away this old man’s daughter,

It is most true; true I have married her.

The very head and front of my offending

Hath the extent, no more. Rude I am in my speech,

And little blessed with the soft phrase of peace;”

(I, iii, 91)

This is an example of how Othello deals with style and grace under fire,

when he is accused of witch craft, by marrying Desdemona. He neither, yells or

screams, but explains in a manner that captivates his audience, and draws them

in to listen.

A major sign that Othello shows his rage and jealousy occurs in Act III,

scene 3, when Iago is talking with Othello and tells him that Desdemona is a

whore. Othello’s breakdown, almost to choke Iago, simply asks Iago

“Villain, be sure thou prove my love a whore, Be sure if

it. Give me the ocular proof. Or by the worth of mine

eternal soul, thou hadst been better have been born a dog.

Than answer my waked wrath.” (Act III, scene 3)

This a point in the play where Iago starts unveil his malicious plan.

It makes Othello react, in a manner that he usually does not. Othello has many

qualities that contribute to his overall worth. One being his trustfulness.

At this point in time, Othello, says that Iago is a man of honor and trust, and

therefore has no reason not to distrust him.

Many times Othello does not see the fake and malicious acts of Iago.

This is done to extend the play and also add to Othello’s tragic flaws. Othello

trusts too easily. Othello is used to dealing with military people and on the

battle field, a place where you put your life in the hands of others and trust

is very important. Iago reputation on the battle field is well known and is not

tarnished. With Othello being a military leader for most of his life, trusting

another military friend, is not uncommon, and therefore, Othello has no reason

not to believe or trust Iago. So it can be said that Othello has a number of

tragic flaws, one being trust worthy. It is not to say that being trust worthy

is a bad characteristic, but to not trust your own wife?

Othello, tragically, in Act III, scene 3, is thoroughly corrupted by

Iago, says that he believes that Desdemona is honest, but yet he thinks that she

is not. This is a part that Othello’s “innocence” is torn to bits, because he

does not know what to believe anymore. This is also where he comes to Iago for

advice, which is what Iago has been waiting for. Othello is seen as a confused

man without direction and does know what to do.

“By the world, I think that my wife be honest and think

that she is not. I think that thou art just and think

she is not.

Othello then says to Iago:

“Damn her, lewd minx, damn her, damn her!

Come, go with me apart. I will withdraw

To furnish me with some swift means of death

Far that fair devil. Now art thou my lieutenant.”

(Act 3, scene 4, 540)

Here it shows that Othello is now starting to believe Iago. Another

time that Iago starts to make Othello believe even more that is wife is

unfaithful is when he tells Othello that he has overheard Cassio talking in his

sleep about Desdemona and that he has also noticed Cassio wiping his face with

the strawberry-embroidered handkerchief, that Othello had given to Desdemona for

his first present. This now where Othello is convinced that Desdemona has been

unfaithful, and vows revenge against Cassio and Desdemona. It is in this

scene that Iago implants the suspicions and jealousy in Othello’s head, which

tragically bring about the events in the play. It is also here, where

Desdemona tries to reconcile the differences between Othello and Cassio, in

which Othello sees them together and reinforces the allegations that Iago has

made to Othello. Iago helps by adding the gasoline to the fire when he tells

Othello about how Cassio and Desdemona have known each other for some time.

Othello is upset and vows revenge.

“Not with vain thanks but with acceptance bounteous,

And will upon the instant pit thee to’t

Within these three days let me hear thee say

That Cassio’s not alive.” (Act III, scene 4)

Iago also reminds Othello that Desdemona has also deceived her father,

her own flesh an blood, why not then lie to her husband. Othello then tells

Iago that he is bound to him forever for all that he has done for him. It is

made clear in this scene that Iago is honest and true man. A man of his word,

and for that Othello is forever indebted.

After the events of the loss of the handkerchief, shown clearly is the

anger of Othello when he asks Desdemona to produce the handkerchief. When she

can not, it is set in his mind that she has been deceitful. It does not help

the situation in any way that Desdemona lies about having the handkerchief, it

only adds to the fire that burns within Othello’s eyes.

Othello’s jealousy is the one flaw that brings him down the most. It is

not to say that with out Iago instigating all that he has that the situation

would have been better. But one can see that jealousy is the knife that stabs

himself. Othello is jealous of Desdemona and Cassio, which can be somewhat

understandable. It is known that Desdemona and Cassio have known each other for

sometime. It is known that Cassio has had a crush on Desdemona for awhile.

When Othello asks to see the handkerchief and she can’t show it to him, it makes

him wonder. When Iago is talking to Cassio about Desdemona, while Othello is

listening, he makes him wonder. When Cassio is caught with the handkerchief, it

makes Othello wonder. With all of these attributes and events, one can only be

jealous of Cassio and Desdemona. Othello has been manipulated in such a way by

Iago though, that he won’t even believe is own wife. Desdemona pleads with

Othello that she has been faithful and has done nothing wrong. It is Othello’s

jealousy and Iago’s malicious manipulating that leads to the death of all of

them. Even though Iago is the villain of all villains, Othello’s tragic flaw of

jealousy, leads to his downfall. Iago manipulates the characters and enrages

Othello’s fire of jealousy within himself. One can not only look at the

villainous plots of Iago, but also look at Othello’s impractical train of

thought and jealousy. Othello does not reason with anyone except Iago. This is

why Iago is the villain of all villains. This is why Othello’s jealousy can be

said to be his greatest downfall. Over the entire play, not only does Iago

become the antogonist that he is, but also Othello’s tragic flaw of jealousy

leads to his, Iago’s and innocent Desdemona. One can see why Othello, might be

Shakespeare’s most tragic plays.


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