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Othello, The Moor of Venice

Othello, the Moor of Venice is one of the major tragedies written by William Shakespeare that follows the main character, Othello through his trials and tribulations. Othello, the Moor of Venice is similar to William Shakespeare’s other tragedies and follows a set of specific rules of drama. The requirements include, following the definition of a tragedy, definition of tragic hero, containing a reversal of fortune, and a descent from happiness. William Shakespeare fulfills Aristotle’s requirements in this famous play.

Aristotle the famous philosopher outlined several requirements in which a play or piece of drama is to follow.

The first rule that is met in Shakespeare’s play is that Othello is considered tragic hero, which every tragedy must contain. According to Aristotle, the tragic hero must be a man in a position of power who is a good person and makes a mistake during the timeline of the play due to a tragic flaw. Othello’s major flaw can be seen as jealousy: “Othello has often been described as a tragedy of character, as the play’s protagonist swiftly descends into a rage of jealousy

that completely destroys his life”(“Othello”). Othello is shown he is a good man within the first few scenes of the play: “She wished she had not heard it; yet she wished That heaven had made her such a man” (1.3.162-163). This line in Act I spoken by Othello, is an indication that he is a good person although it may appear that he has stolen Desdemona away from her father. Othello speaks that although he has taken Desdemona as his wife without Brabantio’s consent, he is a good person for stating his reasons for his actions as well as standing his ground. After Othello’s marriage to Desdemona, the conflict is started when Iago insinuates t…

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Works Cited

Catherine Bates, “Weaving and Writing in Othello,” in Shakespeare Survey, Vol. 46, edited by Stanley Wells, Cambridge University Press, 1994, pp. 51–60.

Dreher, Diane. “Shakespeare’s Cordelia and the power of character.” World and I Apr. 1998: 287 . Fine Arts and Music Collection. Web. 11 Dec. 2011.

Newton, K.M. “Othello: Overview.” Reference Guide to English Literature. Ed. D. L. Kirkpatrick. 2nd ed. Chicago: St. James Press, 1991. Literature Resource Center. Web. 11 Dec. 2011.

“Othello.” Shakespeare for Students: Critical Interpretations of Shakespeare’s Plays and Poetry. Ed. Anne Marie Hacht. 2nd ed. Vol. 2. Detroit: Gale, 2007. 649-687. Gale Virtual Reference Library. Web. 11 Dec.


Shakespeare, William. Othello, the Moor of Venice.

Literature. Boston: Bedford/St. Martins, 2009. 368-455. Print.

Morality and Immorality in Othello

Morality and Immorality in Othello

William Shakespeare’s tragic drama Othello presents to the audience a picture of many different shades of morality and immorality. It is the purpose of this essay to elaborate in detail on this thesis.

Roderigo’s opening lines to Iago in Act 1 Scene 1 take us to the very root of the problem:

Tush! never tell me; I take it much unkindly

That thou, Iago, who hast had my purse

As if the strings were thine, shouldst know of this. (1.1)

In other words, the wealthy playboy has been paying off the ancient for the soldier’s intercession with Desdemona on behalf of Roderigo. This payoff has been in progress before the play begins, and it continues throughout, even in Cyprus, until the end. Yes, it would seem that money is at the root of all the tragic misfortune in this drama. In order to assure that Roderigo’s gifts, both in the form of money and jewelry, continue to himself, he initiates an intrigue which begins with the late-night storming of Brabantio’s residence, and ends with the deaths of Roderigo, Desdemona, Othello and Emilia.

The intrigue begins when Iago suggests to the wealthy playboy that he may be able to recover Desdemona by taking immediate strong action with her father against the general:

Call up her father,

Rouse him: make after him, poison his delight,

Proclaim him in the streets; incense her kinsmen,

And, though he in a fertile climate dwell,

Plague him with flies: though that his joy be joy,

Yet throw such changes of vexation on’t,

As it may lose some colour. (1.1)

This incident leads to the public accusation against the Moor by Braban…

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…her murdered mistress, resuscitates morality in this play. Emilia refutes the untrue notions which Othello says motivated him to kill; she counters Iago’s lies (“She give it Cassio? No, alas, I found it, / And I did give’t my husband.”) and lays the guilt for Desdemona’s murder on his shoulders. And she sacrifices her very life for the truth; she dies a martyr, stabbed by evil Iago. Othello also is a martyr in a sense, paying in full for the crime that he committed.


Coles, Blanche. Shakespeare’s Four Giants. Rindge, New Hampshire: Richard Smith Publisher, 1957.

Jorgensen, Paul A. William Shakespeare: The Tragedies. Boston: Twayne Publishers, 1985.

Shakespeare, William. Othello. In The Electric Shakespeare. Princeton University. 1996. No line nos.

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