What are the qualities Othello possesses which makes it a tragedy?

Essay by microstuffedHigh School, 11th gradeB+, February 2007

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Othello's character, circumstance and the eventual catharsis of fear and pity are the qualities that make Othello a tragedy. Othello's position of eminence accentuates his eventual downfall, and his tragic flaw is essential in both the circumstances created and in the resulting catharsis. Shakespeare creates an accumulation of fear and pity, through the harsh deception of Othello, and catharsis occurs when Othello is released from this situation through his death. Through Othello's position of eminence, his tragic flaw and tragic circumstance, and finally the catharsis of pity and fear, Shakespeare's Othello is a tragedy.

Othello clearly has a position of power in the Venetian society. Shakespeare shows him as being successful and respected. Through dialogue and confrontation, Shakespeare shows the audience Othello's character "My parts, my title and my perfect soul" "keep up your bright swords for the due will rust them" and "were it my cue to fight I would know it without a prompter" are all indicative of Othello's confidence and standing within society.

Shakespeare also demonstrates Othello's high standing through other characters "Valiant Othello, we must straight employ you," "your son-in-law is far more fair than black." clearly indicating that Othello is respected. Shakespeare not only shows us Othello's high social standing, but also his moral nature and character. Othello's trust "my life upon her faith" "good Iago" "honest Iago" is also shown through Desdemona "and but my noble moor is true of mind, and made of no such baseness as jealous creatures are" However, despite his high standing and moral, trusting nature, Othello has a tragic flaw in his character.

Othello's tragic flaw is pride. Shakespeare takes advantage of Othello's trust, "That thinks men honest that but seem to be so" through Iago. Dramatic irony is used to foreshadow the imminent disaster, as...