Essay on Othello - The Greatest Tragedy

Essay on Othello - The Greatest Tragedy

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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 &...


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... 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.


	

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