Research Paper Othello
Othello is a famous tragedy written by William Shakespeare as a Tragic Hero. The Moor is arguably one of the finest, if not the finest, tragedies in the literary history of the Western Civilization. In this paper I will discuss Othello as a tragic hero and compare his to Aristotle’s concept of what a tragic hero is actually is. The characteristic of a tragic hero is defined by the Greek critic, is determined by three characteristics. According to Aristotle a tragic hero must be
1) Be a nobleman, prince, or person of high estate;
2) Have a tragic flaw, and a weakness of in judgment; and
3) Fall from ...view middle of the document...
He also demonstrates confidence in himself and his actions when Barbantio, Desdemona’s outraged father, accuses the Moor of witchcraft.
His physique, that of a tall, dark, African Moor, combined with his personal magnetism, assist him in gaining the respect and allegiance of the Venetian people and its senators. The respect of the people is brought forth, in Act 1, Scene 2, when Montano, the Governor of Cyprus, is awaiting the arrival of Othello’s ship, following a strong storm at sea, and remarks he has served him’ and the man (Othello) commands/ Like a full soldier (35-36). He also refers to him as the brave Othello (38).
Othello is also held in awe by his men, the soldiers, and throughout the play is referred to as a captain, a term carried over from Roman times which depicts a commander of a company of men, or so called soldiers’ soldier. He is a proven leader of men and known for his military knowledge and skills. His soldierly ways are a direct result of serving in some form of military capacity since the early age of seven. Dignity, courage, and a strong belief in religion, self control and sound judgments are just a few of Othello’s great attributes portrayed in the play.
The writer, A.C Bradley characterizes him as a truly admirable character, of heroic stature, exemplary self control, and wonderful imagination…(Mehl, Dieter, Shakespeare’s Tragedies: An Introduction, [New York, Cambridge University Press, 1986] page 66. His confidence in himself and his courage are clearly evident when Othello makes a stand before Barbantio, Roderigo and Lago when following the drawing of their swords, Othello, as opposed to withdrawing in the face of danger taunts “Keep up your bright swords, for the dew will rust them” (59-60).
Shakespeare continues to depict Othello as a well-respected nobleman throughout his play, from beginning to end. Shakespeare also shows a soft side when he displays Othello’s love and confidence in his wife Desdemona. In Act 1 Scene 3, Othello entrust his wife to the care of another gentleman and his wife, as he must go off to war in Cyprus. The entrusted man and his wife happen to be his good friend Lago and his wife Emila. Othello displays his trust and confidence in both his wife and his ensign (Lago) when he remarks to Lago to his (Lago) conveyance I assingn my wife (286).
As you move through the play, Shakespeare intriguingly begins to show Othello’s faults and negative character traits, which eventually lead to his destruction. His position as Governor-General, the allegiance from both the people of Venice and his soldiers and his confidence in himself can all be considered major contributors to his overall negative character flaws. In other words his positive aspects are responsible for bringing out his negative side, his flaws in character. His flaws include his all too trusting nature and his eventual insecurities in himself that arise in the form of jealousy for his wife Desdemonia.
These flaws begin to...