Shakespeare's Othello Essay

Pages: 6 (1987 words)  ·  Style: MLA  ·  Bibliography Sources: 5  ·  File: .docx  ·  Level: College Senior  ·  Topic: Black Studies - Philosophy

The story of Othello may have happened as history, i.e. As direct retelling of tale and event. Dramatized, however, in a visual way where we see the events unfolding, the story -- as Aristotle pointed out -- has a greater impact on us, since it moves us, makes us relive the tale, and the fear and pity that we feel for the man evokes in us a catharsis of escaped emotion.

Sometimes, explains Aristotle, the hero is unaware for the calamity until the very end. This is what happened to Oedipus, and this is what occurs in Othello too. Only with Emilia's revelation of the handkerchief is Othello aware of his grotesque error and then he injures his enemy and kills himself. The tragedy is all the more acute, since we, the spectators, are aware all the time of that which Othello is unaware of: namely that he ahs an enemy who is constantly endeavoring to dupe and destroy him. And we know that slowly but surely his enemy, whom Othello trusted, will succeed. The complexities of the plot may make us lose some of the strands, but Othello remains the central hero, and back and again we return to him thrilling for his survival and anguishing at his error at the end.

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Plot, character, diction, thought, spectacle, and melody (VI.2) are the six components that constitute an Aristotelian tragedy. The plot is more complex than Aristotle would have wanted; the character, however, is there (in fact all the characters cohere to Aristotle's conditions for characters in a tragedy; they are all 3-diemntaiosnl and realistic); the thought and diction arguably are there, as is spectacle -- the drama -- and the unsurpassable Shakespearian melody.


Essay on Shakespeare's Othello: Is it a Assignment

Aristotle, in Poetics, presents certain conditions for a Tragedy to be defined as such. Key conditions hinge primarily on certain elements of plot and secondary on certain components of character. Shakespeare's Othello seems to fulfill most of the conditions with the exception that the plot is more complex and circuitous than that demanded by Aristotle's condition of a unified, taut arraigned whole. Nonetheless, Othello's drop hinges on a peripety moment. We identify with him for his cause -- and -effect action was prompted by error, and this makes shim as human as any of us for we perceive the same results as potentially happening to us. Whilst a tragedy in the modern sense, Othello almost succeeds in being a tragedy in the Aristotelian sense, too.


Aristotle. (1970). Poetics. Univ. Of Michigan Press

Gellrich, M. (1988). Tragedy and theory. The problem of conflict since Aristotle. Princeton: Princeton Univ.

Greek theory of tragedy: Aristotle's Poetics

New York College. Outline of Aristotle's theory of tragedy

Shakespeare, W. (2008) The Norton Shakespeare. NY: WW Norton

Shakespeare, W. (1988) Othello NY, Bantam

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How to Cite "Shakespeare's Othello" Essay in a Bibliography:

APA Style

Shakespeare's Othello.  (2011, October 17).  Retrieved January 20, 2021, from

MLA Format

"Shakespeare's Othello."  17 October 2011.  Web.  20 January 2021. <>.

Chicago Style

"Shakespeare's Othello."  October 17, 2011.  Accessed January 20, 2021.