A Shakespearean tragedy is one that encompasses many different elements. Shakespeare presents all of these elements spectacularly in Othello. For a tragedy to occur there are five conditions. The protagonist, Othello in this case, must experience a death or a total loss of ranking in society. The audience must also be captured by the actors and feel some sort of connection to them. This is known as catharsis. In Shakespearean tragedies the protagonist always has a character defect or a tragic flaw. This tragic flaw along with pride will cause the protagonist to make an error in judgement leading him to his downfall and eventual death. These two elements are called hubris and
hamartia. The unities of time, space, and action must also be followed. This means that the play must take place in a very short period of time, occur in one general area, and follow one main character throughout the play. Shakespeare orates for us a tragic occurrence in the life of a man who once had it all, throws it all away in a fit of jealous rage .
The downfall of the central character is the main concept of the tragedy. Without the main character’s downfall there is no reason for the reader to feel pity, therefore, no tragedy. The downfall of the protagonist in Shakespearean tragedies always originates from their tragic flaw. Othello’s tragic flaw is his jealousy, which Iago constantly reminds him about. This is first brought about in act III, scene 3 when Iago asks Othello if he has "Seen a handkerchief spotted with strawberries… did I today see Cassio wipe his beard with" (III, 3, 431-432/435-436). At this point Othello is jealous at Cassio for having won the heart of Desdemona and earned the handkerchief. Upon hearing this Othello flies into a mad fit by saying "O, that the slave had forty thousand lives!" (III, 3, 439). By his jealousy Othello makes himself very prone to many attacks on him by Iago.
Catharsis is the part of the play that moves the audience and attempts to put them in the actor’s shoes. Shakespeare does this by attacking the issue of love. It is a very touchy and emotional subject. Anyone who has ever fallen in love can relate to Othello and Desdemona. They are viewed as the perfect newly-weds who have each other as compliments. Desdemona shows us this by protesting to the Duke and her father that she &...
... middle of paper ...
... many readers would believe the title could be Iago and not Othello. Although Iago is not the "good guy" he is in the play just as much or even more than Othello. At the beginning of the play Iago is present and Othello is absent. This is how it is many scenes are in the play. Although Othello is regarded as one of Shakespeare’s best tragedies, there is still contradicting evidence against this.
Many scholars acclaim Othello as Shakespeare’s most perfect tragedy because it encompasses all of the elements of a tragedy so wonderfully. The love shared between Othello and Desdemona at the beginning of the play is so much more spectacular than that of Claudius and Gertrude in Hamlet or Macbeth and Lady Macbeth in Macbeth. The guilt and wrong felt by Othello after he realizes his errors in judgement is uncomparable to the drama in Shakespeare’s other tragedies. Any audience viewing Othello for the first time would be captured by the characters because of their relation to the audience. Any experienced Shakespeare reader would have no problem giving Othello the title of most perfect tragedy because it covers all of the elements of a tragedy so wonderfully.
Need Writing Help?
Get feedback on grammar, clarity, concision and logic instantly.Check your paper »
- 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.... [tags: othello]
1584 words (4.5 pages)
- Othello, the Moor of Venice published in 1622 by William Shakespeare, one of the greatest writers known in English literature. Othello has been said to be of the most touching and intimate of Shakespeare tragedies. The source of Othello comes from Girald Cirthio’s Tall of the Moor, considering the modification of a few details, this was a manifestation of Shakespeare’s ability to take a reputable story and elevate it into poetic tragedy (Cahn 106). Othello is the story of love, deception, and power.... [tags: othello]
806 words (2.3 pages)
- Othello and Desdemona In the play, The Tragedy of Othello, Shakespeare really tests our conception as to what love is, and where it can or can't exist. Judging from the relationship between Desdemona and Othello, the play seems to say that marriage based on an innocent romantic love or profane love is bound to fail. Shakespeare is pessimistic about the existence and survival of a true type of love. There is a common thread of betrayal and deceit among his female characters, especially. Othello and Desdemona, as portrayed in the play, are the two greatest innocents there ever were.... [tags: GCSE Coursework Shakespeare Othello]
1464 words (4.2 pages)
- The Reputation of Othello Where in the rankings does this Shakespearean tragedy stand. This essay will explore the answer to this question by considering professional literary commentary. Francis Ferguson in “Two Worldviews Echo Each Other” ranks the play Othello quite high among the Bard’s tragedies: Othello, written in 1604, is one of the masterpieces of Shakespeare’s “tragic period.” In splendor of language, and in the sheer power of the story, it belongs with the greatest.... [tags: Othello essays]
1350 words (3.9 pages)
- Othello – It Ranks High or Low? William Shakespeare’s tragic drama Othello has been given high marks by some critics and low marks by others. Let us elaborate on this problem in this essay. In the volume Shakespeare and Tragedy John Bayley explains why the modern audience feels so exasperated when viewing this play: But Othello is not freed by this sense of his own situation: he has been caught in it as if in a snare. And instead of being freed by the hero’s consciousness of things, and sharing it with him, we are forced to stand outside Othello’s delusion.... [tags: Othello essays]
2432 words (6.9 pages)
- Othello’s Ranking Now and Then From Burbage’s day till the present, the Shakespearean drama Othello has ranked high on the charts. But how high. And when. And why. Kenneth Muir, in the Introduction to William Shakespeare: Othello, explains the popularity which this play had at the time of its creation: Richard Burbage, the leading actor in Shakespeare’s company, played the part of the ‘grieved Moor’ and it was one of his greatest successes. We are told by Shakespeare’s neighbor, Leonard Digges, that audiences were bored with Jonson’s tragedies: They prized more Honest Iago, or the jealous Moor.... [tags: Othello essays]
2464 words (7 pages)
- Othello – How it Ranks In the context of thousands of plays written by hundreds of dramatists since 500 years prior to the time of Christ, how does William Shakespeare’s play Othello rank. In this essay let us find the proper place for this play, and consider critical opinion in the process. Othello would appear to have a beauty about it which is hard to match – thus ranking high. Helen Gardner in “Othello: A Tragedy of Beauty and Fortune” touches on this beauty which enables this play to stand above the other tragedies of the Bard: Among the tragedies of Shakespeare Othello is supreme in one quality: beauty.... [tags: Othello essays]
2161 words (6.2 pages)
- Othello’s Universality of Appeal The Shakespearean play Othello has enjoyed popularity on the stage and in print for 400 years. What are the features which enhance this quality among readers. And what detracts. Does the playwright’s use of “double time” contribute to its universality of appeal. In The Riverside Shakespeare Frank Kermode explains the advantages of “double time” to Shakespeare: “Double time” is a classical topic of Othello criticism; one of its uses is to remind us that the play, more largely considered, is characterized by a kind of imaginative duplicity.... [tags: Othello essays]
3053 words (8.7 pages)
- Othello – its Appeal Let us examine the William Shakespeare drama Othello for the purpose of determining exactly what characteristics of the play are the outstanding ones which give it such universal appeal. Othello would appear to have a beauty about it which is hard to match. Helen Gardner in “Othello: A Tragedy of Beauty and Fortune” touches on this beauty which enables this play to stand above the other tragedies of the Bard: Among the tragedies of Shakespeare Othello is supreme in one quality: beauty.... [tags: Othello essays]
2192 words (6.3 pages)
- Rating Othello Is this Shakespearean tragedy Othello at the top of the rating chart, or is it just near the top. And why. This essay intends to examine various aspects of this subject, along with critical opinion. This play ranks near the top. The Bard’s presentation of emotions, character, of good and evil actions that are down-to-earth – these are sometimes seen as the main reasons for the high ranking of Othello. Louis B. Wright and Virginia A. LaMar in “The Engaging Qualities of Othello” maintain that the popularity of this play has been consistent for about 400 years because it treats emotions that are universal and persistent in human nature.... [tags: Othello essays]
1394 words (4 pages)