Advanced Placement English Literature, Period 2
December 5,2014 Jealousy: The Green Eyed Monster
Aristotle’s “The Poetics” has been a major piece to many playwrights on the criteria of writing a play. Most importantly the criteria for writing a successful tragedy. According to
Aristotle there are many characteristics for a successful tragedy including the plot, the characters, and most importantly the effect it leaves on the spectators. Tragedy is supposed to be the imitation of happiness and misery. The plot of a tragedy should have a cause and effect with a chain of events(beginning, middle, and end). The reason it is called a tragedy is because the reversal of tragedy and there should be a scene of suffering. The main character in the play should be a person of great power. The change of fortune should come from hamartia, which is a mistake or a flaw. In other words, because of the main characters flaws, he/she will bring their own downfall because of their ignorance. This is what makes them a tragic hero, the tragedy can only be successful because the person fell from a high position. Lastly, Aristotle states the aim of a tragedy is to bring catharsis, the sense of pity or fear that is brought by seeing the change of fortune from the character. Based on the criteria set by Aristotle is Othello a tragedy?
“Othello, the Moor of Venice” by William Shakespeare is one of Shakespeare’s well known tragic plays. The play takes place in the 1600’s in Venice and later in Cypress. Othello is the Moor of Venice but he isn’t from Venice. The fact he is a Moor means he’s from North
Africa. Although Othello is of a great position he is often referenced with black epithets such as
“the thicklips” (I.I.66) , “Old black ram” (I.I.88), and “A Barbary Horse” (I.I.113).There are only a few characters in the play that seem to make the color of his skin an issue, Venetian
Senator Brabantio( Desdemona’s father), Iago, and Roderigo. It is confessed that Iago hates
Othello for passing him in a promotion and giving it to Michael Cassio and because of rumors that Othello slept with his wife Emilia. Othello has a secret marriage with Brabantio’s daughter,
Desdemona. Iago, Othello’s ancient and Roderigo, a man that wanted to marry Desdemona went to go tell Brabantio of the news. When he realizes Desdemona wasn’t in her room he went to go arrest Othello for using witchcraft on Desdemona to make her fall in love with him. Desdemona comes and confesses that she loves Othello and there was no witchcraft involved. Othello has been called by the Duke to help defeat the Turkish fleet in Cypress. In Cypress is where
Othello’s downfall takes place and the tragedy begins.
Othello is a great man of great stature. At the beginning of the play we see that Othello has a great sense of passion and loves Desdemona with all his heart and has a conflict between duty and passion and explains that he can handle both. “I will you're serious and great business scant ,when she is with me. No, when lightwinged toys, of feathered Cupid seel with wanton dullness.My speculative and officed instrument,That my disports corrupt and taint my business.”
(I.3.264268) Othello explains that he will never let his love get in the way to the point where he can’t focus on the battlefield, He would never let his reputation be ruined that way. Othello is a very passionate man and when Desdemona and Othello first meet in Cypress they finish each others sentences in iambic pentameter. In act 2, scene 1, line 189 Desdemona says “Even as our days grow!” and on line 190 Othello completes the iambic pentameter by saying “Amen to that,
sweet powers!”. Besides the three characters stated earlier, Othello is well respected, Montano
(former governor of Cypress) refers to Othello as “a worthy governor” (II.I.30) This quote explains how Othello’s stature keeps growing…