TRAGEDY IN OTHELLO 6
Tragedyin literature occurs when a character is ruined or suffers unexpectedsorrow in the course of developing the plot. Tragedy in literaturetakes place as a consequence of random unfavorable circumstances,personal moral weakness or tragic flaw of events in the plot. Inliterature, tragedy extends as a fatal happening that creates a shiftin the events from favoring the main character to bring detriment tosuch a character. In the play, “Othello,theMoor of Venice,”WilliamShakespeare explores the tragedy by describing a man who receives allthe impacts of the happenings in the play. The discussion and reviewin this paper will illustrate that Othello is the tragic figure inthe play at different perspectives and events.
Therespected Othello is a highly trusted man who gained honor from whiteelders, who were surprisingly expected to be racists. He is wise andstrong physically, but his fortunes and destiny in the play becomesthe subject of the tragedy in the play. In particular, the hismeeting with Iago provokes his jealousy after he gets married to ayoung and beautiful Desdemona, who is Senator Brabantio’s daughter.An example of a tragedy of Othello occurs when Iago becomes extremelyjealous of his marriage to the extent of uses Othello’s marriage inorder to get back at him (Shakespeare, 1995, V.ii.253).The development of the plot leads to Othello’s ultimate tragedy ofkilling himself with a sword.
Bradley(1996) argues that it is the responsibility of the reader to create athesis in regard to the events of the play and the charactersinvolved. This is because the antagonism displayed results to tragicevents that does not tend to allow the reader to anticipate the endof the narrations. For example, it would be expected that afterIago’s jealous, Othello would keep the wife as a way of making Iagomore jealous. However, Othello tragically kills her, which becomes apacesetter for his suicide (Shakespeare, 1995, V.ii.243, 245).This is why Bradley (1996) indicates that “"The whole force ofthe passages can be felt only by a reader. The Othello of our stagecan never be Shakespeare`s Othello“ (Bradely, 1981). In agreementwith Bradley (1996), the events of the play give the reader theenvironment to to critic by examining the themes and language tounderstand the tragedies involved.
Berry(1981) argues that the tragic events in the play result frompsychological drama as he analyses the behavior of the characters inthe play. According to Berry (1981), the behavior of these charactersis linked to the relationships that exist between them. This cantherefore be used to describe the tragic events that befall onOthello, the main victim. Berry (1981) identifies severalrelationships, but this paper recognizes three main relationshipsthat lead to the tragedies in the play through the development of theantagonists plot. These relationships are Othello and Barbantio,Iago and Othello, and Othello against Desdemona.
Toillustrate the tragedy in the play, the most important of theserelationships is that of Othello and Iago. This is because these twodrives the plot that ends in the tragedy of the two, mostimportantly, that of Othello by showing the good and the evil sidesof each of their human terms. Berry (1981) states that “Theconcepts of good and evil are explored in and through human terms"(Berry, 1981, p 64). Therefore, the anatagnism of the reationsipdirect the play to eventualities of tragedy that ends up making thesense of the scenes and the events between the two.
Onthe other hand, French (1981) looks at the elements of gendercolonialism and positions of power in Venice, which assist inevaluating the tragedies in the play. French (1981) illustrates theposition ofOthellobefore his fate changed and got to be controlled by tragic events.French (1981) notes that of Othello was noble and the writer intendedto describe his character as unquestionable. The description ofOthello’s character as calm and intelligent is important to thereader, when internalizing the tragic events that take place in hislife. This is because the reader is kept in an atmosphere ofexpecting nobility from Othello and anticipate less of a tragedy.This makes the intention of the writer to introduce tragedy becomemore significant to the reader.
Inaddition, French (1981) also explores the reasons behind thecharacter of Iago that leads his behavior towards others, especiallytowards Othello. According to French (1981), the tragedy of Othellois the core part of the play that drives the plot and the themes aswell as the human characters of the main character. In analyzing thecharacter of the Othello, readers get to understand the characters ofOthello that make him the central part of the play and the receiverof the tragic events (French, 1981). As the play develops, the eventsthat tragically happen presents evidence of the writer’s intent ofdescribing Othello as the tragic figure. For example, the murders andrevenge motives that mark the antagonism between Iago and Othelloillustrate the type of life the main character gets oriented to.
Inillustrating the tragic views of the play, it is important to look atdifferent angles that the play takes in relation to the character ofOthello. Campbell (2011) explores the culture, Orientalism andimperialism with a view to evaluating racist views by Shakespeare.According to Campbell (2011), Shakespeare does not directly holdracist views in the development of the play. This is because of theremarks by the duke to berbatino about Othello that, "far morefair than black” (Campbell, 2011)
Thedepiction of the Duke about Othello, a black person is surprising asOthello later experiences tragedies that mark his role in the play.It is racially held that black is inferior compared to the whites,especially in reference to the way whites viewed blacks in thecontext of the play, except for Othello. Campbell (2011) furtherexplores the significance of the handkerchief as interpreteddifferently by different characters. As it signifies his relationshipwith Desdemona, it also separates his culture and places the readerin a better position to evaluate his tragedies.
Inconclusion, the tragic position of Othello is described by thecentral role he takes in the play and the events that befall on him.To explore this position, Berry (1981) relates the Othello’sposition to psychological drama that is guided by the relationshipswith other characters. However, French (1981) views the tragic roleof Othello from the power position in Venice and the gendercolonization in the context of the play. On the other hand, Campbell(2011) explores a critical part of Othello in the play from aperspective of Orientalism and imperialism that seeks to evaluateShakesphere’s racist angle. All in all, the different perspectiveconfirms the position of this paper that Othello is the tragic figurein the events of the play.
Berry,R. (1981). ShakespeareStructure. London:MacMillan.
Bradly,C. A. (1996). ShakespeareanTragedy.London: MacMillan.
Campbell,C. (2011). Iago`s orientalism: imperial discourse in Othello.International Journal of Arabic-English Studies, (IJAES),12, 9-23.
French,M. (1981). Shakespeare`sdivision of experience. NewYork: Ballantine.
Shakespeare,W. (1995). Othello.New York: Castle Rock Entertainment