Othello: Othello is both a monster and a hero. Dicuss

Essay by litel_devil May 2004

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Othello is both a "Monster and a Hero"

Discuss this statement with close reference to the text, namely three key scenes from different parts of the play.

In the play Othello by William Shakespeare, the character of Othello is not both a "Monster and a Hero". A monster is someone who is unnaturally cruel, uncaring and selfish while a hero, according to the Aristotle definition, is a character who is noble and has a higher stature than most other characters. The tragic hero must also have a flaw that is the reason for his or her downfall. The character of Othello is an example of an Aristotelian tragic hero; whose tragic flaws, his gullibility and jealousy are the cause of his downfall. This is made especially evident in Act 1 scene 3, Act 3 scene 3 and Act 5 scene 2.

It is made obvious in Act 1 scene 3 that Othello is a character of high stature, due to his nobility and rank.

The duke calls him 'valiant' upon his entrance and from his speech "her father loved me...let her witness it" (1.3.127-169) it is clear that his skills as a soldier and leader are recognised and admired by society. This scene is very important, as it not only establishes Othello's stature but also his tragic flaws. Iago points out Othello's tragic flaws in his first soliloquy, when he says "the moor is of a free and open nature that thinks men honest that but seem to be so" (1.3.381-82) Iago knows of Othello's weakness, and realises that Othello's gullibility make him susceptible to being undermined by people. Iago also reveals his plan to use the moor's gullibility against him: "to abuse Othello's ear that he is too familiar with his wife" (1.3.177). Here, Iago is saying that he...