An Aristotelian Analysis of Othello

1922 Words Aug 1st, 2014 8 Pages
Hansen Jiang
Ms. Prendi
ENG3U1
July 19, 2014
An Aristotelian Analysis of Othello

A tragedy is an event causing great suffering, destruction, and distress. Considering Aristotelian beliefs, a tragic hero is a great character whose character flaws eventually lead to their fall. Aristotle’s writing is indicative of what he believed to be a tragic hero, and the character Othello possesses each quality, meaning he is a successfully written tragic hero. He is of high status and nobility, both in position and character. However, this status does not make him perfect- he has flaws. As well, Othello has tragic flaws, which lead to his downfall and make it partially his fault. However, the tragedy which ensues is not entirely of loss, as the
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He reveals this when Iago pushes him to believe of Desdemona’s infidelity- “Haply, for I am black and have not those soft parts of conversation that chamberers have, or for I am declined into the vale of years—yet that’s not much—” (III.iii.304-07). These insecurities prove Othello to be an imperfect character, and in his imperfections we can connect to him.
As a result of these imperfections, Othello’s downfall is not entirely attributed to Iago, but also to himself. Othello’s hamartia, or tragic flaw, leads to a series of tragedies which he himself causes. The story of Othello reveals that the character has multiple tragic flaws. One of the major ones is his poor sense of judgement. Othello trusts “Honest Iago” (I.iii.336) because of Iago’s clever wording and acting. He believes Iago is telling the truth though he may not be, and trusts his word beyond his trust for others, such as Cassio, or even his love for Desdemona. As well, he constantly reminds Iago and the audience of his trust- “A man he is of honesty and trust.” (I.iii.323), “Iago is most honest.” (II.iii.7), “Thy honesty and love doth mince this matter” (II.iii.263), “And for I know thou’rt full of love and honesty” (III.iii.136), “O brave Iago, honest and just,” (V.i.34), etc. Iago explores Othello’s insecurities, and Othello’s willingness to believe Iago is, at the very least, partially his own fault. Another tragic flaw Othello suffers is a result of trusting Iago- his insecurities and his
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