Othello and the Aristotle Tragedy | Russia Robinson
The causes of the tragedy of Othello are more complex and disturbing Cinthio's Gli Hecatommithi, an Italian source for Othello and Measure for Measure . And it underscores the fact that Othello's proprietorial relationship with . plays · Othello : the role that entices and enrages actors of all skin colours. A tragicomedy is a play that is neither a comedy nor a tragedy, although it has the features of both. Tragedies are usually focused almost exclusively on the. Othello is a tragedy because it meets the definition of tragedy in such standard Literature can fall into two very broad categories: comedy and tragedy.
The intriguing question is the following: Why would anyone respond to life this way? That question is very difficult to answer. The tragic response to life is not a rationally worked out position.
For any rational person, the comic response to life, which requires compromise in the name of personal survival in the human community or which sees the whole question of personal identity in social termsmakes much more sense.
What does seem clear is that the tragic response to life emerges in some people from a deeply irrational but invincible conviction about themselves. Their sense of what they are, their integrity, is what they must answer to, and nothing the world presents is going to dissuade them from attending to this personal sense of worth. Hence, tragedy is, in a sense, a celebration if that is the right word of the most extreme forms of heroic individualism.
That may help to explain the common saying "Comedy is for those who think, tragedy for those who feel. Most of us do that in terms of social relationships and social activities. In traditional societies, one's identity is often very closely bound up with a particular family in a specific place. We define ourselves to ourselves and to others as sons, daughters, husbands, wives, members of an academic community or a social or religious group, or participants in a social activity, and so on.
In that sense we define ourselves comically not in a funny way but in terms of a social matrix. The tragic hero is not willing or able to do this although he or she might not be aware of that inability at first.
The tragic personality wants to answer only to himself, and thus his sense of his own identity is not determined by others they must answer to his conception of himself. Given that his passions are huge and egocentric and uncompromising, the establishment of an identity inevitably brings him into collision with the elemental forces of life, which he must then face alone because to acknowledge any help would be a compromise with his sense of who he is.
We might also ask why we bother paying such attention to a tragic character. What is there about the tragic response which commands our imaginative respect? After all, many of these characters strike us as very naive and full of their own self-importance in some ways, perhaps, quite childishnot the sort of people one would like to have as next door neighbours or dinner companions.
Incapable of adapting to unexpected changes in life, they often seem so rigid as to defy credibility and curiously blind a key metaphor in many tragedies. Characteristically, they don't listen to others, but rather insist that people listen to and agree with them the pronouns I and me are very frequent in their public utterances--Lear is one of the supreme examples of this tendency.
Why are these people worthy of our attention? We shall have much to explore on this question in dealing with Macbeth and Lear, but for the moment we might observe that we don't have to like these people particularly in order for them to command our attention. What matters is their willingness to suffer in the service of their own vision of themselves. They have set an emotional logic to their lives, and they are going to see it through, no matter how powerfully their originally high hopes are deceived.
They are also, in a sense that we can imaginatively understand, although rarely if ever attain in our own lives, truly free, since they acknowledge no authority other than themselves.
Macbeth is a mass murderer of women and children, among others ; no one watching the play will have any sympathy for his bloody actions. And yet as he faces and deals with the grim realities closing in on him, his astonishing clear sightedness, courage, and willingness to endure whatever life loads on him command our respect and attention.
The same hold true for Lear, in many ways a foolish father and king and an inflexibly egocentric man, whose sufferings and whose willingness to suffer inspire awe. Characters in plays, as in life, do not decide to be tragic or comic heroes. What they are emerges as they respond to the unexpected conflict which the opening of the drama initiates.
Their response to the dislocation of normality will determine which form their story will take. To the comic hero, undertaking what is necessary for the restoration of normality is important, and that may well require serious adjustments to one's opinion of oneself, an ability to adopt all sorts of ruses and humiliations disguise, deceptions, pratfalls, beatings, and so ona faith in others, and some compromise in the acknowledgment of others.
Comic heroes and heroines learn to listen to others and respond appropriately. The tragic hero, by contrast, takes the responsibility fully on himself. In his own mind, he is the only one who knows what needs to be done, and if circumstances indicate that he may be wrong, he is incapable of acknowledging that until it's too late. His sense of himself is too powerful to admit of change. Tragic heroes do not listen to others, only to themselves or to others who tell them what they want to hear.
People who tell them they are acting foolishly are simply part of the problem. Tragic heroes and heroines, in other words, do not answer to community morality; they do not accept the conventional vision of things which reassures most of us by providing a group sense of what is most important in life.
For that reason as I shall mention in a moment the tragic vision is potentially very disturbing, because we are dealing with a character who is not satisfied with traditional group explanations, with the socially reassuring rules and habits, and whose life therefore tears aside momentarily the comforting illusions which serve to justify life to us as a meaningful moral experience.
For that reason inquiring into the motivations of tragic characters is often difficult. Why do they behave the way they do? Why can't they just be reasonable and act normally? Why doesn't Lear take up his daughters' offer?
The tragedy of Othello
Why doesn't Othello just ask Desdemona about her "affair" with Cassio? Why does Macbeth kill Duncan? Often we seek simple rational moralistic explanations: Lear is too proud, Othello is too angry, Macbeth is too ambitious. Othello has just married his wife Desdemona. Throughout the play Othello is challenged by Iago who works under him. Iago provides the drama; he represents the antagonist who is destined to ruin Othello and his marriage. Nothing good becomes of this play.
Shakespeare's Tragicomedy Play: Tragicomedies by Shakespeare
By the end of this tragedy, both Othello and Desdemona are dead, along with Roderigo and Emilia. Iago remains to live on, with no assumed justice for his interference. No one succeeds in this play but the antagonist. The drama that is revealed throughout stirs the audience and their emotional senses. There is no plot regarding the love and romance shared between Othello and Desdemona.
Neither can one observe any comedy nor history involved in this play. As a result, the play is a full and complete tragedy with the wrongdoers evil intentions satisfied. There are various elements included in a tragedy, making it both successful and enjoyable. From the dramatic plot to the audaciousness of characters that create the show, every element is necessary to construct the classic tragedy.
As in most tragic works this occurs at the end of the play. In this scene the audience sees Othello react in an emotion besides jealousy or defense. Here, Othello first acts in rage as he attempts to harm Iago, then he weeps with pain from killing his innocent wife, after this he kills himself from guilt and grief.
While the tragedy unfolds through a series of climactic scenes, the audience does not feel sorry for Othello. Not only does Othello represent a hero as a general of an army, he is the main character of the play and his only fault is his deception by Iago.
This makes Othello human, displaying his faults despite his overall good nature. Although Othello miscalculated his relationship to Iago, this does not cause him to be the tragic hero. Instead, his murder of his wife Desdemona proves to be the true miscalculation.
He asserts that Desdemona could not be false: He will seek proof of her infidelity. Leaving Cert Text 4 Iago: Iago will provide spurious proofs. There are two ways you can approach Iago: Consider "human" aspects to this man that offer some explanation for his evil: Having failed to gain constructive power promotionhe sets about exercising negative and malicious power.
What begins as revenge becomes for him a perverted kind of compensation. He takes artistic delight in his own subtle manipulative skills. It may be that he's the real jealous -- sexual and professional -- figure in the play.
This complex villain displays some understandable human motives for his actions; at other times his motives are irrational and inhuman. Very early in the play he declares, "I am not what I am".
At the end, he defiantly refuses to explain himself: Coleridge wrote of Iago's "motiveless malignity" but the problem is not that Iago has no motivation, rather that he seems to have so many motives that he forgets some as he goes along. Study the evidence and decide for yourself.
The best approach is to group a selection of the points below into sections dealing with improvisation his acting skillsoutsider status, language especially key images and the part played by chance.
He identifies the weaknesses -- inexperience, insecurity about outsider status -- he will exploit in his victim. Begins with a fact to gain Othello's attention and confidence. Proceeds to confuse Othello by alternating truths facts with lies. Repeats key words and questions e. Puts words in Othello's mouth. Plays on his own reputation as an honest man, a loyal friend.
Employs innuendo insinuation -- uses hints, suggestions as a way of implying something. He uses pregnant pauses to unsettle Othello and follows periods of calm with rapid bursts of insinuation. He makes Othello self-destruct. First he gets Othello to feel and then verbalise jealousy.
Uses tone of voice, body language, movements, entrances and exits to great effect. Improvises, makes up the plot as he goes along. Chance and luck come to his aid.
Ian Johnston, "Dramatic Structure: Comedy and Tragedy"
In Act 3 Sc. Then the handkerchief features in different ways. Iago simultaneously provokes and reassures his victim, and ingeniously uses self-deprecation, appearing to be modest and critical of himself.
Peppers his language with emotive language. Employs images to corrupt Othello's mind; eventually, gets him to use his own register of corrupt language.
Whips up self-pity in Othello, a man very much concerned with his own image reputation. In Acts 4 and 5 Iago proceeds to inflame Othello into a "jealousy so strong that judgment cannot cure" -- i. He wants Othello to feel the emotion of jealousy so powerfully that he will accept that Desdemona is a "whore", and demand "some swift means of death for the fair devil". The phrase "fair devil" is the key: Othello's mind must become so unbalanced that, though he loves her, he must see her as the devil.
Devils must be destroyed. That is the weird logic Othello adopts. As Othello's emotions become increasingly frenzied, Iago subtly guides his mind towards the ideas of revenge and "justice". Iago effects this switch by manipulating Othello's emotions, corrupting his imagination. Iago's evil mind is one of the most disturbing dramatic effects of the tragedy. We know evil exists; we also know that Fate, chance happenings can destroy us.
This, more than anything else, involves us in the drama. Leaving Cert Text 5 The many sides of Desdemona Shakespeare's leading characters are three-dimensional, which is to say they have strengths, weaknesses and like the rest us, they are bagfuls of contradictions. There is something else we must remember about characters in a drama or narrative: They are human beings but they have dramatic significance too.