Othello Archetype

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Written in 1603 by William Shakespeare, The Tragedy of Othello, the Moor of Venice tells the story of Othello, an esteemed foreign general, who after marrying Desdemona, the beautiful daughter of a Venetian senator, is manipulated into extreme paranoia by Iago, a spiteful ensign. Having been led to think that Desdemona has committed adultery, Othello murders Desdemona, and upon realizing his deception by Iago, subsequently commits suicide. Though the plot itself is relatively simple, the subjects addressed throughout the writing constitute a story of utmost complexity and depth. At the heart of Othello is the titular character himself, a man torn between tenderness, hate, trust and jealousy. As a major player in his own tragic downfall, Othello fits multiple key aspects of the tragic hero archetype: he is essentially a virtuous person that nevertheless possesses a critical flaw, a flaw that ultimately culminates in his consumption by the worst aspects of his…show more content…
In fact, it is these precise attributes that have allowed him to ascend to his current top-ranking role in the Venetian army and respected position in Venetian society, in spite of his ethnicity. Yet, as Othello is ready to assume the worst of himself at every turn, placing Iago in a in a state of utmost power over Othello, in a cruelly ironic twist it is also these precise attributes that are slowly warped and exaggerated to become his foremost deficiencies. Take, for instance, Othello’s sincere nature. As a soldier, Othello is conditioned to retain the utmost faith in his comrades’ truthfulness and expect the same in return. This trait is most clearly seen in Othello’s frequent referrals to Iago as “honest.” While of course, the reader is aware that Iago is anything but honest, Othello sees no reason to doubt Iago’s word as a fellow officer and compatriot, and as such often urges Iago to
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