The Tragic Hero Of Othello By William Shakespeare Essay

The Tragic Hero Of Othello By William Shakespeare Essay

Length: 950 words (2.7 double-spaced pages)

Rating: Better Essays

Open Document

Essay Preview

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. A play about a marriage between a Moorish black general and an aristocratic Venetian woman that is threatened by a deceitful ensign, it weaves a tale of love, jealousy and betrayal that molds it into a perfect tragedy by Aristotelian standards.
When considering Aristotle’s criteria for a tragic hero, titular character, Othello, executes all four traits. Sympathizing with Othello, the audience feels sorry for him, being a virtuous nobleman and renowned military hero, as his good reputation tumbles downward because of Iago’s manipulation. Given the context, Othello’s character is realistic enough to be relevant to audiences. While he is a noble Venetian and an exemplary warrior, he is dark-skinned Moor, seen as an outcast, and he is extremely jealous and indignant. Another required criterion, Othello’s behavior fits his station in life. A successful commander, Othello is a bold and strong hero, having witnessed many military battles, and regularly throughout the play, characters acknowledge his courage and combative skills. The final feature, singularly goal driven, is seen as Othello plans to kill Desdemona. After he believes that ...


... middle of paper ...


...ne and at Iago, who feels no guilt or emotion for the deaths, and who does not justify or admit his selfish reason for exploiting Othello.
Written with themes of jealousy and betrayal, Shakespeare’s Othello is still relevant to a contemporary audience. As a result of his fear of losing his wife and denting his reputation, he commits the ultimate crime of passion, driven only by Iago’s manipulation and capitalization of Othello’s insecurity. In modern day, events like these are common. Atrocities occur through miscommunication and misunderstanding, much like the events between Cassio, Desdemona, and Othello. These are the lessons that Shakespeare, who had a mind beyond his time, tries to convey through all his works. This is what makes him the greatest playwright in history; his writings give insight to the human condition that can be studied in a span of centuries.

Need Writing Help?

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

Check your paper »

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]

Better Essays
950 words (2.7 pages)

Tragic Hero in Othello by William Shakespeare Essay

- To analysis this play, one should first look into the playwright, William Shakespeare, and see if he has tendencies to certain styles or genres. Shakespeare wrote about thirty-seven plays during his lifetime. Amanda Mabillard explained, “However, no one can know for certain because of the inexact documentation at the time the plays were first being organized and published” (para. 1). This meant that many of his plays might had been lost or forgotten. Of the thirty-seven plays he wrote ten tragedies, seventeen comedies, and ten histories....   [tags: tragic spectable, genres, styles]

Better Essays
1290 words (3.7 pages)

William Shakespeare's Othello and The Tragic Hero Essay

- William Shakespeare's Othello and The Tragic Hero      If one reads Shakespeare's Othello, they can come to the conclusion that it might be one of the his most tragic plays ever written by Shakespeare. Romeo and Juliet, is probably the most famous of his tragic plays, but Othello, has characteristics that, I think make it even more tragic than his other plays, and therefore for that reason, you can say that Othello is the most tragic hero.      Othello is a noble man, one who has grace with the ladies but also possesses all the virtues of a military leader that he is....   [tags: William Shakespeare Othello Hero Essays]

Free Essays
1443 words (4.1 pages)

Othello, By William Shakespeare Essay example

- “I told him what I thought and told no more than what he found himself was apt and true”. Who is responsible for the tragedy that unfolds in Othello. In William Shakespeare’s play Othello, we witness a classical Shakespearean tragedy where the main protagonist Othello has a fatal flaw of jealousy. In Act 5 Scene 2, Iago justifies his actions and claims that “I told him what I thought and told no more than what he found himself was apt and true.” Like Iago himself, such vindications should not be taken by face value and are contradicted in his numerous soliloquies....   [tags: Othello, William Shakespeare, Tragic hero, Iago]

Better Essays
1438 words (4.1 pages)

Essay on William Shakespeare 's ' Othello '

- Hamlet. Romeo. Othello. These men not only star in some of Shakespeare’s finest plays, but they are all classic examples of tragic heroes. A tragic hero is one who is courageous and admired but who has a tragic flaw that leads to his downfall. Othello was one of the greatest military men of the time. He was highly respected among his superiors for both his military prowess and level headed nature. This was a man who could be in the heat of a battle and would remain collected. Though this great hero also had great shortcomings....   [tags: Othello, Tragic hero, Iago, William Shakespeare]

Better Essays
723 words (2.1 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]

Better Essays
1247 words (3.6 pages)

Othello Tragedy Analysis Essay

- “She was in love and he she loved … did forsake her” A tale of a woman who only loved …at the wrong place, at the wrong time, unable to escape her inevitable fate The nature of Shakespearean tragedies comprises of multiple components, enabling a deeper understanding of its impact on the characterisation of tragic victims. Othello, written in 1604 by William Shakespeare, successfully examines how the character of Desdemona develops into a tragic victim as a result of the combination of the tragedy’s constituent....   [tags: William Shakespeare, Othello, Tragic hero]

Better Essays
889 words (2.5 pages)

William Shakespeare's Othello as a Classic Tragic Hero Essay

-          Simply defined, a tragedy always entails the downfall of the protagonist. As a common standard in tragedy, the protagonist, or "tragic hero" is of high standing who is faced with some opposing force whether internal or external. "Tragedy is the imitation of an action; and an action implies personal agents, who necessarily possess certain distinctive qualities both of character and thought; for it is by these that we qualify actions themselves, and these- thought and character- are the two natural causes from which actions spring, and on actions, again all success or failure depends...." This excerpt from Aristotle's Poetics illustrates an aspect of tragedy upon which many works,...   [tags: GCSE Coursework Shakespeare Othello]

Better Essays
2086 words (6 pages)

Othello as a Tragic Character in William Shakespeare's Play Essay

- Othello as a Tragic Character in William Shakespeare's Play The play Othello by William Shakespeare is about passion, treachery and revenge. Othello is a black, well-respected army general in Italy. He falls in love with the white daughter of Brabantio, a senator of Italy, called Desdemona and gets married to her without Brabantio's consent. Iago and Cassio are Othello's best friends, Iago turns out to be two-faced and evil towards Othello because he gave the job of lieutenant to Cassio when Iago thinks it should have been his....   [tags: Papers]

Better Essays
1668 words (4.8 pages)

Othello the Tragic Hero in William Shakespeare's Othello, the Moor of Venice

- Othello the Tragic Hero in William Shakespeare's Othello, the Moor of Venice Othello as a Tragic Hero William Shakespeare's famous tragedy "Othello, the Moor of Venice" (c.1604, as reprinted in Laurence Perrine and Thomas R. Arp, Literature: Structure Sound and Sense, 6th ed. [Fort Worth: Harcourt, 1993]1060-1148) is arguably one of the finest, if not the finest, tragedies in the literary history of Western civilization. This paper discusses Othello as a "tragic hero" and compares him to the great Aristotle's concept of what a "tragic hero" actually is....   [tags: Papers]

Free Essays
1617 words (4.6 pages)