“Othello’s Virtue and Valour Ultimately Make Him Admirable.” to What Extent Do You Agree with This View?

In: English and Literature

Submitted By Charlottevernonn
Words 1019
Pages 5
The idea of heroism is one often associated with virtue, courage and valour. Within Othello, Shakespeare questions the meaning behind heroism and admirability in the context of a Venetian society, in which the play is set. Through the tragic descent of Othello’s composure and his actions, the audience is left to wonder whether or not his virtue and presentation as an admirable general and hero, actually exists. Act 1 of the play presents Othello's decisions and behaviour as the epitome of virtue and valour, showing him as a high statured character - the definition of a tragic hero in Aristotelian methods, as it demands a character of greatness to suffer the greatest downfall. Although not necessarily presented as high born, he is deemed to be virtuous through his military prowess and well articulated speech; this however may be argued by the drastic change of fate within act 3 where Othello’s so called ‘valiant’ image is challenged by Iago’s ‘pestilence’ whispered with his own mind which can be seen through his brash actions and broken language, additionally it can be argued that Othello can be deemed dishonourable in his own actions in the first act of the play by his unblessed marriage to Desdemona; therefore the overall presentation and view over Othello is left to debate.

Through Shakespeare’s use of dramatic methods, we as the audience are thrown straight into the action of scene 1,in the form of in media res; it is Iago that announces Othello to the audience as a ‘black ram’ and a ‘devil’, casting an instant doubt within their mind to the character of Othello. The connotations of the ‘ram’,as a promiscuous bestial animal and the ‘satanic’ evil imagery contrast the view of Othello being a hero in Aristotelian sense; the fear of witchcraft and the devil with in the 17th century was at its height with the public and no one believed such a person with an…...

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