Gullibility In Othello

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Literature is inundated with tales of heroes that come in all forms, but perhaps the most common is the tragic hero archetype. Although the term bears a specific criteria as to what makes a tragic hero, William Shakespeare’s representation of it deviates slightly from traditional ideas. Instead, Shakespeare inoculates his own perception of what makes a hero tragic, using his own definition as the basis of many of his famous tragedies. Othello, the Moor of Venice, written in 1603, is arguably one of most prominent tragedies ever composed, telling the tale of a man’s fall from grace. Prior to being manipulated by his ensign, Iago, Othello is initially an individual of high stature and nobility, who however, possesses a fatal flaw that ultimately…show more content…
That being said, it is ignorant to say that his fatal flaw is the sole reason for his downfall, as there were many contributing factors such as his jealousy and insecurity that factored into it. Nevertheless, his gullibility is ultimately the root cause as it enabled for these factors to come into effect. His fatal flaw is first pointed out by Iago, who comments that “The Moor is of a free and open nature/ That thinks men honest that but seem to be so” (1.3, 392-393). As the play progresses, Iago capitalizes on this weakness to plant seeds of doubt in his mind of Desdemona. Iago points out that “[Desdemona] did deceive her father, marrying you” (3.3,204), and thus brings to Othello’s attention that Desdemona is capable of lying. Ironically, not once does Othello consider the possibility of Iago lying, testifying Iago’s comment of how naive he is.. Moreover, his flaw is made further evident when Iago confesses a fabrication of Cassio sleep talking about his alleged romance with Desdemona (3.3, 410-423), to which Othello responds “But this denoted a foregone conclusion!” (3.3, 425). In spite of demanding for “ocular proof” (3.3, 357) of the supposed affair earlier in the scene, Othello suddenly holds Iago’s questionable story as legitimate evidence of his wife’s infidelity. By putting his utmost trust in the “Honest Iago” facade, Othello completely misjudges Iago’s real character, inciting the predicament that eventually brings him to his tragic
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