Othello As A Tragic Hero

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Tragic heroes are, generally, the main character of a tragedy. Tragic heroes often error in their own actions and judgments of others leading them to their ultimate downfall, which commonly ends in their own death. Aristotle defines a tragic hero as, “a man of noble stature. He is not an ordinary man, but a man with outstanding quality and greatness about him” (Aristotle). In order to be a tragic hero, the audience must be able to understand the character, and to feel pity and fear for him. Othello, as a character, is a well respected and highly regarded individual as evidenced when the Duke of Venice called upon him to defend Cyprus against the Turks, “Valiant Othello, we must straight employ you/ Against the general enemy Ottoman.” (I.iii.47 - 48) Not only does Othello fulfill Aristotle’s concept of a tragic hero, but he also contributes a multi-dimensional personality to the play, and because of his naivety of Iago and his evil plans, results in his ultimate downfall thereby becoming the greatest of Shakespeare’s tragic heroes. When considering tragic heroes, one must also consider that character’s personal traits such as courage, respectability, and dignity. The character must possess greatness about him, have outstanding personal qualities, and be held in high regard by society. Othello’s high stature comes from his position as General of the Army and is clearly shown. Something from Cyprus, as I may divine./ It is a business of some heat. The galleys/ Have a dozen sequent messengers/ This very night at one another’s heels,/ And many of the consuls, raised and met,/ Are at the Duke's already. You have been hotly called for. (I.ii.45 - 53) Othello’s prominence is recognized by A. C. Bradley as he states, “Othello himself is no mere private person; he is the General of

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