In what ways does Shakespeare present Othello as a typical tragic hero?
Professedly, Shakespeare appears to present Othello as tragic hero, exposing his tragic flaw, which consequently leads to his downfall, through his use of language, structure and form. It could be argued ‘Othello’ appears to conform to Aristotle’s principles of tragedy, of the noble protagonist who undergoes perpetia and endures suffering, resulting in his ultimate downfall due to harmatia, which he eventually realises, providing catharsis for the audience. However, upon further study, such devices may be interpreted to provide a different perception of the protagonist, as more of an atypical victim, exposed to the harsh reality of the society he longs to fit into,
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As the play goes on, the manipulation from Iago begins to corrupt Othello’s mind, taking advantage of his once “free and open nature”, as he implies Desdemona’s unfaithfulness, and due to his hubris he is blind to it. His harmatia is arguably that he is too trusting, as he believes what “honest Iago” is telling him. The audience watch as he is taken advantage of by the fake and malicious acts of Iago, and Shakespeae’s use of dramatic irony aids the audience to empathise with the protagonist, and share a frustration at the tragedy of the unfairness of the situation. A.C Bradley believes it is this trust that brings about his downfall, in a nature that in reality is “virtually flawless”. While it appears that Othello is trusting Iago, this trust is not something instilled in him automatically, but rather something that develops not because of Othello’s supposed trusting nature, but from the “ocular proof” provided through Iago’s heavy staging of events. Although Othello is warned to “beware the green eyes monster”, the jealousy within him does take on quite a monstrous nature, growing inside him and becoming increasingly destructive and intense. The once controlled and well levelled Othello appears to be