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The Tragedy of Othello, the Moor of Venice

Free Essays / Literature / The Tragedy of Othello, the Moor of Venice
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With his existence as such and authorship being doubtful, William Shakespeare can be viewed as one of the most controversial authors. However, his life’s work is still magnificent, and his contribution to the development of drama and theatrical art is considered to be incomparable. Since there is no unanimous approach to the matter of the so-called Shakespearean question, determining the author’s contribution to the development of literature and theatrical art is a difficult task that is considered to be the major controversy. Taking for granted the existence of William Shakespeare and the fact that all the works attributed to him have really been created by this particular person, the issue of evaluating the contributions of the author’s work arises. In this regard, William Shakespeare’s conception of tragedy is exceptional. Othello, the Moor of Venice is important, for in that particular work the author is contemplating his own conception of tragedy from a different perspective.

William Shakespeare’s conception of tragedy is unique in a sense that the playwright himself operates a set of features that tend to become peculiar to the whole collection of his tragic works. The distinctive features of William Shakespeare’s tragic works are listed below. Above all else, a protagonist of Shakespeare’s tragic play, as a rule, is an unprecedented personality. Usually, the characters of the tragedies of William Shakespeare are caught by some devastating events. Those devastating events are typically challenging and lead to the fall of a protagonist through the moral corruption, oftentimes leading to the physical death of a main hero. In this regard, the two aspects are worth special attention. First of all, in Shakespeare’s tragic plays, the main character’s epiphany can be viewed as an essential element. Secondly, a conflict within the play is a conflict of at least two parties. This conflict, as a rule, exists between a group of characters who attempt to seek justice, and those who are plotting treachery. In this regard, it is important to admit that William Shakespeare has not depicted the characters as either good or bad. Each character bears good qualities, yet each is facing his own demons. As a rule, throughout the action of a play, the story is destined to encounter the loss of innocent people.

A typical formula of Shakespeare’s tragic play has several elements. First the audience is being introduced to the setting, then the reader acquaints the public with the characters, later something extraordinary is reported to have happened or is about to happen or a main character has an important moral decision to make. After that, the protagonist’s corruption occurs, followed by the main character’s epiphany and closed by a finale. Hence, William Shakespeare’s idea of a tragic play can be interpreted as positioned as a chain of calamitous events leading to the death of a main character. A protagonist usually occupies a high-ranking position in the society and is an unprecedented person. Moreover, all characters possess both positive and negative traits. All things considered, a tragedy by William Shakespeare called Othello, the Moor of Venice complies with the playwright’s conception of tragedy as a genre of literature by all means.

At this particular point, it is necessary to explore the play under consideration in detail. Othello as a central figure of a tragic play by William Shakespeare can be viewed as an ambiguous personality. Ambiguity of Othello’s nature rests upon the following aspects. Even though Othello occupies a high-ranking position, something he communicates to the reader that he does not belong there, presumably due to the fact that his identity has been transformed and he has had to conform in order to integrate into the community of Venice. He attempts to carry out his duties with proper dignity to be treated honorably by the people of Venice. He can be characterized as a sincere, trusting, and simple person. He is referred to as the Moor by most Venetians. The fact that Iago, whom Othello considers to be an associate of his own, attempts to take the advantage of Othello, justifies the premise that the latter is a trusting and naïve person. Each of the foregoing aspects can be viewed as indicators of Othello’s controversy. In order to specify the aforementioned assumption, it is important to admit that clearly, there are considerable differences between Othello as a warrior, a leader, and a husband. This controversy and contrast can be regarded as the main dramatic elements William Shakespeare employs in the play.

Strength, resistance, and pride are the other side of Othello’s nature. Mysteriousness is his another distinctive feature. Othello’s mysteriousness is expressed so vividly in the play that it is possible to presume that Othello himself can be regarded as a dark personality in the mental sense. Developing this stamen further, it is possible to assume that Othello’s mysteriousness can be regarded as an aftermath of his loss of identity. Othello appears in the play’s second act. Until then, the readers know only what others speak of him. Thus, the issue of coexistence among the characters in the literary piece evolves. This issue of coexistence of the characters manifests itself through how the characters speak about each other.

At times the practice of taking into account what others might say of a protagonist is misleading, yet in Othello’s case one can find it quite acceptable and tolerable. Most importantly, a keen observer can learn a lot about the relationships among the characters of the literary piece from their comments about each other. In other words, a practice of taking into account what the characters say of each other is important in terms of better understanding of the relationships among them within a literary peace. Othello is the only character in the play whose appearance is different. Therefore, the race factor is important, since it ensures better understanding of the play’s collisions.

As far as the issue of race in Shakespeare’s Othello is concerned, it is important to admit one fact. In the relationship between Othello and Desdemona, the issue of race is being dealt with as a stumbling block. Particularly, in the case of Othello and Desdemona the specter of race can be regarded as a factor contributing to Othello’s uncertainty. The reader is inclined to think that race is of less importance when it comes to the relationship between Othello and Brabantio. In the relationship between Othello, Iago, and Roderigo, the issue of race is being dealt with as a hindrance factor in a sense that Iago and Roderigo give Othello embarrassing nicknames behind his back. Basically, they take Othello’s name in vain, which implies that they can barely tolerate his appearance. On the other hand, the specter of race can be regarded as a non-factor in the relationship between Othello and Cassio.

Taking all the aforementioned facts into consideration, it is possible to make several conclusions. Othello can be characterized as a strong leader and an experienced, brave, and powerful warrior. On the other hand, his affection towards Desdemona makes him insecure. He is haunted by the ungrounded jealousy. Othello’s obsessive behavior and lack of confidence can be regarded as the consequences of an intrigue artfully played by Iago, Othello’s servant, as well as Othello’s own predisposition towards being weak in the face of his dear ones. As a result, Desdemona and Othello are victimized. All things considered, Othello proves to be a multidimensional character. In this regard, it is important to admit that Shakespeare was a genius when it came to depicting the dialectics of human nature. In other words, Shakespeare was certain that human nature is a complex entity, and this certainty proved to be another distinctive feature of his creative manner. A contrast between what kind of person Othello is as a warrior, as a leader, and as a husband helps William Shakespeare create a humanized tragic character. This contrast can be regarded by the reader as the main dramatic element of the play. This premise is grounded on the symbolism of the very title of the play and relates to the author’s intent. It has been stated previously that even though Othello holds a high-ranking social position, he does not belong in Venice. With regard to this fact, Venice can be viewed as the center of civilization and culture. Probably, William Shakespeare’s purpose in this particular case was to prove that Othello was actually one of the few characters of the play who belonged in the civilized world.

Othello, the Moor of Venice is a tragedy of a person who is charged with the responsibility to guide society on its way of development, to resolve conflicts, and to shape the destinies of men. This can be regarded as pretty much the scenario character of Shakespeare as a playwright. Hence, it is possible to state that this particular play complies with Shakespeare’s own conception of tragedy as a literary genre.

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