Is Othello Noble Throughout the Entire Play Essay

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OTHELLO ESSAY: SAM COLLINS QUESTION: Whether or not Othello can be considered a noble protagonist given his murderous actions at the end of the play The tragedy “Othello” was written by the English playwright William Shakespeare in approximately 1603. The play itself falls under the heading of being an Elizabethan tragedy. Elizabethan tragedies follow a distinct set of rules; a fatal flaw must exist within the protagonist, the protagonist must be a nobleman who falls from grace, the protagonist must face external pressure and finally a Machiavellian villain should be present. The play of Othello categorically fits in to this broad definition of an Elizabethan tragedy; the plays central theme is that of the fall of the black military commander/protagonist (Othello) from a nobleman to murderer. Othello doesn’t complete this fall alone however, he is faced with external pressure from the Machiavellian villain Iago who manipulates him allowing this fall to occur. Despite this transformation it is still possible to suggest that Othello actually remains noble throughout the entirety of the play. This has been a controversial topic on which critics seem to be divided, half suggest Othello was merely a victim to Iago and in his mind was doing the noble thing, the other half stating that his actions were entirely his own fault and thus he is not noble. Critical to this debate is what the definition of nobility actually is; nobility is described by B. Lewis as being the presence of “superior moral qualities and an exalted mind, character, or spirit that scorns the petty, base, or dishonourable”; this is therefore must be the basis by which Othello’s nobility is determined. However this nobility that is constantly present in Othello takes on various forms at distinct stages throughout the play. Thus we must view each of these stages to assess the Moor’s nobility; these

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