William Shakespeare masterfully crafted Othello, the Moor of Venice as an Aristotelian tragedy play. The main protagonist of the play, Othello, is the perfect example of a tragic hero. Shakespeare was influenced by Aristotle’s concept of a tragic hero and used Aristotle’s principles to create Othello. William Shakespeare attempted to create an Aristotelian tragedy play with a tragic hero and succeeded in Othello, the Moor of Venice by weaving in pity and fear into each line and action. The power of pity and fear creates the upmost tragic situation and follows in accordance of Aristotle’s definition of tragedy. Othello makes the ultimate act as a tragic hero by killing himself at the end of the play. “Othello, more than any play in the canon, has a fascinating and contentious performance and reception history,” Aristotle constructs the definition of a tragedy and a tragic hero in the fourth century B.C. He defined tragedy with a well stated sentence which he said: Tragedy is an imitation of an action of high importance, complete and of some amplitude; in language enhanced by distinct and varying beauties; acted not narrated; by means of pity and fear effecting its purgation of these emotions. Aristotle sees tragedy of being made of pity and fear. When tragedies occur in people’s lives it appears fear and pity is always an accompanying trait. Aristotle finds these two emotions to be staples in creating the perfect tragedy play. A tragic hero is the direct spawn of creating a tragic play. Aristotle’s tragic hero is made up of three requirements. The protagonist of the play must be a person of high estate. This allows the protagonist to fall from power or happiness to create a tragedy. The next requirement is the protagonist mus... ... middle of paper ... ...68. Golden, Leon, “Othello, Hamlet, and Aristotelian Tragedy” Folger Shakespeare Library in association with George Washington University, http://www.jstor.org/stable/2869923. Kennedy, X. J., and Dana Gioia. Literature: an introduction to fiction, poetry, drama, and writing. 7th compact ed. /Interactive ed. Boston, Mass.: Pearson, 2012. Phillips, Adam. 2011. "Othello on Satisfaction." Raritan 31, no. 1: 50-69. America: History and Life with Full Text, EBSCOhost. Reeves, Charles H., “The Aristotelian Concept of the Tragic Hero,” The American Journal of Philology , Vol. 73, No. 2 (1952), The Johns Hopkins University Press, http://www.jstor.org/stable/291812. Seeff, Adele. "Othello at the Market Theatre." Shakespeare Bulletin 27.3, 2009, Academic OneFile. Shakespeare, William, Othello, the Moor of Venice, “First Folio,” Edward Blount and William and Isaac Jaggard, 1621.
Ladies and gentlemen of the jury, I am here today to argue the title of tragic hero in the play Antigone by Sophocles. I would like to start off by saying that it will be extremely difficult for me to have the passion that I usually have because of my client. My client's ruthless leadership disgusts me in the worst way. But I will still stand in front of you, the jury, and defend my client. As I said before I am here to argue the title of tragic hero in the play Antigone. I could see that some of you are dazzled by the word "tragic hero". No need to worry for I will enlighten you. The great Aristotle was one of the first men who defined a tragic hero. His definition is not a rule for what tragedy should be, but it is a description of what he believed tragedy was. According to Aristotle a tragic hero must have these qualities to qualify as one. A tragic hero is neither good nor bad. Along with being neutral in his stance, a tragic hero must also be born into royalty. A tragic hero could never be of the common folk. In addition to this a tragic hero must suffer a large fall from good grace. By this he means that a fall that brings him "down to earth". A tragic hero also has some type of flaw. Whether it is a character flaw such as pride and ego or the character must make an error of judgment or a mistake. With the tragic flaw the character must also recognize the flaw that they have made. In other words, they have to be enlightened. The audience is then supposed to feel pity and fear for the tragic hero because of his tumultuous journey. The tragic hero also is supposed to inspire catharsis in the audience.
In addition, Aristotle’s article was explaining what elements a tragedy had in it. He states “Tragedy is a form of drama exciting the emotions of pity and fear.” (Aristotle, 1). The character can’t be all good or all bad and the audience has to be able to connect with them. Aristotle states “The tragic flaw is having a lot of pride that causes the hero to ignore a divine warning or break a moral law.” (Aristotle, 1). A tragedy has six main parts to it, a plot, character, thought, diction, melody, and spectacle. “A tragic plot needs to be single and complex.” (Aristotle, 3). The character has a lot of characteristics in order to fit the requirements. First, “the character has to be good in some way. They need to act appropriate for their gender. They mus...
Aristotle’s Poetics is a “reservoir of the themes and schemes deployed in ancient Greek tragedy and poetry” (Poetics iii). Written around 330 B.C., it was the first work of literature to make a distinction amongst the various literary genres and provide a proper analysis of them. In Poetics, Aristotle places a big emphasis on the genre of tragedy. When one hears of the word tragedy, one already assumes that something bad has occurred to an individual and an immediate emotion of sorrow occurs, but how does Aristotle see tragedy? Aristotle gives us his formal definition of tragedy on page 10: “Tragedy is an imitation of an action that is serious, complete, and of a certain magnitude; in language embellished with each kind of artistic ornament, the several kinds being found in separate parts of the play; in the form of action; through pity and fear effecting the proper purgation of these emotions.” He goes on and explains all the components that make up tragedy. A tragedy must fall into two parts: complication and unraveling (also known as the denouement). Aristotle elaborates on that and speaks of four types of tragedy: “the Complex, depending entirely on Reversal of the Situation and Recognition; the Pathetic (where the motive is passion); the Ethical (where the motives are ethical). The fourth kind is the Simple.
A tale of duplicity and impetuosity, William Shakespeare’s play Othello brings to life a cast of complex characters. The leading character, Othello, whose undoing the piece recounts, proves to be the quintessential tragic hero by fulfilling all required elements necessary to be labeled as such. Aristotle defines a tragic hero as one of a noble stature who experiences misfortune and commits a culpable act as a result of his own free will; however, the misfortune is neither entirely deserved nor does it result in an absolute loss, as the hero experiences an awakening to the disagreeable facts while accepting defeat (Arp and Johnson). Othello, a vanguard of his day, is beguiled by a confidant and ensnared by the lies that ensue. This causes Othello great mental anguish. He is plagued with the question: Is his love unfaithful, or does she remain true? Eventually, unable to discern fact from fiction, Othello repudiates his bride and their recent marriage. Misplaced trust and a jealous heart soon cause Othello to lose his composure, his dignity, his most loyal counterpart, and ultimately his life.
Tragedy is an intrinsically human concept; tragic heroes are damned by what they themselves do. Othello is not so much felled by the actions of Iago, but by a quality all people possess-- human frailty. Accordingly, Othello is not a victim of consequences, but an active participant in his downfall. He is not merely a vehicle for the machinations of Iago; he had free agency. Othello's deficiencies are: an insecure grasp of Venetian social values; lack of critical intelligence, self-knowledge, and faith in his wife; and finally, insecurity-- these are the qualities that lead to his own downfall.
Tragic events can happen as a result of accidents, misunderstandings, or specific situations, hence, they relate little to others. However, tragedy is rooted in the order of our universe because it reveals hypothetical situations that can occur at any time or place. This feeling of uncertainty arouses feelings of pity and fear because we can imagine ourselves having to face tragedy. In Aristotle's Poetics, Aristotle defines tragedy as, “a representation of an action of serious stature and complete, having magnitude, in language made pleasing in distinct forms in its separate parts, imitating people acting and not using narration, accomplishing by means of pity and fear the cleansing of these states of feeling” (Aristotle, 26). A dramatic composition that captures the true essence of suffering and awakens our senses is one that Aristotle would call a tragedy worthy of our praise. He notes, “It is clear first that decent men ought not to be shown changing from good to bad fortune (since this is neither frightening nor pitiable but repellent) and people of bad character ought not to be shown changing from bad to good fortune (since this is the most untragic thing of all, for it has none of the things a tragedy needs, since it neither arouses love for humanity nor is it pitiable or frightening)” (Aristotle, 36).
Of Shakespeare’s five greatest tragedies, Othello is by far the most passionate and gripping. It is a tale of love, deception, evil, honesty, and virtue. Othello himself is set apart from other Shakespearean tragic heroes by the absolute feeling of affection the audience feels for him even unto the very end of the play. Any discerning reader painfully recognizes the virtue and goodness of Othello throughout the entire play, in contrast to the general degeneration of character so typical of a tragic hero. It is this complete pity that makes the death of Othello so tragic as the audience lends their full hopeful support until the inevitable and unavoidable fall. The evil side of Othello’s tragic flaw came from without, in the form of Iago. The internal flaw exists only in his heartrendingly unshakable goodness and honor.
Othello is a classic Greek tragedy because it abides by Aristotle's definition of great tragedies, the place, time, and focus of a single plot throughout the entirety of the play. Othello is a tragic hero whose demise is brought forth by his own tragic flaw. He is susceptible to the manipulation of others do to his own insecurity with himself, and ultimately leads to his irrational murder of the only thing he treasured, Desdemona. Through manipulation and deception, Iago is able to become the puppeteer of Othello's life, controlling the course of his fate in a sense simply through the power of words. Iago proves to be a crucial factor in the destruction of Othello's world.
“Tragedy is an imitation of an action of high importance . . .” states Aristotle in his book Poetics (as cited in Kennedy & Gioia, 2010). Without a doubt, he observed and analyzed countless plays throughout his life and in Poetics, he writes a broad description of what a tragedy should contain (Kennedy & Gioia). Specifically, to Aristotle, tragedies require a “Tragic Hero.” What makes this literary character unique from the other heroes of literature? The most obvious and central difference is that the hero in question always experiences a disastrous reversal of fortune, which follows the recognition of a previously unknown truth (Kennedy & Gioia). He must be “a man not preeminently virtuous or just” (Poetics part XIII, trans. 1909), yet he still must be a “good person” whom the audience grows to respect and because of this, deeply pities and fears for throughout the play (Poetics part XIII). Despite being a person of high estate and influence, surprisingly, the hero in the Greek tragedy is someone we can relate to in his humanness. Furthermore, his fall “from happiness into misery” is “brought upon him not by vice or depravity but by some error of judgment” (Poetics part XIII)—his hamartia. The Oxford English Dictionary translates this Greek word as, “The fault or error, which entails the destruction of the tragic hero” (Oxford English Dictionary, 1989).
There are several essential elements that must be presented in a Shakespearean play in order to classify the piece as a true tragedy. Most importantly the tragedy must have a virtuous, noble protagonist who possesses a flaw, not a character defect, which will ultimately lead to his downfall or death. Another important detail is that the audience will have an emotional catharsis of pity and terror as the events of the play unfold. The work must also embellish language, and the tragedy will be presented as an action with a realistic plot. Shakespeare's Othello brilliantly encompasses all of these essential elements and introduces the world to perhaps the greatest tragic hero of all time, Othello, the Moor of Venice.
Tragic heroes tend to have very pre-determined paths; usually making the most virtuous of characters destined to suffer. The hamartia or ‘tragic flaw’ is the typical reason the hero falls. Shakespeare was noted to be one of the best writers of tragedies, one of his most prominent to be Othello. In Othello, we find a number of tragic flaws two including pride and ambition. In William Shakespeare’s play, Othello, pride and ambition are used to identify the outcomes for the main characters in the play when seeing the resolution of the play, perceiving those who survive and those who don’t, and considering each character’s role in the turn of events.
In the play “Othello” by William Shakespeare love, jealousy, and conspiracy defined the tone of the play. Desdemona’s beauty makes two men fall desperate in love with her, but their differences make Othello the tragic hero of the play and Iago the despicable villain. Othello is a "tragic hero" because of his self-centered nature and his gullibility. Othello also has a noble stature and a high position in his culture. Othello is great and an honest solder but not perfect He also allows himself to be manipulated by other people for instance, Iago instead of trusting his own heart Othello easily believe other people or his friends. Othello is a tragic hero because he is noble, he suffers from a fatal tragic events and he goes through a tragic downfall. Iago is an envious and resentful men whose ambition is to have everything that belongs to Othello. Iago’s ambition is to obtain Othello’s position, love, and fortune. Although, Othello kills his wife Desdemona, Iago is responsible for her death, and the downfall of Othello and himself.
Throughout time, the tragedy has been seen as the most emotionally pleasing form of drama, because of its ability to bring the viewer into the drama and feel for the characters, especially the tragic hero. This analysis of tragedy was formed by the Greek philosopher Aristotle, and also noted in his Poetics (guidelines to drama). As a playwright, Shakespeare used Aristotle’s guidelines to tragedy when writing Othello. The play that was created revolved around the tragic hero, Othello, whose tragic flaw transformed him from a nobleman, into a destructive creature, which would inevitably bring him to his downfall. This transformation follows an organic movement of the complex plot from the beginning, middle, to the end of the drama while keeping the tragic hero consistent and also real. As the play moves on the audience feels pity for the tragic hero as well as fear for themselves as they watch the event taking place on stage. Othello can be seen as one of Shakespeare’s greatest tragedies, because it follows the guidelines set up by Aristotle’s Poetics.
Aristotle also says that in order to have the finest tragedy the plot must be complex and must imitate actions arousing fear and pity - the distinctive function of this sort of imitation. He reasons that there are three kinds of plot to avoid. First, to be avoided is that a good man must not be seen going from happiness to misery because it is repellant. Second, a bad man cannot go from misery to happiness because it does not appeal to our human...
A modern tragedy of today and a tragedy of ancient Greece are two very different concepts, but ironically, both are linked by many similarities. In “Poetics”, Aristotle defines and outlines tragedy for theatre in a way that displays his genius, but raises questions and creates controversy. Aristotle’s famous definition of tragedy states: