Othello: A Tragic Hero?
Considered by some to be one of the finest tragedies ever written, Shakespeare’s Othello tells the story of one man’s fall from happiness to utter despair. This is achieved by Othello’s fatal flaws – his jealousy and pride. Othello’s own fatal flaws lead him to his demise not Iago’s manipulation. This view point is supported in Professor Crawford’s article “Othello as a Tragic Hero.” In his article, Crawford conveys the idea that the misfortunes that befall Othello are cause because of Othello himself – drama of character – not by Iago or any outside social forces – drama of intrigue. Because of this Othello can be described as a drama of character meaning that it is an internal conflict within the main character Othello. Othello is the one at fault for the terrible events in the play.
In order to fully understand what a tragedy is one must understand the characteristics of what a tragedy and a tragic hero is according to Aristotle. Aristotle indicates that in order to be a tragic hero is not perfect; the character is fallible. The character’s fatal flaw or hamartia is the weakness that will ultimately lead to the character’s demise. And for a play to be a tragedy, the protagonist must be a person of high standing in society and that the character must fall from power and happiness in the end. This can be seen in Othello when at the beginning of the play, Othello is introduced as a great man of power and high status to the rest of the characters. This can be seen during Act I, Scene III, the duke and a couple of senators of Venice were discussing issues and when Othello enters the room and the senators say, “Here comes Barbantio and the valiant Moor” By saying this, the senators make it clear that they hold Othello in high esteem. Othello is known to the senators and the rest of the characters as a great war hero full of pride and courage. However, as the play progresses, Othello’s character begins to deteriorate. His character...
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