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Othello is unusual among Shakespeare's tragedies because much of it is set up

like a typical Shakespearean comedy. A tragedy is a play that focuses on


unfortunate events and that ends unhappily, while a Shakespearian comedy
almost always deals with love and marriage, has a plot that hinges on deception
and disguises, and has a setting that is outside of civilization where supernatural
events can take place and the characters are not held to the normal rules of
society. Othello contains all of the elements of a comedy, but instead of ending in
marriage, the play ends in multiple deaths including that of the tragic hero,
Othello.
In essence the play Othello is a private tragedy tracing the destruction of a
relatively noble man and his marriage. Typically A Shakespearean tragedy is the
polar opposite of a comedy; it "...exemplifies the sense that human beings are
inevitably doomed through their own failures or errors, or even the ironic action
of their virtues, or through the nature of fate, destiny, or the human condition to
suffer, fail, and die...." In other words, it is a drama with an unhappy ending.
Shakespearean tragedy is seen to follow the model of tragedy set by Aristotle;
the plot of the mind tragedies is always centred on just one main character, the
protagonist.
Shakespeare wrote thirty- seven plays; of those 37, twelve of them are labeled
as tragedies, most including "Othello" had been written between 1601 and 1608.
A Shakespearean tragedy has a few characteristics. First, the main character(s)
or protagonists must have a tragic flaw that will bring about his/her final demise
yet must also possess characteristics that allow the audience to feel admiration
or sympathy for him or her. At the same time, this must be a character that is
not completely pure at heart and "goog" but must possess some type of evil in
his/her character. The character of Othello in the play possesses these traits.
Because of the underlying themes in the play (those of love, jealousy because of
love, and murder because of that jealousy), some people would call the play a
romantic tragedy, but it is considered a Shakespearean tragedy, nevertheless.
This Shakespearean tragedy is a saga of suffering culminating in the demise of
the tragic hero. The cursed hero is a very unusual individual of rare traits. He
enjoys a coveted position in society. He is an embodiment of the qualities of a
noble head and heart.
As a military commander Othello towers over his contemporaries. He is
considered the bedrock of the defense of the state of Venice against the
onslaught of the Turks. Even his enemies concede that he is moral, straight
forward, extremely daring, and bereft of meanness. Later in the play, it emerges
that he was blue-blooded in his lineage.
Beyond any doubt, Othello is a highly gifted individual, but he endures
insufferable mental anguish before he meets his grave. The seed of his
destruction is neither a divine plan nor a human curse. It lay within himself as a
tragic failing of his character. The renowned critic A. C. Bradley calls it a fatal
flaw. He has an unexplained propensity for indiscrete and ill-thought behavior.
For example, he is rash and inexcusably impulsive in action. For the exalted

position he held, such volatile and erratic response can result in un-intended
disastrous consequences. The pain he suffers is un-endurable, much worse than
Shakespeares other heroes.
Shakespearean tragedy usually works on a five-part structure, corresponding to
the five acts: Part One, the exposition, outlines the situation, introduces the main
characters, and begins the action. Part Two, the development, continues the
action and introduces complications. Part Three, the crisis (or climax), brings
everything to a head. In this part, a change of direction occurs or understanding
is precipitated. Part Four includes further developments leading inevitably to Part
Five, in which the final crisis of action or revelation and resolution are explained.
Othello follows this pattern
Othello, as a fictional character, shines in his sadness. His pathos and grief make
the novel such an absorbing reading. The plot begins with an external conflict,
but the conflict soon creeps into Othellos heart crippling him for good. His
intense suffering grows more and more excruciating as the story proceeds from
the temptation scene till the end, where we discover the tragic scene of
Desdemonas bed. This grief maintains its stranglehold over Othellos mind
tormenting it with no respite, no remission. His spiritual anguish is so traumatic
that it bedevils even the readers mind with a feeling of dejection and confusion.
Othello tumbles from his enviable status in the society. The crisis tears apart the
moral fibers of his self. He degrades himself, losing his fine sense of judgment. In
a feat of senseless rage, he derides and assaults his wife in full public view. Not
content with this, the valiant warrior resorts to chicanery and eavesdropping
unbecoming of a hero like him. One of the noblest of the citizens of Venice, thus,
morphs into a murderer to kill his devoted and innocent wife Desdemona, with
the vile Iago as the accomplice.
To bring some succor to his guilty self, he plans to cripple Cassio for good. From
Othello, the noble, he degenerates to become Othello, the hideous. Sense of fairplay, justice and dignity desert him. The tragedy become insufferably poignant
as the reader goes through the ordeal of Desdemona. Her husband inflicts a
thousand cuts on her soul, doubting her fidelity and character. The mental
torture becomes unendurable for Desdemona, also plunging the reader in grief.
She is a beleaguered figure, abandoned and cursed by her husband whom she
adores till her last breath. Helplessly weak and left with no recourse to justice,
she meets her doom without a single word of remonstration against her husband.
The admiration and longing for her brute husband does not wane a bit, till her
last.
Othello brings about his downfall himself through his stupidity and naivety. In
other tragedies, Shakespeare conjures up an external intervention that
condemns the hero to disgrace, infamy and death. But, in Othello, there is no
evidence of any vengeful supernatural force. In this novel, an uncanny
coincidence of events precipitates the crisis and the resulting tragedy.
Desdemona dropping her handkerchief unintentionally is the first, and perhaps
the most important mishap. Quite inexplicably, Bianca arrives at the right

moment. More curiously, Iago is able to stage-manage the over-hearing scene.


We witness the spectacle of the proud Othello lying pitiably at the feet of his
sworn enemy and then seeking his help in murdering Iago.
The wicked schemers in this tragedy, as in other tragedies of Shakespeare, suffer
the retribution for their evil deeds. But along with the devil, the virtuous and the
innocent are also destroyed.
Shakespeares Othello is a monumental tragedy that exudes nothing but pathos,
remorse, vengeance and brutality. Othello suffers for his failings, but Desdemona
suffers for no fault of hers. The only heartening feature is the punishment meted
out to Iago, who deserved it so much. We can, therefore, say that in Othello,
justice is meted out unevenly. There is no poetic justice, howeve