Recognition in Tragedy - Othello Essay

1564 Words Mar 1st, 2011 7 Pages
’There are various degrees of recognition in tragedy. In Othello, recognition is minimal: the protagonist learns what he has done and what he has lost, but learns little or nothing about himself.’’ How far do you agree? – This is a quote that I have adapted into my thesis, taken from ‘’A Book of literary terms’’.

Anagnorisis, a Greek word meaning ‘’recognition’’, is described by Aristotle as ‘’a change from ignorance to knowledge’’. I agree with this statement as, in the play Othello, Othello’s character experiences this transition but not fully, he doesn’t get to the point of self realisation where he can be ‘’wash[ed]’’ (V.II.278) or cleansed to reach redemption. In Othello, recognition is minimal as the character never manages to
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His metaphors of roses (‘’pluck thy rose’’ V.II.13) and lights (put out the light, and then put out the light’’ V.II.7) can be seen as nothing more than essential, self-protective euphemisms. They steady him and reassure him of what he initially believes (but to us as an audience we see it as precarious). Othello's allusion to Prometheus explains his wish to put out Desdemona's light in order to restore her former innocence. At the time of her murder Othello seems intent upon dwelling in beautiful images and poetic metaphors to hide the wrongness of his deed – he continues to do this after her murder, covering up his sin with metaphors such as ‘’this look of thine will hurl me from heaven’’ again placing the blame on her almost. He juxtaposes heaven and hell - the ‘’winds’’ and the ‘’sulphur’’ and the idea of ‘’’roasting [in] liquid fire’’ (V.II 277-278) - to Desdemona’s ‘’whiter skin of hers than snow ‘’ (V.II.4) this explains his despair, and the virtue he finds that Desdemona did possess.
The two last orations of Othello are noble in speech and purpose, but lack comprehension. He uses the first to attack himself for his horrible deed. He delivers condemnation upon himself with eloquence and anguish. The last speech he gives in his final role as a leader, directing the men who remain how to deal with what has happened and showing them he has purged or is rid of the evil, asking them to ‘’speak of [him] as [he] is’’ (V.II.338).
Othello condemns his hand for

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