The Tragic Hero In William Shakespeare's Othello

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Shakespeare plays on the flaws of man and spins elaborate tales to highlight tragic downfalls. He creates tragic heroes that fall from a high-ranking position in society to lower than a plebeian. The heroes fall due to a tragic flaw in which they make judgement errors. Besides being written by the same playwright, two tragic heroes, Othello and Hamlet, share the same tragic flaw which ultimately leads to their deaths. Their decisions have many repercussions and cause great tragedy. Through their stories many can learn of the power of controlling rage and insecurities. Othello, being a Moor feels like an outsider amongst the Venetians and even among his wife his self-doubt is displayed. He expresses many times his insecurities and shortcomings …show more content…
iii. 81,86). He demotes himself to a “monster and a beast” (Othello IV. i. 61). The previously enamored Othello turns into an enraged man seeking vengeance on all who hurt him and his rage is fueled by his insecurity regarding his race and Desdemona 's love for him. (Schapiro, 482). Barbara Schapiro comments, “...Othello is exceedingly insecure and vulnerable from the beginning in his erotic relationship with Desdemona, and Iago 's destructive energy which ultimately consumes him emerges from this context” (494). Another scholar, Alpaslan Toker, describes Othello as a man who “rages with jealousy when he becomes convinced of Desdemona’s infidelity” (41). Likewise, Hamlet’s feelings of insecurity and rage are fed by the wrongdoings of Claudius and his desire for revenge. The first time he is shown to acknowledge these insecurities he states. “O all you host of heaven! O earth! What else? / And shall I couple hell?”‘ (Hamlet I. v. .92-93). Both men are betrayed thereby losing their trust for prominent women in their lives, Desdemona and Gertrude. When Hamlet’s mother, …show more content…
Their stories bring the audience to pity them for their misjudgement and their downfall. Every decision of theirs affected the course of the play. In both Hamlet and Othello the deaths of other characters, though many times not caused by their own hand, were indirectly related to their actions. As Parker reasons, the men 's decisions to spy was irreversible because the “damage of accusations made in secret [had] been done” (Parker, 62). For example, had Hamlet not acted insane, his lover Ophelia would not have doubted their love henceforth, and would not have ended up drowning. Likewise, had Othello not believed Iago’s condemning words, no one would have been killed and Iago would have been found out a liar. Alpaslan Toker, while comparing Othello to another tragic hero “reaffirms his position as a noble man,” by commenting on “his skin color, his exotic past, his stance, and, most importantly, with his language which is laden with extraordinary rhythms, grandeur and exoticism…” and then concluding with his tragic end, “Othello is overwhelmed with remorse and regret and stabs himself to death” (Toker, 30-31). The two characters actions teach that each decision will ultimately affect the outcome of one’s life.
Othello and Hamlet have many obvious dissimilarities as well. Othello’s main conflict is between himself and his wife while Hamlet’s is between himself and his step-father. As

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