Othello's downfall: a fatal flaw in the tragic hero

Categories: Tragedy

Fatal flaw is an entity present in everyday situations, which can lead to complications in a person's life. It could be a person's greed to eat, to someone being impetuous and rash. Fatal flaws such as pride, status, greed, power, ambition, infatuation and jealousy are present in the Shakespearean tragedy 'Othello'. Ultimately in the tale it is jealousy, which over powers the eponymous hero to kill his beloved wife and himself.

I strongly believe that the tragedy illustrated in 'Othello' is indubitably the hero's fatal flaw; Jealousy is solely to blame and is the flaw, which leads to ruining his relationship, friendship and eventually ending his life.

Throughout the play Othello is constantly being referred to as 'the Moor', which is a member of the Muslim group of people from mixed Arab Berber decent. This is also racially abusive to 'Othello' as it consigns to his race and shows other character's depriving him of his ethnicity and individuality.

Other individuals convey their feelings about 'Othello' by saying terms such as 'the thick lips', 'Barbary horse' and 'old black ram' to express 'Othello's' facial qualities.

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Jealousy or distrust shown in the catastrophic play is described as 'tyrant of the mind' in John Dryden's 'Songs Of Jealousy'. 'The green eyed monster' is symbolized in Othello throughout the play. We first witness jealousy in Othello when he has blindly placed his fate in 'Iago', who has concocted a plan to 'abuse the Moors ear' and 'Othello' listens as he is slowly eaten by the jealousy Iago has sown.

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Othello is seen to have put his conviction in Iago who appears to be truthful but whom we know is actually quite the opposite. This is constantly referred to when he is called 'Honest and true Iago'. This is dramatic irony observed through out the play. It creates vigilance towards Iago for causing the ruination of Othello. Othello right through the play listened to Iago, as he constantly lied and caused doubt in the mind of Othello as he had planned. 'I endure him' 'into a jealousy so strong' and we as the audience slowly examine the traps set up by 'honest Iago. '

Iago's plot to wreck the 'Moor' was established when he planted the falsehood story of his wife unlawfully sleeping with Lieutenant Cassio. Othello obviously asking for evidence that such illicit affairs took place gave Iago an opportunity to conceive more deceits in his vengeful plan. So 'true Iago' then poised Othello that the 'first gift', which he described as being 'possessed' and 'magical' he gave to his fair love, was seen with Cassio. 'Did I today see Cassio wipe his beard with? ' Othello in damnation watched with his 'possessive eyes' Cassio with the handkerchief 'by heaven, that should be my handkerchief! And with this Othello was sure his 'honest creature' was truly false and that the 'heavens [truly] mock itself. ' Othello, once a clam and humble being was now indeed ' a jealous guy. '

Conspicuously Othello 'was blind[ed by his] jealousy' like Billy Fury, that his faithful creature was being adulterous. Othello is now disgusted to see Desdemona and is even more aghast to hear her speak about Cassio. 'T'atone them, for the love I bear to Cassio. ' 'Fire and Brimstone! ' Emotions such as these are also noticed in the 'Man Watching' where the boyfriend/husband is jealous to see his girlfriend/wife acting flirtatious with another man. Eyes burn into your back while my insides burn with rage. ' Although this is a different setting to 'Othello' it is similar as both characters are suspicious of there lovers. Parallel to Billy Fury 'My heart was on fire with desire for you' Othello loved Desdemona but also despised her for betraying him.

'Some most villainous knave,'(Iago) has undeniably nourished Othello's suspicion, which has irrefutably ended the lives of five individuals. He furthermore is not even remorseful after tarnishing so many people but where Iago is not resentful Othello is. Othello cries out 'O fool, fool, fool! and being 'one not easily jealous but wrought' ends his life by saying, 'I kissed thee ere I killed thee: no way but this, killing myself, to die upon a kiss. ' This is comparable to Billy Fury, 'why did I make that big mistake' of taking her life. How John Lennon 'didn't mean to hurt' anyone but did so and 'swallow[ed the] pain. ' So ultimately it was jealousy that destroyed five person's lives, ate up all their souls till the very end when repent was not enough. Although jealousy is distinguished as the key fatal flaw many others are depicted in the calamity.

At the very beginning we learn upon the injudicious decision the 'noble general' and Desdemona have made, to be wedded. In the days of envious Othello women were portrayed as an object. Either belonging to their father then once married to their husband. It was unlawful of them to disobey their husband, be undutiful or be seen with a strange man that were not their husbands, even if it were her father. Desdemona had indisputably rebelled against the theory and went on to marry Othello even though her father, Signor Brabantio a senior member of the community despised the concept of his daughter with a 'fellow moor' .

The impetuous pronouncement may have unknowingly been the cause of devastation and death in 'Othello'. This is because if they had not been in a hurry to be married, Iago could not have invented the plan to destroy Othello through 'sweet Desdemona' hence 'Othello' would not have been jealous. This is figurative in many of Shakespeare's tales for example Romeo And Juliet. The play shows the perils of impulsive reactions when 'Romeo and Juliet' are introduced to one another, married and dead within two days. This maybe due to their spontaneity as Friar Lawrence proclaimed 'wisely and slow, they stumble that run fast. '

Othello was also hot headed and reckless when he made the impulsive decision within moments of finding out his wife's infidelity to kill her and her 'lover. ' 'Let me hear thee say that Cassio's not alive, 'lest her body and beauty unprovide my mind again - this night. ' This rash and imprudent declaration may have been the result of all things ending up malevolent. This can be seen similar to the Beatles lyrics 'Run For Your Life' where it writes 'catch you with another man that's the end, little girl' which is eventually what Othello accomplishes. 'These strong Egyptian fetters I must break or lose myself in dotage. This quote from one of Shakespeare's great historical love stories, 'Antony and Cleopatra' is portraying Antony's infatuation for Cleopatra.

His judgment is to break his obsession or it will result to him being lost in his fixation. Passion and infatuation is also evident in 'Othello' as he clearly states 'how I did thrive in this fair lady's love, and she in mine'. This may have been the result to Desdemona being disowned by her father. As in the time of play women's role was to obey their father, which Desdemona undoubtedly defied and consequently left her father for the 'Moor Othello. This is like Billy Fury in 'Jealousy' where he also 'loved to well. ' This resulted in him being 'jealous. ' As Othello put it himself that he was 'Of one that loved not wisely, but too well;' Othello notoriously through the play pronounces he would not be eaten by jealousy, 'away at once with love or jealousy', ' thinkst thou I'd make a life of jealousy,' which is questionable as he in due course does and he indubitably states 'to be once in doubt is once to be resolved. ' This can be foreseen as Othello's hindsight into the future, the basis of his destruction and loss of both wife and life, as he kept defying jealousy.

The fatal flaw ate him up, 'you are eaten up with passion' At the commencement of the play we perceive the cultural divides one of 'the Moor' and the other of Christianity. This is evident in the period of time as people were very racially stereotypical. 'Othello' being of Moor descent was affected by this and effectively caused an impact in his actions. Othello's intense emotions are thoroughly seen in the dialogue. For instance act 3 scenes 3 line 454-463 where Othello describes his feelings with the words 'Pontic Sea', 'Propontic' and 'Hellespont.

This illustrates Othello being emotionally insecure comparable to the John Lennon song 'Jealous Guy' where John 'feeling insecure' because of his jealousy towards his lover. This led him 'to lose control' which inevitable occurred in 'Othello' when he '[lost] control' in front of Desdemona's family and slapped her. 'Devil! [He strikes her]. ' Gullibility; tendency to believe too readily and therefore to be easily deceived is portrayed in 'Othello' as he believes in his dear friend Iago, even though purposely knowing his wife had left him for everything would not dare to do something so illicit.

At the instigation of the play where Desdemona confronts her father upon her marriage and feelings towards the 'valiant moor' he replies to the infuriated Signior 'My life upon her faith! ' If Othello indisputably loved Desdemona why question her faith? His questioning and doubt incontestably led to her 'damnation' from the doubt repeatedly hammered into Othello by his 'Honest and true [friend,] Iago. ' Like 'Jealousy' by Billy Fury where he doubts his love, 'For I doubted you in my heart' even though he knew she was true.

My life was hell every moment we were apart' which is demonstrated in 'Othello' when Othello speaks 'But I do love thee; and when I love thee not, chaos has come again. ' This is indeed the case as when Othello stops loving and begins to hate Desdemona 'chaos has [certainly] come. ' His gullibility could be seen as his weakness that Iago picked up on to wrought on. His mistrust in Iago was palpable from the instigation of the character and Othello as a whole assumed everything word that came out of the manipulative man was a lie.

Ultimately it was the fatal flaws present in the eponymous hero, which eventually lead to the desolation of Othello, but there may have been other characters fatal flaws that may have been influential in the misfortunate play. Iago, Desdemona, Cassio, Emilia, and Rodrigo all may have been instrumental in cause of devastation. Iago's greed and ambition may have been the result of him devising such vicious schemes to gain power and status. He of course was not selected to be Othello's lieutenant, which of course Iago desired but never received so then decided to ruin Othello and obtain the role of lieutenant.

In personal suit to make [him] lieutenant' Iago did achieve such devices and plans, which unavoidably led to the wreckage of Othello and his friends, wife and life. Like Iago Macbeth was also ambitious and greedy when he heard of the premonition the three witches supposedly saw. 'I have no spur To prick the sides of my intent, but only Vaulting ambition, which overleaps itself And falls on the other. ' Unquestionably it was the ambition and his greed for power that lead to his untimely death.

Or maybe it was Desdemona's 'greedy ear' to want to listen to Othello in relation to Othello's 'discourse,' that led to them acquiring a relationship of trust and love. The love and trust, which was to be broken by 'jealousy so strong' like 'The Pardoner's Tale'. This is the story of the three friends who 'met death at the old oak tree' in the form of greed. So, did Desdemona and her greed to listen to affect Othello? It may have been Emilia's ambition to please her sexist husband who referred to women being only good for one 'thing', 'you have a thing for me? It is a common thing-.

She took the handkerchief and gave it to her scheming husband. It was maybe that which led to the damage and of course made Iago successful of generating jealousy in Othello. Like the tale 'Eloise To Abelard' where the author Alexander Pope writes 'ambition first sprung from your blest abodes,' which is where exactly the ambition for Emilia embarked from. Or was it Roderigo's jealousy for Othello as he has the 'thing' that he most wants. When Roderigo heard of Othello and Desdemona's marriage he said to Iago ' I will incontinently drown myself in my sorrows. '

But ultimately I believe it was solely the fatal flaw present in Othello which led to the ruination, devastation and death in the tragedy that left Othello 'over [his] jealousy' and repent like John Lennon 'I didn't mean to hurt' but the 'jealousy' did indeed eat Othello up and eventually killed him. Jealousy is truly a 'tyrant of the mind', which as we witness leads to events unbelievable. Iago's jealousy and greed for prominence that leads to a rancorous scheme that guided, its way to eating up calm, humble souls such as Othello's. Gullible Othello now ends his sordid life by assassinating the jealousy via executing himself

Updated: May 03, 2023
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Othello's downfall: a fatal flaw in the tragic hero. (2020, Jun 02). Retrieved from https://studymoose.com/like-many-shakespeares-tragedies-ultimate-tragedy-othello-caused-fatal-law-eponymous-hero-new-essay

Othello's downfall: a fatal flaw in the tragic hero essay
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