Internal Conflict In Othello

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Hubris and hamartia were terms used by Aristotle to describe the character traits and actions of typical tragic protagonists in the plays of his time. These terms have been translated with different meanings over time, hubris being consistently translated as excessive pride or self-confidence and hamartia either as sin, fault or a state of ignorance.

I am of the opinion, along with most modern critics that in order to explain these character faults, modern audiences seek for the psychological reasons, which explain how if it’s inborn, the character flaw won’t be “created” and how this will affect their identity and behaviour, creating the characters’ internal conflict that will result in their downfall. Therefore the purely Aristotelian concepts
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He occupies contradictory personal and political positions. He is a trusted military officer, who holds power and ensures safety for the Venetian state, and who seeks to become a member of this society, through marriage in his case, with Desdemona. But Othello is a black man in a white world, which makes this insertion into society harder. He appears to be an impressive figure who displays a number of qualities, such as sincerity, authority and level-headedness in face of danger or strenuous circumstances (quote here or give specific example to illustrate the point.) This is revealed in Act 1 Scene 2. Early on in the scene of the play, Shakespeare seems to show a self-confident Othello, especially after his speech to Barbantio and the Senators in Act 1 Scene 3 when he explains that he is a descendant of a royal line of kings. While this is necessary for him to be ‘great’ - to have tragic stature, it also suggests his unquestioning belief in his abilities. Othello’s hamartia could be his implicit trust in his own worth or even more in Iago, whom he believes so wholeheartedly and never suspects would ever betray him or perhaps. Othello’s hamartia could also be seen as his jealousy, which grows increasingly when he see Cassio and Desdemona together, but it is initially his trust which allows Iago to manipulate him into thinking that Desdemona is betraying him by being unfaithful with Cassio and by reminding him constantly that he is an outsider. This trust accompanied with his excessive self -confidence and pride may be his downfall as they allow Iago to destroy him in the murder of Desdemona. Bradley’s thought towards Othello’s ‘hamartia’ is that he is a ‘faultless hero’, whose strength is used against him by Iago. Bradley argues that Othello’s only character trait is that he
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