What makes Othello a tragic hero?


Quick Answer

William Shakespeare's Othello, from the play, Othello, is a tragic hero because he enters the play as a strong, powerful character but is reduced to a man driven by jealous rage by the end. Othello has everything, loses it all and has no one to blame but himself.

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Full Answer

In the beginning of the play, Othello is a noble warrior. His men respect him and he respects them as well, supporting and praising them for their good work. His reputation as a victorious hero is part of why Desdemona fell in love with him. He is also confident and secure and possesses the qualities most good leaders possess.

Othello's tragedy begins with Iago, who from the moment Othello arrives, had intentions to destroy the man. Because he was passed over for a lieutenant position, Iago carefully crafts a plan to bring Othello down using his own emotions. Once he sees that Othello is a jealous man, he decides to use that as his weapon to destroy Othello.

Othello’s flaw begins and ends with his jealousy. He is a passionate man and he allows himself to believe the worst about his wife, who remains innocent. Othello realizes his foolishness when it is too late. Because he does see his fault in everything, he redeems himself. His sincere sorrow over his loss makes the audience feel sympathy for him, a condition for all tragic heroes.

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