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To what extent does Othello meet the criteria of a tragic hero?


To what extent does Othello fulfill the criteria of a tragic hero?To what degree does Othello fulfill the requirements of a tragic hero? The attributes of an awful hero are explained in Aristotle’s theory. Aristotle said that a terrible hero should go through four stages. These are Peripateia, which is an utter and complete failure from an extremely high status such as a king, prince etc. to disaster and anguish. hamartia, which is a deadly or awful flaw in the hero. Anagnorisis, which is acknowledgment of the hero’s mistakes, and Catharsis, which is when the audience is purged of all negative feelings towards the hero. For many years there has been a good deal of controversy over the character f Othello in Shakespeare’s play. Critics have actually discussed the level to which Othello can be considered a terrible hero, however there are 2 critics, whose views are held within higher factor to consider than the others. The first of these critics is A. C. Bradley who believes that Othello is among the best of all tragic heroes. The latter of these critics is one F. R. Leavis who believes that Othello does not truly receive the awful hero status. Bradley and Leavis both agree on the fact that Othello never ever reaches a complete Peripateia, but for significantly various factors A. C. Bradley’s rgument is that “The Othello of the fourth act is Othello throughout his failure. His fall is never total however his magnificence stays nearly undiminished”. This shows to us that Bradley accepts the reality that Othello’s downfall is never ever really total, but he stays unfaltering in his view that Othello maintains some kind of nobility and honour. He sees Othello as “Virtually perfect”. We can see this when he states “Othello does not belong to our world, and he appears to enter it we not understand whence– almost as if from a wonderland”. This shows to us the level to which Bradley sees Othello as a pure, irreproachable figure.

Leavis’s argues that Othello is “Overly knowledgeable about his nobility” and thus lacking in the requirements of a true tragic hero. We can see this when Leavis states that “Othello’s “like a pontic sea” speech is overblown and self dramatising” This reveals us that Leavis holds an authentic disrespect for Othello, and that he is able to interpret what we would usually think about to be a virtue, as a flaw through thorough analysis. Leavis states that “Eloquence is a kind of arrogance” this can be seen when Othello states that he is “disrespectful in his speech”. This reveals us the extent that Leavis analyses Othello’s virtues nd is able to analyze them as defects. My opinion is more towards that of A. C. Bradley. My factors behind this are that Othello is come down from royal blood and was taken as a servant. Is this not an utter and total failure from a high status? With concerns to Hamartia, Bradley argues that Othello is a virtually “perfect hero”, whose strengths and virtues are used versus him by the character of Iago. Bradley argues that Othello’s only characteristic of character is his strong and outright trust. He argues that Othello’s trust can be translucented his words to Iago when he says “My ancient, a man he is of honesty and rust to his conveyance, I assign my better half”. Although it could likewise be argued that Othello illustrates another defect in his character in that he regards his wife as a possession. With regard to Othello’s action, Bradley exonerates Othello far from all regret when he states that” [Othello’s] opinion of Iago was the opinion of almost everybody who knew him”. This shows to us that Othello was not the only one that was deceived and controlled by Iago. Another example of this can be seen through Iago’s control of the character of Cassio When Iago says “Your Dane, your German and your swag bellied Hollander drink, ho!– are nothing to your English”. This is a clear example of Othello not being the only one that was manipulated by Iago, in the sense that Cassio trusted Iago to look after him in the event of him getting drunk. Iago abused this trust by allowing him to enter into a fight. It shows us that it was not through fault of Othello that he was controlled; even it was through the strength of Iago’s will power. This is extremely comparable to my own viewpoint of Othello in terms of Hamartia. I do not for one second think that Othello is “practically supreme”, however I do agree with the concept that it was not hrough fault of Othello that he was controlled by Iago, I agree that it was Iago’s immense will power that damaged him. The concept that Othello’s character is far more complex is argued by Leavis. Leavis argues that “Othello’s trust is not strong or “outright” as Bradley proposes, and therefore can’t be Othello’s fatal defect. This can be seen in Othello’s inconsistent treatment of Cassio, Iago and Desdemona”. Looking at this, I concur with Leavis on the subject of Hamartia since Leavis does advance a solid argument on the subject. Leavis sees Othello as a character that has lots of flaws.

He argues that Othello is “egotistical … with a practice of self-approving dramatising.” This puts forward an extremely strong view of Othello. We can see what Leavis is talking about when Othello states “My parts, my title and my perfect soul”. The question of whether Othello really experiences Anagnorisis stays in debate to this very day. Bradley argues that in eliminating Desdemona, “Othello sacrifices Desdemona to conserve her from herself in honour and love”. This reveals us that Othello does at least have good intents behind his wicked deeds. Another example of this is when Othello ays “She must pass away, else she’ll betray more guys”. As soon as again this demonstrates honour and nobility on Othello’s part. Bradley validates Othello’s actions by positioning all of the blame upon Iago’s head, which he supports with Othello’s impassioned cry “However what serves for the thunder! Precious Villain.” Subsequently, Bradley does not try to see that Othello achieves Anagnorisis, as he is not to blame for the tragedy that takes place during the play. We can see that Bradley is disinclined to affiliate Anagnorisis with the character of Othello since he thinks that Othello “Is quite devoid of ntrospection, and is not offered to reflection”. This reveals that Bradley’s argument for Othello in regards to Anagnorisis is rather weak in the sense that it contradicts Bradley’s argument of Hamartia. This is where Leavis is able to make use of the weak point in Bradley’s argument. Leavis, on the other hand argues that Othello has a hard time to reach total Anagnorisis because of the fact that he does not take complete recognition or obligation for his actions, and he stops working to see the faults and traits within his character. “But he remains the very same Othello, he has actually found his istake but there is no awful self discovery”. This reveals us that Othello has made no disposition that he has understood his mistakes or the faults within himself. Leavis says that when Othello does try to show some form of remorse it is self dramatisation rather than finish and authentic remorse. “Othello’s honorable absence of self knowledge is revealed as embarrassing and devastating”. We can see from this that Othello’s self dramatisation is extremely over the leading and inappropriate. Leavis argues that Othello does not at any point acknowledge his”gullibility and stupidity” throughout his failure and Desdemona’s death.

Leavis reveals us how Othello has excellent misconceptions about what has actually happened. He normally believes that his actions were completely honourable. We can see this when Othello says “For nought I carried out in hate, but all in honour” yet evidence that is offered is completely to the contrary when Othello says “I would not eliminate thy unprepared spirit; No paradise forefend, I would not eliminate thy soul”. In spite of this, Othello does not allow Desdemona to hope again regardless of the declaration “I would not eliminate thy unprepared spirit”. This when again reveals us that the character of Othello is entirely complete of ontradictions. The question of whether Catharsis occurs within the character of Othello stays in dispute in between A. C. Bradley and F. R. Leavis. Bradley’s argument is that by Act 5, “Othello’s anger has actually passed, and sorrow has taken its location”. This recommends that Othello does meet Aristotle’s qualities of an awful hero in terms of Catharsis due to the fact that through this, the audience are purged of all negative feelings towards Othello. It likewise shows us Othello’s character being cleansed since of the truth that by this point in the play, we generally pity Othello. Bradley says that “His ufferings are so heart rendering that he stirs, in a lot of reader, a passion of mingled love and pity.” We can see an example of this when Othello says “Desdemon, dead!” The affectionate use of the word “Desdemon” suggests credibility and includes poignancy. Bradley shares the very same opinion as me on the topic of Catharsis in Othello. I believe this due to the fact that I, as a reader am able to see Othello as the audience would. So I as a reader feel that I am purged of all unfavorable feelings towards Othello by the end of the play. Leavis entirely dismisses Bradley’s argument, believing that he is by his manifestations of ideal nobility”. He states that the only method which the audience might feel any sympathy for Othello is since of the truth that Othello is highly controlled by Iago. Leavis does not think that Catharsis occurs since in Othello’s final speech, he talks in third individual, keeping the audience at a range, and throughout this speech, Othello is “preoccupied with his emotions rather than Desdemona in her own right”. We can see this when Othello states “Speak of me as I am”. From this we have the ability to see that regardless of the disaster that has actually happened by this point n the play, Othello is still worried about his own losses and his credibility, instead of the loss of his precious other half Desdemona. In light of the 2 main arguments for and against the idea of Othello as an awful hero, I have actually drawn the conclusion that Othello, despite his traits, is undoubtedly a terrible hero. It is true that he is egotistical, extremely familiar with his nobility, and he is quickly manipulated and jealous to the degree that he murders his better half. However it is also blatantly apparent that he is mentally troubled about what he does. So much to the extent that he takes his own life. Othello isn’t ideal.

He is a human who suffers from faults of character as we all do. Leavis states that Othello is wrong to rely on Iago, and because of this holds a lot of bias against him. But the truth is that we just see this fault since we witness the plot from an all seeing viewpoint. Without the knowledge that Iago is a sly villain, we would hold absolutely nothing versus Othello. He was misguided, utilized and controlled through his immense trust in Iago. But is trust not a virtue? It is through his utter and complete trust that Shakespeare produces a character so pure, poetic and articulate which is Othello.

Othello doesn’t satisfy all of the requirements for a terrible hero, but he does accomplish most of them to a particular degree. I think that Bradley and Leavis are both oblivious in their judgments of Othello. They both hold the same qualities that Leavis relates to Othello, in the sense that there is no happy medium. Othello isn’t a total tragic hero, but he lacks a shadow of a doubt a hero, who falls victim to a terrific catastrophe which results in his own death and the death of his other half. Does this not seem like a disaster? I personally think that Othello, in spite of all of his qualities and errors is a terrible hero.

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