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Othello as an Aristotelian Tradegy - Research Paper Example

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William Shakespeare wrote, “The Tragedy of Othello, the Moor of Venice” around 1603. The play chronicles the life of Othello, Desdemona, Iago, and Cassio. It highlights Othello’s change of fate from happiness to misery upon allowing Iago to poison his mind with jealousy…
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Othello as an Aristotelian Tradegy
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Download file to see previous pages The play explored varied themes such as love, jealousy, loyalty, racism, and betrayal (as cited in Shakespeare, 1962). The play became widely known during 17th and 18th century. It was even regarded by some critics as one of the greatest English tragedy. “The tragedy of Othello, The Moor of Venice” remains highly acclaimed and prominent in the present century (Shakespeare, 1976, p. 5). This paper aims to determine if the play conforms to the criteria entrenched by Aristotle for tragedy. It presents the characteristics that define the Aristotelian tragedy. In addition, this paper discusses Othello as a tragic hero and play as an Aristotelian tragedy.
2.0 Aristotelian Tragedy
Aristotle (as cited in McManus, 1999) reiterated that drama serves as a medium for tragedy. Tragedy demonstrates or shows rather than merely “tells.” Aristotle considers tragedy as more philosophical compared to history as the former delves into what may happen while the latter merely tackles on what has happened (as cited in McManus, 1999). Tragedy has its foundation in the cause-and-effect chain. It engenders fear and pity among audience or readers (as cited in McManus, 1999). Plot is considered as one of the most essential features of tragedy. Aristotle defined plot as arrangement of the incidents. Tragedies that rely on a well-structured cause-and-effect chain are regarded as superior compared to those that depend on personality and character of the protagonist (as cited McManus, 1999). The plot must constitute a beginning, middle, and an end. Aristotle reiterated that the beginning must establish the cause-and-effect chain. The climax or middle must present the effect of previous incidents and consequently lead to future incidents (as cited in McManus, 1999). Lastly, the resolution or end must be caused by previous incidents but not lead to future incidents. In addition, Aristotle stressed that the plot needs to be structurally self-contained through incidents which are tied together by internal necessity wherein each action inevitably leads to the next (as cited in McManus, 1999). Aristotle asserted that the characters support the plot in well-structured tragedies. The personal motivations of the characters are regarded as intricately connected with the cause-and-effect chain which elicits fear and pity among the audience (as cited in McManus, 1999). It is necessary for a protagonist to be prominent and affluent, so his/her fate can be transformed from good to unpleasant. This change of fortune must be engendered by a frailty in character (as cited in McManus, 1999). Aristotle also puts emphasis into how speeches reveal character. In addition, he considers diction, song or melody and spectacle as essential in tragedy (as cited in McManus, 1999). The end of the play must evoke fear and pity among the audience. Aristotle asserted that a tragedy must engender the emotions of fear and pity in order to decrease passion into balanced proportion. Aristotle further talks about the aesthetic pleasure derived by the audience from contemplating the fear and pity that are evoked by a well-constructed work of art (as cited in McManus, 1999). 3.0 Othello as a “Tragic Hero” According to experts, the protagonist in “Tragedy of Othello, the Moor of Venice” exemplified a tragic hero (Oz, 1998). The play at the beginning depicts Othello as a brave general with self-control (Misra, 1992, p. 233). However, his vulnerability to intellectual error became apparent when Iago began to plant the seeds of jealousy into his mind. Iago casts suspicion upon the relationship between Desdemona and Cassio. Othello was impelled by Iago’s innuendo to a warning that he will destroy the cause of his jealousy (Golden, ...Download file to see next pagesRead More
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