Hey! Sign in to get help with your study questionsNew here? Join for free to post

What is a pathetic character? (As opposed to a tragic one)

Announcements Posted on
Find the answers: Edexcel GCSE maths unofficial mark scheme 05-05-2016
  1. Offline

    the question I will be working on is
    to what extent does Shakespeare portray Desdemona as a character both pathetic and tragic at the beginning and end of the play respectively?

    I understand what is meant by tragic.. and I think I partially understand what is meant by pathetic, but I need a really clear grounding or definition and I can't seem to find one unfortunately!
    thank you!
  2. Offline

    I'd associate pathetic with being weak, maybe sorry for themselves, a tad useless perhaps?

    I'm sorry I'm not familiar with the character Desdemona though so I can't help you specifically, but I'd look for "pathetic traits" in the personality.
  3. Offline

    I think they mean pathetic in the sense of the word, someone who is a victim of their circumstances and who you pity. Possibly even someone you scorn because of their hopeless nature which is exacerbated by their situation.
    At the end of Othello dear old Desdemona could be the spokesperson for that, she's pathetic because she begs for her life, because she makes her situation worse by being drippy and not stopping Othello's accusations. Her situation has made her pathetic; at the start she was strong, stood against her father but by the end she's changed completely. If she was only tragic she'd have accepted her situation, she doesn't, which makes her pathetic.
    Tragic = situation she's in.
    Pathetic = personality.
    That's how I'd answer it anyway.


Submit reply


Thanks for posting! You just need to create an account in order to submit the post
  1. this can't be left blank
    that username has been taken, please choose another Forgotten your password?
  2. this can't be left blank
    this email is already registered. Forgotten your password?
  3. this can't be left blank

    6 characters or longer with both numbers and letters is safer

  4. this can't be left empty
    your full birthday is required
  1. Oops, you need to agree to our Ts&Cs to register
  2. Slide to join now Processing…

Updated: February 14, 2009
TSR Support Team
Today on TSR

Edexcel GCSE maths answers

Check the unofficial mark scheme

What date is the EU referendum on?
Useful resources

Make your revision easier


Ultimate Of Mice And Men Thread

Plot, context, character analysis and everything in between.


Revision Hub

All our revision materials in one place

Love books

Common grammar and vocabulary problems

Get your questions asked and answered

Useful literary websitesStudy help rules and posting guidelines

Groups associated with this forum:

View associated groups
Quick reply
Reputation gems: You get these gems as you gain rep from other members for making good contributions and giving helpful advice.