A Scrutiny of Othello's Character as a Tragic Hero

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In Othello, the Moor of Venice, the titular character, Othello, is the protagonist and subject to scrutiny as to whether or not he is a tragic hero in the conventional Aristotelian definition of the term. Aristotle believed a tragedy served to exercise "the mature citizen's moral sensibilities" (Ferrari, 1999, p. 181). There are several different components of Aristotle's definition of a tragic hero, which essentially serve as a set of criteria to determine whether or not Othello truly is a tragic hero and, by extension, determine whether or not this play is a conventional Aristotelian tragedy. A thorough analysis of Aristotle's definition of the term when applied to Othello, however, reveals that his characterization is not congruent with that of a tragic hero since he displays a number of characteristics that are ill befitting of such figures which means this play is not an Aristotelian tragedy. One of the primary facets of the definition of a tragic hero is that he or she is not an ordinary person, but rather an extraordinary one due, in no small part, to his or her noble birth. As such, tragedies depict "good men" (Reeves, 1952, p.172). Othello, however, does not hail from such a noble lineage, which the reader knows due to the fact that he is a Moor employed in the Venetian military. Although Othello is a fairly high-ranking general in this army, he does not descend from a noble birth and earned his ranking from sheer hard work and through many trials in service. The

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