11 November 2008
Othello Tragic Hero
In William Shakespeare’s tragedy, Othello, the title character can be seen as a tragic hero. He has a high status as a Moorish general in the Venetian army and is respected among the other characters in the play. Even though he is confident and honest, he can not overcome his immense jealousy over what he perceived to be his wife’s betrayal.
It is obvious in the beginning of the play that Othello is venerated by the other characters through their statements toward him. In the scene where the senators and the Duke are in discussion, the first senator says “Here comes Brabantio and the valiant Moor.” (1.3.55) This shows that Othello is seen as a brave man. The respect of Othello is also shown when Montano, an official in Cyprus, calls Othello . . . “brave” (2.1.42). Through these characters’ comments, and in his position of general in the Venetian army, Othello evidences a high regard among his peers.
Othello’s high rank causes him to be confident in his leadership abilities, but he seems insecure in his personal relationships. Therefore, he is too trusting in other characters such as Iago. When Othello appointed Cassio to lieutenant, he didn’t expect Iago to hatch a plan of revenge. This resulted in him falling for Iago’s scheme to frame Cassio for having an affair with Desdemona. Once Othello finds out that Desdemona is supposedly cheating on him, it makes him jealous and this leads him to act uncontrollably, like in act 4, scene 1 where he strikes Desdemona in the presence of Ludovico. This affects him mentally and physically because in act 4, scene 1, he faints. This relates to one of the themes of the play: jealousy, which can make someone act like a monster. Thus, his insecurity and jealousy can be seen as tragic flaws.
Othello does not have a sudden downfall. Instead, it begins when he first believes Iago. Once he learns of Desdemona and Cassio’s affair he sees himself as one...