Othello, the tragic hero

Essay by truomeUniversity, Bachelor's March 2003

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Along with Hamlet, King Lear, and Macbeth, Othello is one of four Shakespeare's greatest play that deals with tragedies. More than anything else, what distinguishes Othello from its great tragedies appears in the role of its villain, Iago. Iago is a character who essentially writes the play's main plot, takes a key part in it, and gives the direction to others, especially, to the noble moor, Othello. In Shakespeare's classic drama, "Othello, the Moore of Venice," Othello is a classic example of Aristotle's theory of a tragic hero- a great man of noble birth, with a high position in his society who now has a flaw that leads to his own downfall.

Othello is ultimately a tragic hero in the Greek tradition defined by the critic, Aristotle's concept of a tragic hero. To find the meaning of a tragic hero we must define what a tragic and hero mean.

A tragic event is disastrous, dreadful or fateful. A tragic story or play has a serious theme usually results in death or defeat. A hero is a man who displays courage or noble qualities. Normally perceived as a muscular, handsome man who dresses in a tight fitting costume. A tragic hero then must have these characteristics: (1) Be a nobleman, prince or person of high estate; (2) have a tragic flaw, and a weakness in judgment; and (3) fall from high to low estate (Bradley,175). Using these criteria, I can easily classify Othello as a tragic hero.

Othello, the Moor, a name given to him because of his color, was a man of noble birth, who held a high ranking in the Military of Cyprus, a city in Venice. He was given the rank Governor-General, a rank given to a man who has proven himself of great strength, loyalty and...