Othello Tragic Hero

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Othello Tragic Hero

By | May 2011
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A tragedy concerns the fall of a great man due to some flaw in his character. What is Othello’s flaw, and explain how he is truly a tragic hero.

According to Aristotle, a tragic hero is a character of noble status and greatness. He is a man who is not entirely good or entirely evil, rather, he is a man who on the whole is good, but also contributes to his own destruction by some moral weaknesses, known as the fatal flaw. Aristotle further explains that the protagonist must be dominated by a ‘hamartia’ or tragic flaw which leads to his downfall. All tragedies have a hero with a flaw, and in the play Othello, the hero becomes transformed by his tragic flaws of jealousy and gullibility. Othello is the general in the army of Venice and is in love with Desdemona. He is a Moor of African descent, who has risen through the ranks of the Venetian army through hard work and success in battle. Othello is a cultural and racial outsider, often described as a ‘black ram’ or ‘moor’, and his relationship with Desdemona was not accepted by the society at the time, thus resulting in their actions to elope and get married. Othello is an admirable figure and despite of the colour of his skin, was respected by many people in the society.

In the play, Othello’s central flaw is jealousy, bringing about death and misunderstanding for many of the characters. His flaw of jealousy was exploited by Iago and manipulated through many incidental events. Othello is a very trusting and noble character and is regarded as Shakespeare’s most romantic character. Othello’s boundless love for Desdemona makes it unbearable for him to think of another man looking at her. Othello’s fatal flaw of jealousy is shown, as due to his suspicious and jealous nature, he believes everything Iago tells him about Cassio and Desdemona. Iago uses Othello’s great love through extreme manipulation to get Othello more and more jealous, this can be seen when Othello is slowly starting to believe Iago, “Damn her,...