Othello: Tragic Hero

Essay by j_sweetnamHigh School, 12th grade March 2004

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Othello as a Tragic Hero

William Shakespeare

"We only begin to live life when we conceive life as tragedy..." In the story Othello, William Shakespeare, weaves an intriguing story of manipulation, romance and honour, by creating intriguing characters like that of Iago, Othello, Cassio, Roderigo, Desdemona, Emilia and others. He constructs a story that intertwines many emotions: love, jealousy, hate, deceit, disappointment and deception. Othello can be seen as a tragic hero because he goes from a valiant and well-respected soldier, to a character that, in the end, is despised by all for murdering such a passionate and faithful character as Desdemona. It is Othello's sense of honour and naiveté that allows him to be easily manipulated by one of his closest friends, and leads to his dramatic downfall. We as the audience identify with the tragedy and Othello's limitations, and pity this once, noble character.

In the beginning of the play, Shakespeare illustrates Othello as a compassionate military noble who shares an endless love with his wife Desdemona. He holds an important role as the Moor of Venice, and is respected by nearly all citizens. He is referred to often throughout the beginning of the play as "Brave Othello", "Valiant Moor", "Valiant Othello", why he is, "far more fair than black". Othello even sees himself, as an admirable character. In the play, Iago rushes to tell Othello of the senator's fury after finding that the Moor has wed his daughter. Othello does not fear Brabantio's anger; he believes both himself and Brabantio to be noble men, and trusts nothing will come about once the senator has heard the true story of his marriage to Desdemona. Othello illustrates that he holds himself in fairly high-esteem in the following quote, "My parts, my title, and...