The Importance Of Tragedy In William Shakespeare's Othello

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Tragedies come in all shapes and sizes. Natural disasters, death of a love one, and to a child, the loss of a beloved pet can be a tragic event. According to Greek philosopher Aristotle, the makings of a great tragedy include a person of “high-estate” whose downfall is due to his own tragic flaw. Aristotle says “Tragedy is an imitation of an action of high importance, complete and of some amplitude; in language enhanced by distinct and varying beauties; acted not narrated; by means of pity and fear effecting its purgation of these emotions” (Kennedy and Gioia 858). Tragedies allow for the audience members to relate to the heroes of the stories by observing their flaws and self-induced catastrophes. This can be said for William Shakespeare’s …show more content…
Othello is a man of many qualities. He is noble, trustworthy, and brave; however he is also a man who is naïve and quick to retaliation, and has a lack of good judgement. Iago, Othello’s ensign and villain of the play, has a knack for manipulating those around him. He is trusted by Othello and knows of the hero’s character flaws, “The Moore is of a free and open nature / That thinks men honest that but seem to be so; / And will as tenderly be led by th’ nose” (1.3.390-392). Because of this, he is able to fool Othello into thinking his wife is an adulteress. These tragic flaws in Shakespeare’s hero help Iago form his plan of destruction and gives room for Desdimona’s conviction. A few thought out words and a properly placed handkerchief is all it takes to convince Othello of his wife’s “crimes” and his hot-headedness gets the best of him. In just a few lines, Othello has demanded the death of his wife’s supposed lover “Within these three days let me hear thee say / That Cassio’s not alive” (3.4.469-470) and has damned the woman he feels betrayed by, “Damn her, lewd minx! O, damn her! / Damn her!” (3.4.473). Othello is acting based off words and say-so’s. He trusts all the wrong people and fails to listen to those who are most loyal to him. He refuses to believe his wife’s pleas and in the end murders his love. He learns of the lies he had been told by …show more content…
He falls quickly and hard, and through his own misjudgment and jealousy, his tragic flaws and plummets into disaster and unhappiness. He experiences a judgement more befitting to his foe and yet takes responsibility for his mistakes. The Hudson Shakespeare Company suggests that “Not only is the rule of society re-established at the close, but Iago 's triumph over Othello is undercut by the hero 's recognition of his error. The trust that had been violated is at least acknowledged in the end”. The protagonist learns his lesson and though the audience does not feel a whole sense of catharsis for Shakespeare’s hero, it is easy to sympathize with how his actions were brought forth. Othello is a tragedy that begins profitably and ends

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