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Antagonism Between Heroes in Agamemnon and Othello Essay

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In Aeschylus’ Agamemnon, as well as, in Shakespeare’s Othello, the audience sees the tragic downfall of the protagonist, which is the question of fate or justice. If one refers to the titles of these plays; Agamemnon and Othello are the protagonists. First Agamemnon thinks more as a king than as a father, when he chooses to kill his daughter to take Troy. Then the general Othello commits suicide having assassinated his wife, whom he loved so much. Indeed, these changes from a good to a bad destiny are respectively the work of two characters: Clytaemnestra, Agamemnon’s wife and Iago, a soldier under Othello’s orders. They represent the “villains” who push “heroes” towards a fate that was not theirs at first, by setting up intelligent strategies. It is like if only imperfect protagonists could be capable of awakening pity and fear in the soul of the reader. To understand how these plots transport the reader until a dramatic end in both plays; this essay will debate around the different motivations and strategies used by Clytaemnestra and Iago to plan the tragic downfall and the misfortune of the protagonists.
First of all, to explain the notion of “hero” and “villain” it is indispensable to analyze their characters. Generally, the tragic hero is more than just a thoughtful leader; they use all their resources in order to care of their people. Unfortunately, one day their beautiful lives, values and real nature change. This description of the “typical tragic hero” clearly depicts the characterization of both Agamemnon and Othello. Agamemnon confirms to be a strong king by invading the province of Troy. At the end of the play, when he returns and speaks about war, he is proud about himself but maybe overly. Here, he reveals the bad s...


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...ey are surround by people like Iago or Clytaemnestra. One can notice how easy it is to manipulate people when they think to be in confidence. These plays were interesting to compare because even if they did not happen in the same era one can finds same topics within them like betrayal, manipulation, fate or jealousy. Indeed, to admit the guilt of protagonists does not discredit their status of tragic heroes. In the contrary, it makes them more human. It means that the “human nature” from “heroes” to “villains” does not really change, it is like if everywhere in the world such similar stories would happened but in different ways.





Works Cited

• Introduction to English Literature. Course Reader. Drama and Poetry. Ed. Patrick Vincent. NE. University of Neuchâtel
• Literature and Writing Workshop. Course Reader. NE. University of Neuchâtel
• Othello. The movie.


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