Is Othello a Tragic Hero? Essay

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To what extent can Othello be considered a ‘tragic hero’?

The extent of which Othello is a tragic hero has been open to much debate; the basis on which he is judged falls to Aristotle’s established view of the crucial elements that distinguish whether a person is truly tragic. According to Aristotle, a tragic protagonist is a nobleman or person from high status, who contributes to his own demise and illustrates a flaw or weakness in judgment. The tragic protagonist must make a fall from a high state of being to a low state or death. The tragic hero’s downfall, said Aristotle, was brought upon by some error of judgement. Aristotle’s theory is not the final word on tragedy, however it can support in pinpointing the pivotal traits in
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He commits the murder because of his fatal flaw; excessive ambition. By contrast, Othello's downfall is caused by his jealousy; this makes him less of a tragic hero in comparison to Macbeth, who falls from a high stature with noble reasoning. Opposing my personal view, A.R Bradley perceives Othello’s jealousy as being ‘credible’ because of the newness of his marriage and the insecurities troubling Othello. This is a justified point however it only contributes as evidence to prove the case that Othello is not a tragic hero, he is merely weak.

Throughout the duration of the play, Othello’s relationships with key characters are unveiled. It is then that we become aware of Othello’s relationship with Iago. From the offset, we learn that Iago is envious of Othello and sets out to destroy the life he has made for himself. At the start of the play, Iago makes very clear to Roderigo the apparent cause for his hatred of the general. His lack of promotion to lieutenant leads him to declare:
“… be judge yourself,
Whether I in any just term am affin'd
To love the Moor.”
Because of this, it could be argued that Othello is too trusting of Iago and should have been more vigilant; however, although the protagonist may hold a propensity towards jealousy, the ensign is immensely plausible and cunning and therefore there was no justifiable reason to distrust ‘noble Iago ‘. Iago is also a primary source of situational and dramatic irony. His