Analyzing The Tragic Hero In Shakespeares Othello English Literature Essay

Since the authorship of Shakespeare ‘s drama in the 1600 ‘s there has been aA greatA dealA of contention over the character of Othello. Critics have debated the extent to which he can be deemed a “ tragic hero ” . Bradley and Leavis ; two critics of “ Othello ” , both have strong, yet mostly differing positions on Othello and how far he can be viewed as a true tragic hero.

Bradley argues that Othello ne’er reaches a complete peripateia “ The Othello of the 4th act is Othello during his ruin. His autumn is ne’er complete but his magnificence remains about unrelieved ” . This demonstrates that Bradley accepts Othello ‘s ruin is ne’er genuinely complete. He sees Othello as “ Virtually faultless ” shown when he states, “ Othello does non belong to our universe, and he seems to come in it we non cognize whence – about as if from a wonderland ” . This displays how Bradley sees Othello as a pure, immaculate figure, nevertheless during the period in history it is set, slaying and fraudulence is a thing of Hell and plenty to vouch your topographic point at that place ; a move a “ pure ” figure would non fall victim to. Shakespeare ‘s pick to construction the drama into five Acts of the Apostless besides shows how he perchance wanted to bode Othello ‘s tragic destiny demoing that from the start he would be a victim of destiny.

Leavis argues that Othello is “ Overly aware of his aristocracy ” and therefore missing in the demands of a true tragic hero. We see this when Leavis says that “ Othello ‘s “ like a pontic sea ” address is grandiloquent and self dramatizing ” which I agree with. Leavis states that “ Eloquence is a signifier of haughtiness ” . This can be seen when Shakespeare sets Othello up to give a hapless address, saying he is “ ill-mannered in his address ” nevertheless continues onto voice an highly good worded duologue. This is a good illustration of Shakespeare ‘s intelligence concerning construction how he can utilize it to add consequence to the linguistic communication in the drama. He intentionally sets the audience up to hear Othello present a hapless, severely worded address ; so when he delivers an articulate and good crafted one alternatively, it carries even more consequence. We besides see how Leavis analyses Othello ‘s virtuousnesss and is able to construe them as defects. Social stereotypes of that period in clip besides are contradicted. A black warrior should be barbarous, grim and mindless- non articulate. A.C. Bradley best reflects what I think ; Othello murders his wife- this for me is peripateia.

Refering tragic flaw, Bradley argues Othello as a “ immaculate hero ” , whose strengths are used against him. Bradley states that Othello ‘s lone trait of character is his trust. He believes Othello ‘s trust to Iago is shown through his words “ My antediluvian, a adult male he is of honestness and trust to his conveyance, I assign my married woman ” . This can be seen as an illustration of Shakespeare utilizing linguistic communication in the drama to go forth subtly hidden intimations exemplifying defects in Othello ‘s character ( by sing hisA wifeA as a ownership ) . Yet possibly people of Shakespeare ‘s epoch would non happen this excessively flooring. With respect to Othello ‘s action, Bradley exonerates Othello from all guilt when he says that “ [ Othello ‘s ] sentiment of Iago was the sentiment of practically everyone who knew him ” . This demonstrates that Othello was non the lone 1 that was deceived by Iago. Another illustration of Iago ‘s use of other characters in the drama can be seen through Iago ‘s use of Cassio. When Iago says “ Your Dane, yourA GermanA and your swag bellied hollander – drink, Ho! – are nil to your English ” . Despite Cassio swearing Iago to take attention of him if he got drunk, Iago allowed him to acquire into a battle. This helps turn out that it was non through mistake of Othello that he was manipulated so much as it was through the strength of Iago ‘s will power. This is similar to my sentiment of Othello in footings of tragic flaw. I do non believe that Othello is “ virtually immaculate ” , but I do hold that it was non through mistake of Othello that he was manipulated by Iago, it was more to make with Iago ‘s immense will power.

Leavis argues Othello ‘s character is more complex. He states “ Othello ‘s trust is non strong or “ absolute ” as Bradley proposes, he justifies this by adverting the velocity in which Iago uses linguistic communication without grounds to convert Othello Desdemona is unfaithful “ false to me! ” . Iago tries to utilize this in act 5 to warrant his incorrect behaviors “ I told him what I thought ” “ you told a prevarication, an odius damned prevarication ” . Therefore trust can non be Othello ‘s fatal defect. This is seen in Othello ‘s inconsistent intervention of Cassio, Iago and Desdemona ” . Looking at this, I agree with Leavis ( sing tragic flaw ) . Leavis sees Othello as a character that is full of defects. He argues that Othello is “ egotisticalaˆ¦with a wont of self-approving dramatising. ” This puts frontward a really strong position of Othello. We can see what Leavis is speaking about when Othello says “ My parts, my rubric and my perfect psyche ” .

Whether Othello experiences anagnorisis remains problematic. Bradley argues that in killing Desdemona, “ Othello forfeits Desdemona to salvage her from herself in honor and love ” . However due to the societal and historical influences moving on the drama I have to differ ; every bit far as Shakespeare ‘s concerned, Othello signed a one manner ticket to hell by perpetrating slaying, he was making it more through choler than to fulfill some “ good purposes ” . Another illustration of this is when Othello says “ She must decease, else she ‘ll bewray more work forces ” which seems like loose justification for his evil workss. Again this demonstrates honour and aristocracy on Othello ‘s portion. Bradley justifies Othello ‘s actions by puting all of the incrimination upon Iago ‘s caput, which he supports with Othello ‘s ardent call “ But what serves for the boom! Cherished Villain. ” Subsequently, Bradley does non try to see that Othello achieves anagnorisis, as he is non to fault for the calamity that occurs during the drama.

We can see that Bradley is inclined to associate anagnorisis with Othello as he believes he “ Is rather free from self-contemplation, and is non given to contemplation ” . However Bradley ‘s statement in footings of anagnorisis is weak as it contradicts his statement of tragic flaw.

Leavis argues Othello battles to make anagnorisis as he does non take full duty for his actions, and fails to see the mistakes and traits within his character. “ But he remains the same Othello, he has discovered his error but there is no tragic ego find ” . This shows Othello has made no disposition that he has realised his errors or the mistakes within himself.

Leavis provinces when Othello does demo repent it is self-dramatisation non echt compunction. “ Othello ‘s baronial deficiency of ego cognition is shown as humiliating and black ” . This shows Othello ‘s self-dramatisation is inappropriate. Leavis argues Othello does non admit his “ credulousness and stupidity ” during his ruin. He shows how Othello has misconceptions about anterior events, how he truly believes his actions were honorable “ For zero I did in hatred, but all in honor ” . Yet when Othello says “ I would non kill thy unprepared spirit ; No Eden forefend, I would non kill thy psyche ” shows how Shakespeare uses linguistic communication to underpin that Othello is in populating cognition of a higher force, Shakespeare has intentionally added these lines, possibly to demo that Othello is willing to travel to Hell to maintain his earthly stature in tact.

Whether katharsis takes topographic point is problematic. Bradley ‘s argues that by Act 5, “ Othello ‘s choler has passed, and sorrow has taken its topographic point ” this suggests Othello meets Aristotle ‘s features of a tragic hero refering katharsis as by this point we by and large we feel regretful for Othello. Bradley says that “ His agonies are so bosom rendition that he stirs, in most reader, a passion of mingled love and commiseration. ”

As a reader I feel that I am purged of all negative feelings towards Othello by the terminal of the drama. However it will hold been perceived really otherwise when it was written ; hence different reactions to this drama will hold occurred over every century and decennary it has been about for.

Leavis dismisses Bradley ‘s statement, believing he is “ Clouded by his manifestations of perfect aristocracy ” . He states the audience would merely experience understanding for Othello because he is strongly manipulated by Iago. Leavis believes Catharsis does non happen as Shakespeare writes Othello ‘s concluding address in 3rd individual, therefore maintaining the audience at a distance, throughout Othello is “ preoccupied with his emotions instead than Desdemona in her ain right ” . We see this when Othello says “ Speak of me as I am ” . This shows that despite the calamity, Othello is still concerned with his ain losingss and his repute, instead than the loss of his married woman.

Othello is easy manipulated and covetous to the extent that he murders his married woman ; nevertheless it is obvious that he is emotionally overwrought about this. Without the cognition that Iago is a fallacious scoundrel, we would keep nil against Othello and we merely know this as we view the drama from an all-seeing position. He was misled, used and manipulated through his huge trust in Iago. But is trust non a virtuousness? Despite non all the demands of a tragic hero being met he is without a shadow of a uncertainty a hero, who falls victim to a great calamity that culminates in the death of him and his married woman. This to me is a calamity, and hence I personally believe that Othello, despite all of his traits and mistakes is a tragic hero.

Word Count: 1578

By Harry Chamberlain