Comparision of the tragic characters in Othello and King Lear in accordance with aspects of a tragic character.

1823 Words Dec 2nd, 2003 8 Pages
The Greek philosopher Aristotle set forth the guidelines for a tragedy in his work Poetics. According to Aristotle, the tragic character in a tragedy is a person, not all good or bad, who begins in a rank of high degree and importance and then experiences a downfall due to a tragic flaw. In the end of most tragedies, the character comes to a realization of his flaw after enduring a great deal of suffering. William Shakespeare, an English playwright of the 17th century, composed many tragedies, including King Lear and Othello, which exemplified the characteristics of a tragic hero outlined by Aristotle. The main characters in King Lear and Othello share many of the traits essential to tragic characters, yet they differ in their specific …show more content…
The pride held by Othello and Lear leads to further pride in others. They gain a sense that others would have no reason to do them harm which leads them both to deceit and poor judgment. Because Othello thinks highly of himself, he believes others will do the same; his open and trusting nature allows Iago to take advantage of him. Othello is constantly referring to Iago as "Honest Iago" and entrusting him with important duties, such as attending to his wife when he leaves for Cyprus. Iago scoffs at Othello's trust in him and shows intention of deceit:

The Moor is of a free and open nature,

That thinks men honest that but seem to be so,

And will as tenderly be led by the nose

As asses are. (Othello, I.iii.442-445)

Iago insults Othello by comparing him to a submissive donkey, and he displays an intent of deceiving Othello in this simile. Lear's pride, like Othello's, causes him to trust others who plan on deceiving him. Two of his daughters, Goneril and Regan, gain Lear's trust through their flattering formalistic love speeches by playing into his pride and boosting his self-image. Lear is unsuspecting of the daughters' plot against him, and the two go on to take advantage of their father's poor judgment. Lear trustingly divides his kingdom between them, giving up his power and entrusting his well being into the hands of these malicious characters. Goneril

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