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Posted on May 1st, 2014, by

In Othello, jealousy stands up as a fatal flaw, hamartia of a tragic hero. But in Shakespeare, the jealousy of Othello is dictated not by the wounded feeling of honor or aggrieved pride of husband-owner, but is the execution of the real duty of a hero, seeking to destroy the evil in the world (Porter 25). Othello is not a melodramatic villain who kills out of jealousy, as in this case the author would not manage to make us interested in his fate and even more ”“ call out this touching and sublimely tragic impression in the audience. Here, the drama is losing its narrowly personal, love meaning and rises to the highest tragic motive – to the clash of personality with the environment.

According to Aristotle (33), the character of each tragic character must have four components: nobility, suitability of characters, plausibility and sequence. Further analysis shows these components in “Othello”¯. At first glance, the confident, calm and consistent manner that characterizes the behavior of Othello at the beginning of the play may suggest that his brave soul has no room for doubt and conflicting emotions. However, one should keep in mind that the contrast between the external appearance of a person and his inner self is the basis of Shakespeare’s poetry. As a general Othello could really show an example of self-control and poise, the qualities without which even the bravest soldiers cannot dream of a marshal’s baton. But if the Moor tried to recall all his life, full of fierce battles, brilliant victories and bitter defeats, it would inevitable seem a chaotic jumble of ups and downs to him.

But Desdemona brought into the life of a stern warrior the harmony he had never known. Even the most serious dangers and hardships that fell to his lot now appeared in a different light before him, since for the sufferings he had once experienced he got the love of the most beautiful woman. In the sea of evil and violence Othello discovered the promised land – not just the island of love, but the stronghold of truth, faith and sincerity. To Othello, Desdemona was the concentration of all the higher moral values, and therefore the blow that Iago causes to him by its effects, in fact, even exceeded the expectations of the accuser. Having vilified Desdemona, Iago deprived Othello of the faith in people in general, and the world once again appeared as a terrible chaos before the Moor.

As the tragedy approaches the finale the darkness thickens with almost physical palpability. Murders and attacks from behind the corner are committed in the dark streets of Cyprus; and at the same time Othello ready to execute Desdemona, puts out the light in her bedroom. But the most terrible darkness reigns in Othello’s soul (Porter 32). The Moor’s darkened mind creates an image of deceitful and depraved Desdemona – the image even more terrifying to Othello as his love for his wife is still immense. What once seemed a stronghold of goodness and purity, in his eyes, is sinking into the abyss of vice which rules the chaos of life.

The theme of chaos organically grows into the theme of Othello’s suicide. In Othello’s passionate love for Desdemona, all the faith in the bright ideals is concentrated. If Desdemona turns out to be ugly and vicious, then the whole world is the continuous realm of evil (“Goats and monkeys!”¯ (Shakespeare 209)), as it was Desdemona who had always been Othello’s only source of spiritual light. Moreover, killing her means immersing into the infinite darkness himself.

The feeling that life is impossible without Desdemona occurs in Othello much earlier than the decision to execute his own wife, and this fact is of great importance and here’s why. With all her beauty and even heroism, Desdemona is only a tool in the fight of Iago against Othello. The fate of Desdemona is almost of no interest for Iago or interests him only insofar as he can use the heroine to deliver a death blow to the Moor. Thus, the biggest success Iago achieves is not the death of Desdemona, but Othello’s suicide, as the main theme of the tragedy is a story on the fact that the forces of evil managed to destroy Othello.

Iago’s success shows how powerful was the evil found in the depths of Venetian civilization, and the death of the main heroes of the play makes “Othello”¯ one of the most grievous tragedies of Shakespeare. Nevertheless, this work does not leave a pessimistic belief that the good is initially and inevitably doomed to be defeated in a clash with the evil. Near-death epiphany of Othello and his return to the faith in high ideals, faith in the real existence of honesty, loyalty, purity, selflessness, love, are not so much a victory as the salvation of Othello. The factual triumphant in the tragedy of the Venetian Moor, the defeater of Iago and Othello’s savior, is Desdemona. Throughout her life, the young heroine rejects the despicable philosophy of Iago, and it is in the image of Desdemona that the major, deep source of optimism lies, which enlightens the final of the grim tragedy.

In Aristotelian manner, Shakespeare shows that the ideals of truth and nobility are a reality, but the very existence of these ideals is under the mortal threat, and the world of selfish egoists is strong enough to deal with the carriers of these high ideals. Telling the world about the tragic fate that has befallen on the characters of his play, Shakespeare says that there are ideals and their victory is possible, but not in terms of this civilization (Battenhouse 528). So the problem of optimism grows into the problem of utopia, in which the Moor serves as the carrier of the highest values, who is an alien to a civilized society, the main principle of which is expressed in words of Iago “Put money in the purse”¯ (Shakespeare 175). The happiness of these beautiful people, Othello and Desdemona, the harmony of their pure and truthful relationships, the harmony they can’t exist without are possible. But the sphere of happiness, the scope of the triumph of high ideals is not civilized Venice, but the utopian realm of “natural human”¯.

Shakespeare’s tragedy fills the hearts of the audience with hatred for the society that destroys Othello and Desdemona, society which is terrible with its self-seeking wickedness, where Iago feels like a duck to water. But as a real Aristotelian tragedy, it also gives us pride for the mankind able to produce people like Othello and Desdemona. Thus, in Shakespeare’s tragedy, the source hero’s immortality lies in one’s power, originality, enormity of one’s character, and the meaning of human life – in the release of the limitless potential of spiritual energy. In this, the great power of Shakespeare’s tragedy is contained, which opened in front of it the centuries-long triumphant way through of stages around the world.

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