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Othello is Not a Tragic Hero Essay

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Othello has been described as one of William Shakespeare’s most popular plays because the play focuses on its themes of good and evil, military, politics, love and marriage, religion, racial prejudice, gender conflict, and sexuality; but the controversy and debate surrounding Othello is “Why is Othello a qualification for a tragedy?”
Most readers are aware of the many famous deaths or acts of death within the Shakespearean plays. And when the main characters die in Shakespeare’s plays, indeed, the readers would categorize the play as a tragedy. The problem with any tragedy definition is that most tragic plays do not define the tragedy conditions explained or outlined by Aristotle. According to Telford (1961), a tragedy is a literary work that describes the downfall of an honorable, main character who is involved on historically or socially significant events. The main character, or tragic hero, has a tragic fault, the quality that leads to his or her own destruction. In reading Aristotle’s point of view, a tragedy play is when the main character(s) are under enormous pressure and are incapable to see the dignities in human life, which Aristotle’s ideas of tragedy is based on Oedipus the King. Shakespeare had a different view of tragedy. In fact, Shakespeare believed tragedy is when the hero is simply and solely destroyed. Golden (1984) argued the structure of Shakespearean tragedy would be that individual characters revolved around some pain and misery.
Aristotle continued to express a tragedy arouses both pity and fear, pity for the doomed hero and fear for all humans who are subject to the same forces and weakness. It would not be difficult to discover that Othello demonstrate weakness and fear in the play, and Shak...


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Barroll, J. L. (1975). The structure of a shakespearean tragedy. Shakespeare Studies, 8, 1. Retrieved from http://search.proquest.com/docview/1297958576?accountid=12085
Dutton, R., & Howard, J.E. (2003). A Companion to Shakespeare’s Works.(p. 9) Maiden, MA: Blackwell Pub.
Golden, L. (1984). "Othello, hamlet", and aristotelian tragedy. Shakespeare Quarterly, 35, 142. Retrieved from http://search.proquest.com/docview/740689230?accountid=12085
Kennedy, X. J., & Gioia, D. (2013). Literature: An introduction to fiction, poetry, drama, and
writing . (7 ed., pp. 944-1115). Upper Saddle River, NJ: Pearson Education.
Myers, H. A. (1949). Aristotle's study of tragedy. Educational Theatre Journal, 1(2), 115. Retrieved from http://search.proquest.com/docview/1290192594?accountid=12085
Telford, K. A. (1961) Aristotle's poetics. New York: University Press of America.



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