Othello: Cathartic Speech

Topics: Othello, William Shakespeare, Tragedy Pages: 3 (965 words) Published: May 5, 2013
Othello Essay

Othello’s cathartic speech comes at the end of the play, after killing Desdemona and is prior to killing himself. The play, set in the 16th century, is one of William Shakespeare’s most famous tragedies. Othello’s final speech concludes his tragic destiny of the fallen hero, one who is most noble and brave but is destroyed by the fatal flaw that consumes him. The monologue raises several key issues. Othello as the tragic hero and a man in command are highlighted, specifically by his actions post monologue and throughout the play. Shakespeare’s tragic heroes all poses the same quality; the fatal flaw, which ultimately leads to their down fall and destruction. Similarly, Othello has a quality that reflects two of his most important relationships, his trust of his ancient and later Lieutenant, and the lack of trust in his wife. Ultimately, Othello’s cleansing speech at the end of the play reflects many issues that are highlighted throughout the play. Othello as the tragic hero has his command questioned and examined as he descends into darkness. “Speak of me as I am; nothing extenuate.” Othello’s plead to his audience in the monologue, is key to his remorse as the tragic hero who has fallen into darkness. As the commander that he was, able to defeat the Turkish army and defend Venice and Cyprus, he still begs to be remembered as what he is and what he has done at that moment and forever more, and not to be let free because of his heroic deeds and past as the “great Moor of Venice”. At the beginning of the play, Othello’s many epithets run along the lines of “the great Moor of Venice”, and “Noble Moor” and “Valiant Othello”. These are example to the tragic hero’s life before falling into darkness and being portrayed as the noble hero that he needs to be before falling. All these epithets define how we portray the heroic Othello as well as how the characters also portray him even as he descends into chaos, which are key to his command over the...
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