Comparing the Downfalls of Sophocles' Oedipus and Shakespeare's Othello

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Oedipus and Othello were both honorable and heroic men that became the victims of tragic downfalls that can be compared and contrasted with each other. Sophocles, the writer of Oedipus the King, and Williams Shakespeare, the writer of Othello, were both enormously influential playwrights of their respective generations and their legacy continues today. The two playwrights made their masterpieces during different eras; Sophocles life coincided with the Golden Age of Greek tragedy and Shakespeare worked during the Elizabethian period. Despite being born about 2,000 years apart, their works are similar in that they could both describe and make the tragic downfalls of two distinguished men come to life. The downfalls of Othello and …show more content…

In the end, the investigation would prove costly when it would be responsible for revealing the truth behind his awful fate. Pride cannot be considered a tragic flaw because any man with the positions of either Othello or Oedipus would posses this trait, but it most definitely makes a fall from grace more difficult to cope with. Othello and Oedipus are traditional tragic heroes, because they both possess tragic flaws. Iago has no problem fitting Othello into his plot, the cause of Othello's downfall, because Othello is easily persuaded and has an unsuspecting nature. Iago was aware of this and expressed this knowledge in the quote, "The moor is of a free and open nature that thinks men that but seem to be so…" (Shakespeare line 442-443) Time and time again Othello believes Iago over anyone else and continuously gives into Iago's malicious traps. This quality is an encumbrance to Othello and is why he so easily believes Iago when he tells him of an untrue affair between Desdemona and Cassio. Using Othello's unsuspecting nature to his advantage, Iago compounds Othello's false beliefs by using beguiling evidence such as the handkerchief. Aso, he uses the description of Cassio's mingling with Bianca where Othello mistakenly thought he was talking about Desdemona to further Othello's beliefs. While Othello may have been too naïve, Oedipus was the antithesis.

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