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The Fall of a Tragic Hero: Othello

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Liz Pass

on 20 December 2013

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Transcript of The Fall of a Tragic Hero: Othello

External Conflict
“I kissed thee ere I killed thee. No way but this, Killing myself, to die upon a kiss.”- Othello (V.ii. 375-376)
The last thing he does before he dies is apologize to and kisses his wife. At this point the audience feels sympathy for Othello because he genuinely loved her and lost her.

Sympathy for Othello
Development of the Tragic Flaw
“He holds me well. The better shall my purpose work on him. Cassio’s a proper man. Let me see now, To get his place and to plume up my will In double knavery. How? How? Let’s see. After some time, to abuse Othello’s ear That he is too familiar with his wife. He hath a person and a smooth dispose To be suspected, framed to make women false. The Moor is of a free and open nature That thinks men honest that but seem to be so, And will as tenderly be led by th' nose As asses are.”- Iago (I.iii.327-239)
Iago is the reason Othello is a tragic hero. Because Iago believe Othello has slept with his wife he wants revenge. Iago has Othello’s trust and knows Othello is easy to manipulate and plans to use his insecurities and his jealousy to get his revenge.

“Stand you awhile apart, Confine yourself but in a patient list. Whilst you were here o'erwhelmèd with your grief— A passion most resulting such a man— Cassio came hither. I shifted him away And laid good ’scuses upon your ecstasy, Bade him anon return and here speak with me, The which he promised. Do but encave yourself, And mark the fleers, the gibes, and notable scorns That dwell in every region of his face. For I will make him tell the tale anew Where, how, how oft, how long ago, and when He hath, and is again to cope your wife. I say, but mark his gesture. Marry, patience, Or I shall say you are all in all in spleen, And nothing of a man.”- Iago (IV.i.64-78)
At this point Othello only confides in Iago and never talks to his wife about his suspicions. He is told to go hide by himself and watch Iago talk to Cassio about “Desdemona” while Iago really asks Cassio about Bianca, the girl Cassio actually likes. This isolation drives Othello crazy and further drives his insecure thoughts about his marriage.

“Receive it from me. I speak not yet of proof. Look to your wife, observe her well with Cassio. Wear your eyes thus, not jealous nor secure. I would not have your free and noble nature Out of self-bounty be abused. Look to ’t. I know our country disposition well. In Venice they do let God see the pranks They dare not show their husbands. Their best conscience Is not to leave ’t undone, but keep’t unknown.”- Iago (III.iii.201-209)
Iago now is enacting his plan for revenge into action. The insecurity Othello has about himself bleeds over into his marriage, so when Iago hints that Cassio is sleeping with Desdemona Othello immediately believes that it could be true. Othello now has to figure out whether he believes his wife is faithful or unfaithful.

“Look to her, Moor, if thou hast eyes to see.
She has deceived her father, and may thee.”- Barbantio (I.iii.288-289)
At this point Othello completely loves and trusts his wife and feels he has overcome the surrounding racism that would potentially keep them apart. But, it is Barbantio who first plants the idea that Desdemona could betray him. Othello still completely trusts Desdemona but he also takes on other people’s opinions and prejudices. Ultimately it is his insecurities that is his tragic flaw.

The Fall of a Tragic Hero: Othello
by Elizabeth Pass

“Valiant Othello, we must straight employ you, Against the general enemy Ottoman”- Duke (I.iii.50-51)
Othello is in charge of fighting the Turkish fleet at Cyprus. He is the head of the army.

A Tragic Hero is of Nobility
“Soft you, a word or two before you go. I have done the state some service, and they know ’t. No more of that. I pray you, in your letters, When you shall these unlucky deeds relate, Speak of me as I am. Nothing extenuate, Nor set down aught in malice. Then must you speak Of one that loved not wisely, but too well. Of one not easily jealous, but being wrought, Perplexed in the extreme. Of one whose hand, Like the base Indian, threw a pearl away Richer than all his tribe.”- Othello (V.ii.354-366)
Emilia has explained her husband’s deceitfulness and Othello now knows his mistake. He wants everyone to know where he went wrong. He loved too much, meaning he trusted to easy, he was easily persuaded by others, like Iago, and he twisted himself into a jealous rage never confronting the problem head on. He realizes too late because he has just killed his wife.

Realization of the Tragic Flaw
“I kissed thee ere I killed thee. No way but this, Killing myself, to die upon a kiss.”- Othello (V.ii. 375-376)
After killing his wife and realizing his error in judgment Othello kills himself. He dies giving one last kiss to Desdemona.

"(to IAGO) O Spartan dog, More fell than anguish, hunger, or the sea, Look on the tragic loading of this bed. This is thy work. The object poisons sight, Let it be hid.—Gratiano, keep the house And seize upon the fortunes of the Moor, For they succeed on you.—To you, lord governor, Remains the censure of this hellish villain:The time, the place, the torture. Oh, enforce it! Myself will straight aboard, and to the state This heavy act with heavy heart relate."-Lodovico (V.ii.380-390)
After Othello kills himself it left to Lodovico to restore order. Iago is ordered to be tortured and jailed. Cassio inherits all of Othello's possessions and is left in charge of Cyprus.
After Math
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