Tragic Hero In Othello

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The Greek philosopher Aristotle was the first critic of literature to see the differences between moral and visual condition. He described a tragedy as “an imitation of an action of high importance, complete and of some amplitude: in language enhanced by distinct and varying beauties…by means of pity and fear effecting its purgation of these emotions” (qtd. in Kennedy & Gioia 856). This description completely embodies the representation of Shakespeare’s protagonist and play Othello. Aristotle’s recipe for a perfect tragic drama included three main ideas: hamartia, or a tragic flaw in the tragic hero’s character that brings about his downfall; katharsis, or a purgation of the audience’s emotions so that they feel that they have learned something from the play; and anagnorisis, or…show more content…
The Moorish General Othello is an accurate definition of a tragic hero. Not only is Othello a very successful general in the Venetian army, he is also seen as a respected, honorable, noble hearted man. These traits are admired greatly amongst the characters found within Othello. This includes Iago who admiringly states that Othello is “of a constant loving, noble nature [and] will prove to Desmona a most dear husband’ (2.1.290-292). In order to truly feel the tragic downfall, an understanding of “high estate” being not of royalty or of noble stature, but one that “gives him a place of dignity to fall from and perhaps makes his fall seem all the more a calamity” (Kennedy & Gioia 856) is needed. Since Othello enjoys a position of power and happiness at the beginning of the play, this status makes his downfall from beloved general to despised murderer infinitely more tragic and moving (Kennedy & Gioia
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