Hey there! Sign in to join this conversationNew here? Join for free

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

    • Thread Starter

    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!
    • Welcome Squad

    Welcome Squad
    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.

    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.
  • See more of what you like on The Student Room

    You can personalise what you see on TSR. Tell us a little about yourself to get started.

  • Poll
    Has a teacher ever helped you cheat?
    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
  • See more of what you like on The Student Room

    You can personalise what you see on TSR. Tell us a little about yourself to get started.

  • The Student Room, Get Revising and Marked by Teachers are trading names of The Student Room Group Ltd.

    Register Number: 04666380 (England and Wales), VAT No. 806 8067 22 Registered Office: International House, Queens Road, Brighton, BN1 3XE

    Write a reply...
    Reputation gems: You get these gems as you gain rep from other members for making good contributions and giving helpful advice.