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Tragic Flaws of Othello

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Tragic Flaws of Othello

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  • December 3, 2001
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Jealousy and Gullibility:
The Devastating Flaws of Othello
By: Ryan Mongon

"The tragic flaw is the most important part of the hero and the events that occur in the work is a reflection of that flaw." – Aristotle The plot of William Shakespeare's Othello is a tale of love, jealousy, and betrayal; however, the characters, themes, and attitudes of the works are different, with Shakespeare's play being a more involved study of human nature and psychology. Othello is considered to be a prime example of Aristotelian drama. It focuses upon a very small cast of characters, one of the smallest used in Shakespeare. Also, it has few distractions from the main plot, and concentrates on just a few themes, like jealousy. In Shakespeare's Othello, Othello is an excellent example of an Aristotelian tragic hero. His gullibility and jealousy are the main reason of his downfall. Othello deals with love lost because of gullibility and jealousy. The main character, Othello, is a classical example of a tragic hero, and he has the basic elements that match him up to be a true hero defined by Aristotle. His stature, that of a tall, dark, African Moor, combined with his personal magnetism, assist him in gaining the respect and allegiance of the Venetian people and senators. Othello, being a soldier all his life, is seen as a very honorable man. His title alone, governor-general, presents an air of nobility, confidence, and strength. The title defines someone who is held in tremendously high esteem by the people of Venice. An example would be when the Duke and a few Senators are discussing issues around a table when Othello enters the room. It's clear that Othello is held in high esteem when, as he enters, one of the senators states "Here comes Brabantio and the valiant Moor"(3:1:33: 55). Othello's confidence in himself, another of his positive attributes, is clearly portrayed as he defends himself and his recent marriage to Desdemona, the daughter of the Venetian...