Within the drama, “The Tragedy of Othello”, Othello maintains a vital role in the plot within Shakespeare’s writing. Othello held a prominent role in society as a general for Venice and was both physically and psychologically respected in his community. However, during the drama Othello makes an important decision by choosing to murder Desdemona even with no clear proof; this action would affect Othello greatly as the drama transpired. Throughout Shakespeare’s script, Othello is continuously manipulated by Iago which ultimately results in not only the death of Desdemona but also the death of Othello himself. All of his actions would play a part in the overall analyzation of Othello; a tragic hero.
Iago controls Emilia and treats her as less when she does not act as a submissive wife. Therefore, Emilia follows to keep Iago satisfy. Further, Iago tells Emilia to steal the handkerchief; which she follows without knowing his intentions, to then be insulted by Iago calling her a “foolish wife” (3.3.313), and demanding her, “Go, leave me” (3.3.330). Apparently, Iago makes Emilia lesser, and she accepts her role as a submissive wife. Moreover, although Othello proclaims loving Desdemona, he perceives her as inferior as a result of jealousy. As in Act 5, Scene 2 where Othello says to Desdemona, “Down, strumpet!” (89), suggesting that he puts her in an inferior position to kill her reflecting his true perception of Desdemona. And likewise Emilia, Desdemona accepts the role of an obedient wife by using her last breath to take the fault off Othello
Tragic Heros and Their Downfalls in “Othello” Northrop Frye once said, “Tragic heroes are so much the highest points in their human landscape that they seem the inevitable conductors of the power about them, great trees more likely to be struck by lightning than a clump of grass. Conductors may of course be instruments as well as victims of the divisive lightning.” Othello is the pillar of tragic heros, first playing the part of a loving husband with a beautiful wife, then being manipulated into believing his wife was cheating on him and killing her. Throughout the play, he played the part of the protagonist, everyone hoping he would figure out Iago was lying to him.
Now, when Othello and Desdemona, get the hesitant approval of their marriage by Desdemona’s father by blessing their marriage, the Father of Desdemona says “She has deceived her father, and may thee (Act 1, 3, 294).” This may not at first give Othello concern that his wife might cheat on him, but later with the help of Iago’s lies, this line becomes more relevant to Othello, giving him the idea that Desdemona may not always stay loyal. Now here Othello has some proof, of Desdemona’s betrayal but it is not very strong proof, at lest not enough to go to the extreme the Othello went to. Now, Iago also makes h...
The trait in which impacts Othello’s tragic hero status is society had to suffer from what he did once he killed Desdemona. The reason this specific downfall impacted Othello’s tragic hero status, was because everyone that knew him thought that he was kind, noble and not even capable of doing harm to any. For instance when Lodvico was talking to Iago and he states, “Is this the noble Moor whom our full Senate call all in all sufficient? Is this the nature that passion could not shake? Whose solid virtue the shot of accident nor dart chance could neither graze nor pierce?” (4.1.259-264). The way in which Othello fulfills the qualifications of a tragic hero was in the beginning of the play. When Brabanito wants to take Othello to the Duke while he explains how honorable and noble Othello really is. Othello then goes off to encounter his downfall, which is his own fault, due to constant manipulation by Iago.
A tragic hero is a character who commits an action or makes a mistake which eventually leads to their defeat. He/She has heroic qualities but are doomed to face long lasting consequences due to their own character flaw. In Othello, Shakespeare portrays Othello as a tragic hero because he has a noble stature and his "flaw" is that he is credulous which I believe will lead to his downfall. Othello believes people are exactly who they appear to be. Furthermore, since Othello is extremely gullible, Iago is easily able to manipulate him. For example, Iago tells of the Othello "look to your wife, observe her well with Cassio; wear your eyes thus" (3.3.228-229). Iago is putting thoughts into of the Othello's mind by saying that Desdemona is unfaithful.
When one hears the word tragedy, one can assume that the human emotions are responsible for the collapse of an individual. To the Greek philosopher Aristotle, however, a tragedy is “an imitation of an action of high importance…in language enhanced by distinct and varying beauties…[or] by means of pity and fear effecting its purgation of these emotions” (Kennedy & Gioia, 945). He defined a tragic hero as having three common characteristics: hamartia, or the tragic flaw in the character which coupled with hubris (pride which results in overconfidence) causes his downfall and demise; katharsis, the purgation of the audience’s emotions, which causes the audience to feel “not depressed, but somehow elated”; and anagnorisis, or the recognition of some fact not previously realized by the true identity of the main character (Kennedy & Gioia, 946). Therefore, as defined by Aristotle’s concept of tragedy, William Shakespeare’s Othello could be classified as a tragic hero. Shakespeare’s play includes jealousy and intrigue, which intertwined with pride and suspense create the finest of Aristotelian tragedies. Othello complies with the requirements for a tragic hero as Aristotle began with the premise that the hero must be of “high estate,” as if he were the member of a royal family; however, he yet falls from a hierarchy of power to one of abashment. He has married the daughter of a Venetian nobleman. He starts out well, but his end is one of drama. Moreover, Shakespeare’s plot develops as Othello’s katharsis is revealed through the climax and conclusion of the play, while the anagnorisis with the recognition that Iago was a traitor and Desdemona his innocent victim.
Emilia has a fierce sense of loyalty. After Desdemona’s death she catches wind of Iago’s malicious scheme, and swears that, “I’ll make [Iago’s scheme] known,/ Though I lost twenty lives” (V.ii.87). Emilia had been a close friend of Desdemona’s throughout the play, and her death had a large impact on Emilia, who thought nothing but kindness and virtue of her late friend. Even when Othello tries convincing Emilia that “[Desdemona] turn’d to folly, and she was a whore” (V.ii.85), Emilia stays adamant on the fact that Desdemona would never cheat. Up until the point that Iago murders her, Emilia fights for the truth and defends her friend with a sense of loyalty unfathomable
Of all of Shakespeare villains and heroes none compare to that of the play Othello, with all the mistrust and false identities that each character presents. In the play Othello we are introduced to a myriad of characters that are all unique in their own way. Of all the characters we see in the play the reader is only introduced to a handful of character’s whose motivation become clear. While Iago’s actions are motivated from revenge, the actions themselves can be forgiven as he acts in what he believes is correct, while Othello and Desdemona who are motivated by justice and forgiveness act only on emotion regardless if they feel it to be correct.
Desdemona is a stunning, youthful, white, Venetian debutante. She is her father's pride and joy, but she refuses to marry any of the rich, handsome Venetian men that her surroundings expects her to spend the rest of her life with. Instead, she elopes with Othello – an older black man, an outsider to Venetian society. Turns out, this is a pretty intrepid move – Desdemona not only defies her father's expectations (that she marry a white man of his choosing), she also thumbs her nose at a society that largely disapproves of interracial marriages. In this way, Desdemona's relationship with Othello speaks to the play's concerns with Sixteenth Century attitudes about sex, gender, and race. Desdemona withholds many attributes to the play Othello by Shakespeare. She leads on a perfect life, as the perfect woman, but will it last forever?