The Tragedy of Othello by William Shakespeare is a great work by a great author. Shakespeare was correct in titling it The Tragedy of Othello because Othello lost so much. In the literary sense, a tragedy is the downfall of a character through that character’s own flaws. The way most people see a tragedy is a story where there is much suffering and loss, and a not so happy ending. No matter way one looks at it, literary or public sense, this was a correct title. The main character, Othello, brought his own downfall upon him through his flaws, caused the suffering of many people, and he himself loss very much.
All of these factors pile up to equal a big tragedy. The biggest things that one notices in the plot, are the great losses incurred by Othello. A key loss of Othello was that of his best companion, his wife, Desdemona. Desdemona was the closest person to him; no one can get closer to a guy than his wife. They were able to share their thoughts with each other and that is very powerful. The unfortunate part to it was that it only took a couple untruthful words from Iago to change Othello’s opinion of her. “O, beware, my lord, of jealousy! / It is the green eyed monster…” (III, iii).
From words like this, and just a little more suggestions, Othello killed his wife. Its hard to believe that just a few well-placed words like this started a chain reaction that caused great harm to Othello. Another is how Othello lost his friends, and is faith in them. By the end of the story, Othello has lost probably his best friend he had in Cassio. He lost Cassio because he did not trust him; Othello thought Cassio was his enemy. Othello believed in Iago so much that he forgot about others. And this trust in Iago was wrongly placed; he turned out to be his true enemy.
Othello brought this upon himself by blindly following Iago when he had no other reason to do so but Iago’s reputation as an honest fellow. “I know, Iago, Thy honesty and love…” (II, iii). Another loss of Othello’s was his good name, his reputation. The full effect of this loss is not fully seen in the story; it is more something that is understood. Everyone looked up to Othello has a person and as a role model, but after they hear what happened, his reputation will be stained. He won’t be considered as great of a leader, which he actually was.
The cause for his loss in reputation was Othello’s plot of assassination of Cassio, one of his own officers. “Within these three days let me hear thee say that Cassio’s not alive. ” (III, iii). Perhaps Othello’s biggest loss was that of his own life. Is there anything more valuable to one’s self than their own life? Not only did he lose is his life in physical sense, but he lost every aspect to his life. He lost his wife, his friends, and his reputation among others. The loss of his life affected others to, just like someone else’s death would affect a relative.
What might make his death have even more effect is that he committed suicide. In most causes of suicide, the survivors feel even more grief cause they wonder if they could have done anything to prevent the killing. Othello’s death, and the other deaths created by the doings of Iago, filled the survivors with much hanger and hatred towards Iago, as demonstrated by the words of Lodovico: “To you, Lord Governor,/ Remains the censure of this hellish villain (Iago). / The time, the place, the torture-O enforce it! ” (V, ii). Perhaps the biggest key to all of the other losses is the loss of Othello’s mind.
More and more losses occur with the increasing depletion of Othello’s state of mind. When Othello first heard of the possibility of his wife’s unfaithfulness, he still had some sanity left in him; but it was the first domino of the many to fall. When he and Iago talk about Desdemona’s faith, Othello demands proof of Iago’s accusations. “Set on thy wife to observe…” (III, iii). The more of what he heard about Desdemona’s supposed affair with Cassio, the more and more Othello started to lose control of himself and the situation.
My lord has fall’n into an epilepsy. / This is his second fit; he had one yesterday. ” (IV, i). His mind was so manipulated that he was never in control of himself. When he learned the truth that Iago had used him, his last chance of sanity was practically shattered. The only thing he had left was his sense of responsibility when he told Cassio to tell what really happened in his report after everything is said and done. “I pray you, in your letters,/ When you shall these unlucky deeds relate,/ Speak of me as I am. Nothing extenuate…” (V, ii).
He realized that what he did was wrong, and no one wants to be known for doing something wrong when it is not a good thing. But, he knew the truth and that what he did was wrong, so he took responsibility. This was his last affiliation with sanity, he soon died, but he knew it was too late to go on and that going on would be too painful. Othello’s flaw was that he took for everything for how it seemed from a distance. He never did research things for himself or ask others for their view on the subject until it was too late.
Shakespeare was completely correct in titling the play The Tragedy of Othello, no matter which way one is analyzing the story, literary or by public sense. For every loss that most people would use to consider it, there is flaw that correlates with the literary definition of a tragedy. Whether it was a small loss or a huge loss, it was supported with a mistake or flaw of Othello. Othello created his own downfall. Yes, it was with the aid of Iago, but he still caused it. It just took Iago to bring his flaws to the surface. Iago was a master manipulator, Othello played right into his hands, so Othello was just a victim of Iago.