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A Lover’s Tragic Fall

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A Lover’s Tragic Fall

A Lover’s Tragic Fall

The thought of being made a cuckhold, losing honor and respect, and foolishness all play an important role throughout William Shakespeare’s, Othello. The main character, Othello, is a tragic hero. He is well respected, he has a tragic flaw of machismo, and in the end his fall is far more than he deserves.

Othello is a man of high stature in Venice. He is the general of the army, he is part of the gentry, but most importantly he is well respected. When the duke addresses Othello about marrying Desdeoma he says to him, “Valiant Othello…”(I.iii.56). Valiant is a word of respect. It means boldness, indomitable, noble, valorous, and worthy. To be considered valiant by the duke and Othello’s peers is commendable on its own. When Othello tells how Desdemona fell in love with him, he claims it’s because of the experience he has, the wars he’s fought and survived, and the dangerous ventures he had been though. When Othello tells this tale, the duke says, “I think this tale would win my daughter, too”(I.iii.197). He is implying that such noble work would be enough to make any woman love him.

The Duke then calls for Desdemona to verify whether Othello is telling the truth or not. When she gets to the court she tells Brabantiao, her father, that she loves him and she is very grateful to him, owes him her life, education, but Othello is her husband and she respects him and loves him as her mother loved Brabantio. To say this to her father and hurt him like that, had to be hard for Desdemona, but also shows her love and honor to Othello. Othello gets word that he is to go to Cyprus to fight the Turks and that Desdemona will be left behind, but she pleads,

That I (did) love the Moor to live with him

My downright violence and storm of fortunes

May trumpet to the world. My heart’s subdued

Even to the very quality of my lord.

I saw Othello’s visage in his mind,

And to his honors and his valiant parts

Did I my soul and fortunes consecrate.

So that, dear lords, if I be left behind,

A moth of peace, and he go to war,

The rites for why I love him are bereft me

And I a heavy interim shall support

By his dear absence. Let me go with him.


She first states how she is so in love with him that she wants to voice it to anyone who will listen. She wants to “trumpet to the world” her love for her dear Othello. She then says that she fell in love with him because of his stature and his role as a noble soldier. She uses the word valiant to describe him again. She wants to go with him to war to experience the reasons she loves him so much. For someone to be this in love with him that she is willing to stake her life is again showing how respected and how people think of this great lord. Critics David L. Jeffrey and Patrick Grant add, “He has married Desdemona legally, by her own consent and within the auspices of the church. The senate, therefore, he knows must protect him, and he maintains a noble and imposing righteousness, all the more impressive when those around him are in turmoil” (141). They are saying Othello’s reputation was at stake, and even though most people are looking down upon this marriage, they have to respect it because it was done the right way and this truly is what Desdemona wants. Again Othello’s nobleness proceeds him. Throughout the entire book he is referred to as “noble moor” and “worthy Othello” to emphasize how respected he really is.

Every tragic hero must have a tragic flaw. Othello’s was his machismo. According to, machismo is, “a strong or exaggerated sense of manliness; an assumptive attitude that virility, courage, strength, and entitlement to dominate are attributes or concomitants of masculinity” (“machismo”). When someone is looked up to by so many people, the pressure to never fail or get disrespected is huge. Othello was so obsessed with not being made a cuckhold that he would not step back and assess the situation. He fell to Iago’s conniving and meddlesome ways. Iago was able to convince Othello he was his friend. Othello only once questioned Iago and asked for verbal verification about his wife’s infidelity by saying,

Villian, be sure thou prove my love a whore!

Be sure of it. Give me the ocular proof,

Or, by the

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