William Shakespeare has written many plays. His most tragic play is Othello. Othello is also the name of the main character in the play, he is quite hard to understand. In order to have a better understanding of Othello’s character, examining his changes throughout the play, flaws, and why he is considered a tragic hero will give the reader an insight into his overall personality.

Othello changes many times throughout the course of the play. At the beginning of the play Othello trusts Desdemona with everything, but throughout the play, he loses confidence in her because he listens to Iago’s suggestions about her. “‘Cassio, my lord? No, sure, I cannot think it That he would sneak away so guilty like, Seeing you come.'” (Shakespeare 105). He shows disrespect to Desdemona in front of other people. “‘Devil’ he strikes her ‘I have not deserved this.'” (141).  

Othello changes even more dramatically because of the poison suggestions that Iago has given him.  He goes out of control and eventually kills Desdemona thinking that she has done something wrong. Othello has many tragic flaws. He is a really gullible person, for example, he was tricked by Iago; thinking that Desdemona was really having an affair with Cassio. ” ` Did he confess it?'” (134). He trusts Iago too much and totally relies on Iago, therefore, making him really vulnerable to Iago’s devilish schemes.

Othello’s gullibility causes him to be jealous. He lets his jealousy take over, he loses control of himself and acts on his jealous emotions, he lets his jealousy clutter his mind and good judgment. “` Damn her, lewd minx! O, damn her, damn her! Come go with my part. I will withdraw To furnish me with some swift means of death. For the fair devil. Now are my lieutenant'” (122). Othello’s other flaw is his anger. Othello acts upon his anger and therefore ends up doing the things he regrets afterward. “`It is too late.’ `O Lord, O Lord, Lord!’ he smothers her”(168). Therefore by examining those points Othello has many tragic flaws in him.

Othello is considered a tragic hero because he fights for the people in Venice in Cyprus. “‘The Turk with a most mighty preparation makes for Cyprus. Othello, the fortitude of the place is best known to you….” (70).  He is looked upon as a hero by the Duke of Venice. The Duke praises Othello for his abilities and accomplishments.

He is considered to be tragic because he has fallen into the trap of Iago.  Also, Othello ends up killing Desdemona and then commits suicide for the wrongful slaying of his wife. “`… I took by th’throat the circumcised dog And smote him thus.’ He stabs himself” (180).  The moor kills himself because he takes responsibility for what he did, which makes him the tragic hero.

Othello is considered the most tragic Shakespeare play. Othello is a character of many possibilities. His character is quite intriguing, the changes he goes through, the flaws among him, and why he is considered a tragic hero give us a detailed explanation of Othello as an overall person.

Cite this article as: William Anderson (Schoolworkhelper Editorial Team), "William Shakespeare: Othello Character Analysis," in SchoolWorkHelper, 2019, https://schoolworkhelper.net/william-shakespeare-othello-character-analysis/.

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