The Relationship Between Othello And Its Relationship To Aristotle's Concept Of Tragedy

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Othello and its Relationship to Aristotle’s Concept of Tragedy Aristotle, a legendary Greek philosopher, justified his interpretation of a tragedy by stating, “A tragedy is the imitation of an action that is serious and also, as having magnitude, complete in itself; in appropriate and pleasurable language;... in a dramatic rather than narrative form; with incidents arousing pity and fear, wherewith to accomplish a catharsis of these emotions.” Aristotle has narrowed down the requirements of a tragedy into six different factors: plot, character, thought, diction, spectacle, and song. These components have been used many times in history to determine the nature and quality of a tragedy. While looking at William Shakespeare’s Othello, it is evident …show more content…
He believes plot is the most important feature of a tragedy, and often refers to it as the “first principle”. Aristotle believes that a complex plot would benefit the argument of a tragedy, as it incorporates the idea of a reversal of fortune (peripeteia) and recognition (anagnorisis). Peripeteia occurs when Othello recognizes Cassio obtaining Desdemona’s handkerchief. This changes Othello’s perspective of Desdemona, as he goes from showing lots of affection to showing nothing but hatred. Othello expressed his feelings to Desdemona when he states, “I cry you mercy then. / I took you for that cunning whore of Venice / That married with Othello, you mistress, / That have the office opposite to Saint Peter / And keeps the gate of hell-you, you, ay, you!” (Shakespeare IV.ii.103-107). This shows a large contrast between how Othello’s behavior has changed from marrying the beautiful Venetian woman to referring to her as a whore. Recognition is seen in this story when Othello kills Desdemona but realizes that Iago had deceived him, and knowing his wife was a faithful woman. This scene made Othello realize his destiny, as he had taken away the most valuable possession of his life, and changed his perception of hate to love for Desdemona. After realizing Iago had manipulated him, Othello is in grief about Desdemona’s death. He yells, “Blow me about in winds, roast me in sulfur, / Wash me in steep-down …show more content…
In Aristotle’s Poetics, he describes spectacle as, “Fear and pity may be aroused by spectacular means.” (Aristotle 200). An instance in the story where this may have been seen is when Iago strikes Emilia and kills her after she accuses him of being the cause of Desdemona’s death. This creates a sense of fear in the audience because Iago has lost his temper and does not have much resistance for other people in his way. There is a sense of pity for Emilia as she was heartbroken over Desdemona’s death and suffered just like her. Aristotle explains how characters must have a positive relationship in order for the notion of fear and pity to occur. This connects with Shakespeare’s Othello, as the husband and wife (Othello and Desdemona, Iago and Emilia) mainly reenact the spectacle parts. The audience feels a sense of rage and pity towards Othello and Desdemona, as their relationship is complicated due to Iago, which causes their deaths. Othello states, “Are there no stones in heaven / But what serve for the thunder? - Precious villain!” (Shakespeare V.ii.281-282). The audience would feel enraged at Iago for what he did to ruin a great relationship, and there is pity felt for Othello and Desdemona because they were separated by Iago’s plans. Spectacle can also be seen when Othello kills Iago. The audience feels a sense of fear when Othello goes on a rant of how his life has been

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