Othello, by William Shakespeare, as a tragedy

Essay by yaymeHigh School, 11th grade November 2004

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The play 'Othello', by William Shakespeare is a classic Shakespearian tragedy as it follows the conventions that the hero's downfall is caused by a character flaw. It is also seen as a classic Shakespearian tragedy as the hero's flaw is exposed by an external influence. Although despite having a flawed character, the hero possesses other good qualities. Shakespeare uses different dramatic techniques to contribute to tragedy.

The idea that the hero's downfall is caused by a character flaw is one convention of a tragic play in which the play 'Othello' follows. As the hero of the play, Othello, possess many flaws, which ultimately causes his downfall. Othello's trusting nature, being his most fatal flaw, as Iago easily manipulated him. This is seen through Othello's dialogue "honest, honest Iago". This repetition emphasises Othello's trust towards Iago, how he believes that Iago isn't capable to telling a lie. Othello's trusting nature had led Iago able to manipulate Othello into believing his wife was false, this contributing to the tragic element.

Also adding to the tragedy is the dramatic irony that the audience knows that Iago is cunning and deceitful, but Othello still believes he is honest. Othello also had other character flaws, such as his pride and honour these being partly responsible for his downfall. Othello's authority and pride can be seen as he easily and calmly controlled the situation during the first act when Brabantio confronted him. These flaws contributed as Othello was unable to confront his wife, Desdemona of being false, to find the truth that she has been nothing but innocent and pure because he was too proud to question her. Also these flaws made Othello believe that it was his duty, that it was morally right for him to kill Desdemona on the belief that she was false.