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Othello as a tragic hero

In Poetics, Aristotle talks of some requirements of a tragic hero. According to him, a tragic hero must come from a high position of life. He should be good but not too good or perfect. He must commit a crime. By committing that crime, he makes a fault. By making that fault his life style falls from the happiness to suffering. He must arouse pity and fear in the mind of the readers. William Shakespeare takes Othello as a tragic hero in the tragedy, Othello. He possesses some heroic qualities which make a tragic hero despite his jealousy. Actually, the hero of a Shakespearean tragedy is invariably an exception person. He stands in a high position. He fulfills the basic requirements of a tragic hero. His downfall is tragic and arouses pity and fear in our mind. Othello is responsible for his tragedy. He was a victim of credulity and jealousy. A tragic hero should be good but not too good. In the same way, Othello is a tragic hero being a victim of credulity and jealousy. Being influenced by lago's intrigues, he commits a crime that is he kills his beloved wife, Desdemona. According to Shakespeare's concept, the tragic hero himself is responsible for the tragedy. In the tragedy Othello, Othello not only falls from his position, he also suffers moral degradation. His harshness is also responsible for his downfall and degradation. His nobility, magnanimity, artlessness, straightforwardness, boundless confidence, intense love, love for honour, simplicity, etc bring his downfall. Othello is not free from faults. He has some tragic flaws. The tragic flaws are his nobility of heart, his simplicity, his frankness, his honesty, his credulity, his rushness, lack of judgement, his inexperience of the ways of the world, his absolute trust, and his confidence. These tragic flaws are the cause of his downfall as a tragic hero. A tragic hero must arouse pity and fear in the minds of the readers or audiences. Similarly, Othello arouses our pity and sympathy. So he is a tragic hero.

Thus Othello becomes an authentic tragic hero in the Aristotelian point of view. He is a man of high rank. He is neither too good nor too bad. He is a moderate sort of man. But he is extremely confident and proud. So, he meets his tragic flaw for his pride. He is able to draw the pity and fear in the mind of the readers. Therefore, he is an ideal tragic hero even from the modern viewpoint. And his inability to understand his subordinates, his over passionate love for Desdemona, his quickness of taking decisions without investigation are mainly responsible for his tragedy.
Othello as a tragic hero


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