Characteristics of Othello

When discussing the characteristics of Othello one finds he has more
than one side. Othello is a tragic hero in this drama. Also, he portrays a
man with much greatness. Consequently, Othello has many weaknesses.


In order to truly understand the character of Othello, one must understand
him as a tragic hero with both greatness and weakness.
A tragic hero is the main character in a play that takes a downfall or is
ruined during the play. Undoubtedly, Othello is ruined during the course of
this Shakespearean drama. In the beginning of the play his life is in order, as
he was married to the beautiful Desdemona, the younger daughter of a well
respected Senator, Brabantio. However, Othello was a Moor, and their
marriage was frowned upon. Iago had an evil plot to bring Othello down,
because he was in love with Desdemona when the Moor stole her heart.
Iago causes Othello to turn against his wife, and have jealous rages that
caused her much despair and grief. This is concurrent with the persona of a
tragic hero. In the end, Iago brings Othello down just as he planned. The
reader must realize that without his downfall, Othello couldn’t be considered
tragic, henceforth there would be no moral one could take from the play.
Othello is very characteristic of a tragic hero.
Othello is also a man that shows much greatness throughout the
drama. Throughout his adult life he has been acclaimed for his many
conquests throughout the land. He shows greatness through his love for
Desdemona. For instance, “But that I love the gentle Desdemona, I would
not my unhoused free condition put into circumscription and confine for the
seas’ worth,” Othello said when referring to his affection and true feelings
for Desdemona. Othello was very remarkable when discussing his love for
Desdemona.
Throughout the play Othello, its main character shows much
weakness. Much of this weakness channels from Iago, the villain of the
script. Othello himself addresses his own frailty when he describes himself
as “an honorable murderer”; as “one that loved not wisely but too well.”
Othello’s belief of Iago’s every statement grew critical when Iago accused
Desdemona of losing the handkerchief his mother gave him. Once again
Iago had won an intellectual battle with Othello. Subsequently, Iago
convinced Othello that Cassio, his devoted and loyal lieutenant, was stealing
his wife. Upon hearing this account from Iago, Othello immediately ordered
Cassio massacred. This also showed a lacking in his decision making
process. Othello’s weaknesses centered around Iago’s plot to bring him
down.
Without question, Othello is one of the more interesting and
multidimensional personas we have studied to date. Othello was a perfect
example of a tragic hero, he had an abundance of greatness, and he coupled
that with twice as much weakness. Othello was a great character in this
Shakespearean dramatic tragedy.

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