Tragic Flaws of Othello

Only available on StudyMode
  • Download(s): 1367
  • Published: December 3, 2001
Read full document
Text Preview
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 Senator Brabantio. In his defense, he associates himself with one of the "great ones" of the world. He also demonstrates confidence in himself and his actions when Brabantio, Desdemona's outraged father, accuses the Moor of witchcraft. Dignity, courage, a strong belief in religion, self-control and sound judgment is a few of Othello's other positive attributes portrayed in the play. His confidence in himself and his courage are clearly evident when Othello makes a stand before Brabantio, Roderigo and Iago, when following the drawing of their swords, Othello, as opposed to withdrawing in the face of danger taunts "Keep up your bright swords, for the dew will rust them." (1:2:25:76-77). Shakespeare continues to portray Othello as a well-respected nobleman throughout his play, from beginning to end. Shakespeare also shows a soft side when he displays Othello's love and confidence in his wife Desdemona. Othello entrusts his wife to the care of another gentleman, as he must go off to war in Cyprus. The entrusted man and his wife happen to be his good friend Iago and his wife Emilia. His trustworthiness makes him a greatly respected person. Through nobility, respect, love, and trust, Othello is considered to be an honorable and commendable man. However, Othello's background is unsophisticated, and often affects his attitude. Othello is a person who is innocent and base in nature. He was influenced by the way his life was going on. The people around Othello also knew of his attitude. Iago is very quick to see this. In his first soliloquy, Iago says, "the Moor is of a free and open nature that thinks men honest that but seem to be so." (1:3:55:442-443) Iago knew of Othello's weakness. Othello's innocence and baseness makes him susceptible to being undermined by people. Iago also reveals his plan to use the Moor's gullibility against him. Othello is clearly a person who believes appearances versus reality. When Othello was told about an affair between...
tracking img