Okay, I have to do this for tomorrow and I don't know where to start!
It's a 1200-1500 word essay but I need some guidance, can someone give me any insight into how he achieves heroic and tragic status?Focusing on the end of the play, and bearing in mind the typical qualities of a tragic hero, consider whether Othello achieves heroic and tragic status in the play.
Othello - AS English Lit Help?! Watch
- Thread Starter
- 18-01-2010 19:25
- 19-01-2010 00:47
One question to consider is whether Othello is a victim, or whether he caused his own downfall.
In one sense he is a victim because of Iago's manipulation, but in another sense its arguably his jealousy that causes his downfall - he allowed himself to be manipulated by Iago and to believe that Desdemona was being unfaithful. (There's an article by Bonnie Greer online at 'E-magazine' which supports this idea, if you need a secondary source).
He appears to acknowledge his mistakes and repent at the end of the play (before killing himself) and seems to realise the mess he's made, so the reader can have some sympathy on him. But on the other hand, he's a murderer, having killed Desdemona.
Maybe compare Othello to the heroes in other plays, such as Romeo or Macbeth. Both achieve tragic status because they experience a downfall as the result of a tragic flaw. Othello's tragic flaw could be his jealousy, or the fact that he was too trusting [of Iago]. As he says at the end of the play, Othello asks that people “Speak of one that loved not wisely but too well”.
That's a bit garbled, sorry! But if I were doing the essay I'd discuss whether he is a hero, or whether it could be argued that his downfall was his own making.
I'd get another opinion, maybe from a textbook or critical source (library!) or the Internet; then you have a few options and angles to tackle the essay from.