Othello as a Tragic Hero

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Since the days of Aristotle, the concept of a tragic hero has been a part of storytelling and literature. A tragic, or romantic, hero is someone who begins at a noble position, but has a tragic flaw that ultimately leads to the character’s demise. Often, this character realizes this flaw, but not before it is too late. In Shakespeare’s tragic play, Othello, the title character is a romantic hero. His rapid downfall is a result of his passionate love, so intense that it greatly hinders his rational thought. In the end, Othello acknowledges his romantic nature, as he described himself as “one that loved not wisely, but too well.” This statement is a true appraisal of himself: he is the quintessential romantic hero. In the beginning of the play, Othello was a man of noble and courageous nature. He was a wall-revered hero, highly ranked in the military of Venice. Othello’s downfall began with his love for Desdemona. This love, which he was most likely experiencing for the first time in his life, completely consumed him. The two were quick to marry and were seemingly living in passionate bliss. Desdemona proved her love by traveling with Othello when he was assigned to military duty in Cyprus- an island at war, because they could not stand to be away from each other. When they finally reunited, Othello described his happiness upon seeing her, “If it were now to die, 'Twere now to be most happy, for I fear My soul hath her content so absolute That not another comfort like to this Succeeds in unknown fate.” He believed that there was nothing better than the happiness he felt at his return, and if he died then, at least he would die happy. The love he felt was a dangerous kind of love. This emotion blinded his intellect and made him extremely vulnerable. Othello’s trusted “friend” and ensign, Iago, took advantage of this vulnerability. Throughout the play, Iago uses
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