Shakespeare's Use of Aristotle's Guidelines to Tragedy in Creating the Play Othello

Shakespeare's Use of Aristotle's Guidelines to Tragedy in Creating the Play Othello

Length: 1584 words (4.5 double-spaced pages)

Rating: Powerful Essays

Open Document

Essay Preview

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.
As Aristotle’s Poetics states; a tragedy is an imitation of an action of men that is serious and also having magnitude that arouse pity and fear where with to accomplish the catharsis of those emotions. With this definition of a tragedy he also stated the components of the tragedy, ranking them in importance. The first was the plot, which had a recognition scene, the tragic hero’s reversal of fortune, and also a scene of suffering. The plot must have unity and also relate universally to the audience while also being probable. Ranked second was character, which was used to support the plot and bring an organic movement from beginning to end. The main component of character was the tr...

... middle of paper ...

...e and gullibillity are shown as he says “Ay, ‘twas he that told me on her first./ An honest man he is, and hates the slime/ That sticks on filthy deeds./” (5, 2, 179-81) Though Othello’s tragic flaw is exploited completely by Iago until the end of the play, Othello finally realizes that he has been decieved and states “Where a malignatnt and a turbanned Turk/ Beat a Venetian and traduced the state,/ I took by th’ throat the circumsicised dog,/ And smote him thus./” (5, 2, 414-17) Which can be seen as Othello’s recognition and also the killing of the monster that he has become. In a sense, his monologue is stating that he is not killing the real Othello but actuall the “turbanned Turk” that he has become. This last scene is what finally achieves the catharsis of the play.
This catharsis that is achieved is one of pity towards the tragic and fear for ones’ own life.

Need Writing Help?

Get feedback on grammar, clarity, concision and logic instantly.

Check your paper »

The Tragedy of Othello Essay

- 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....   [tags: Othello Essays]

Powerful Essays
1286 words (3.7 pages)

The Tragedy Of Romeo And Juliet, Julius Caesar, Hamlet, And Othello Essay

- Causes of Tragedy in Romeo and Juliet, Julius Caesar, Hamlet, and Othello A tragedy, as outlined in Aristotle’s Poetics, is a result of a chain of cause and effect that leads to the fall of a tragic hero from happiness and can be found in Shakespeare’s tragedies. This essay will focus on causes found in four of those tragedies: Romeo and Juliet, Julius Caesar, Hamlet, and Othello, each of which includes the fall of aristocratic or royal heroes through external forces such as familial interference, friends, acquaintances, and supernatural interference from ghosts....   [tags: Tragedy, Othello, William Shakespeare]

Powerful Essays
1062 words (3 pages)

Othello is Not a Tragic Hero Essay

- Othello has been described as one of William Shakespeare’s most popular plays because the play focuses on its themes of good and evil, military, politics, love and marriage, religion, racial prejudice, gender conflict, and sexuality; but the controversy and debate surrounding Othello is “Why is Othello a qualification for a tragedy?” Most readers are aware of the many famous deaths or acts of death within the Shakespearean plays. And when the main characters die in Shakespeare’s plays, indeed, the readers would categorize the play as a tragedy....   [tags: Othello Essays]

Powerful Essays
1483 words (4.2 pages)

To What Extent are ‘Othello’ and 'Oedipus Rex' Perfect Examples of Tragedy

- ‘Othello’ was written between 1601 and 1603. It was first performed in the Elizabethan courts during the Christmas season. The idea of a ‘perfect’ tragedy is the idea that the tragedy is faultless; it does what is expected; so makes the audience feel empathy and sympathy for the characters who suffer. There are two different types of tragedy: classical tragedy and Shakespearean tragedy. The tragic hero in this play is the main character, Othello. Othello's misfortune comes about because of his jealousy, trust, and his pride....   [tags: Othello, Tragedy, shakespeare, theatre, Oedipus Re]

Powerful Essays
1157 words (3.3 pages)

The Tragic Hero Of Othello By William Shakespeare Essay

- In the fourth century, ancient Greek philosopher, Aristotle, defined the elements of tragedy in Poetics, the first book of literary criticism. He establishes the tragic plot by four components: hamartia, peripety, anagnorisis and catastrophe. Guiding the plot of a tragedy is a tragic hero, who Aristotle identifies with four qualities: a sympathetic character, realistic enough to be relevant to audiences, singular in purpose and appropriate behavior to his station in life. As few works can be correctly dubbed a tragedy, famed English playwright William Shakespeare’s drama, Othello, satisfies all elements....   [tags: Tragedy, Othello, Tragic hero]

Powerful Essays
950 words (2.7 pages)

Essay on Othello : The Moor Of Venice

- Introduction In William Shakespeare’s play “Othello: The Moor of Venice” we are introduced to a man named Othello, a foreign solider in the Italian army. He is a solider of high rank and leader of the Venetian army who leads the troops to battle in Cyprus against the Turks. Despite his high opinion of himself and his character he has a few ultimately fatal character flaws that bring him to make some very poor decisions. These decisions take him down a path he doesn’t return from. In a fit of jealous rage, and because of his own feelings of embarrassment and insecurity, he chooses to end the life of his new wife and then ultimately himself....   [tags: Othello, Tragedy, Iago, Tragic hero]

Powerful Essays
1177 words (3.4 pages)

Othello, By William Shakespeare Essay

- “Trifles light as air / Are to the jealous confirmations strong / As proofs of holy writ.” (Shakespeare I.iii. 370-372). This quote spoken by Iago, the antagonist in Shakespeare’s Aristotelian tragedy Othello, depicts the Moor’s tragic flaw of jealousy, which is displayed throughout the play. The Moor is Othello, the perceived protagonist in this story as he is the character who is the subject of Iago’s devious plans. In Othello, Othello is the honoured general of the Venetian army who promotes another man to the position of Lieutenant instead of Iago....   [tags: Othello, Tragedy, Poetics, Tragic hero]

Powerful Essays
1085 words (3.1 pages)

Aristotle and Tragedy Essay

- A tragedy’s itended purpose is to raise emotions of both pity and fear through a catharsis. The audience often feels empthatic for the protagonist, as he or she is likely described as a tragic hero. In order to be classified as a tragic hero there are specific criteria that must be met. Aristotle dissected tragedy to further understand the purpose, components, and the criterium. Through his studies, Aristotle formulated, Poetics, his very own book explaining his theory on tragedy. Aristotle defined tragedy as the “imitation of action according to the “law of probability or necessity” (“Outline of Aristotle's Theory of Tragedy.")....   [tags: pity, fear, catharsis, William Shakespeare]

Powerful Essays
1135 words (3.2 pages)

Essay about Tragic Hero in Othello by William Shakespeare

- One might think of a tragedy being a terrible and destructible event in one’s life that causes great pain and may contain great loss. One particular play written by William Shakespeare – one of the most well known poets in history, happens to be a tragedy-filled story. Othello, the Moor of Venice, set during the captivating renaissance era portrays a character named Othello who reveals characteristics of a tragic hero. The brilliant philosopher Aristotle from the fourth century B.C. developed his own definition and idea of what a tragic hero is....   [tags: Aristotle, Tragedy, Downfall]

Powerful Essays
1247 words (3.6 pages)

Essay about Jealousy and Race in Othello

- Othello is one of Shakespeare’s tragedies; originally written as a play and performed to an Elizabethan audience. Othello and many of Shakespeare’s other plays have been performed to various audiences since, and have been adapted into Opera, Ballet, Film and television productions. Othello has survived the centuries to this day and age; and continues to captivate and remain relevant to a modern audience; Othello certainly is a timeless classic work of art. “The object of tragic imitation is men in action.” As stated by Aristotle in his work, Poetics....   [tags: Othello Essays]

Powerful Essays
1418 words (4.1 pages)