Othello is Not a Tragic Hero Essay

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Othello has been described as one of William Shakespeare’s most popular plays because the play focuses on its themes of good and evil, military, politics, love and marriage, religion, racial prejudice, gender conflict, and sexuality; but the controversy and debate surrounding Othello is “Why is Othello a qualification for a tragedy?” Most readers are aware of the many famous deaths or acts of death within the Shakespearean plays. And when the main characters die in Shakespeare’s plays, indeed, the readers would categorize the play as a tragedy. The problem with any tragedy definition is that most tragic plays do not define the tragedy conditions explained or outlined by Aristotle. According to Telford (1961), a tragedy is a literary…show more content…
A “tragedy, for Shakespeare, is the genre of uncompensated suffering” (Dutton and Howard, 2003, p. 9). To really understand the play Othello is to truly understand a tragedy; thus, this researcher will analyze Aristotle’s view point and compare it to phrases (or quotes) from Shakespeare’s Othello. In Othello, the plot meets the definition of both Aristotle and Shakespeare on a tragedy. Aristotle believed that the plot is the most important element in a play and that plot also clearly points out the problem of any characters to be solved. However, the protagonist of the tragedy play only partially meets the definition of Aristotle’s tragic hero. The play is set in Venice and Cyprus where a Moor, Othello, General of the Venetian army gets secretly married to a Venetian nobleman’s daughter, Desdemona. During the play Iago manipulates Othello because Lieutenant Cassio was promoted ahead of him, and also because he suspects that Othello has had an affair with his wife. “And it is thought abroad that twixt my sheets He’s done my office. I know not if’t be true; But I, for mere suspicion in that kind, Will do as if for surety” (2.1. 364-367). Iago is an interesting individual and a mystery, because he conceals his secret jealousy and hatred towards Othello, while setting in motion his dubious plot of lies and deceit. Through this Othello begins to believe that Desdemona is unfaithful and murders her. When Othello finds out

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