Othello’s Tragic Flaw in the Play by William Shakespeare

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The play Othello by William Shakespeare portrays the sad truth of society through the tragic flaws of its characters. The focus is on Iago, Othello’s ancient, who seeks revenge on both Othello and Cassio after being passed up for a promotion. He convinces Othello that Cassio is sleeping with his newly wedded wife, Desdemona. Othello’s jealousy and lack of confidence in himself and Desdemona’s love for him are his tragic flaws, which result in him killing his own wife. While Iago’s manipulation played a significant role in the tragedy, Othello’s responsibility cannot be ignored. Shakespeare’s play brings the characters to life, making it relatable to society today, where such tragedies are not uncommon. Othello’s tragic flaws ultimately led to the tragic ending of the play.

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The sad truth in society shines brightly in the play by William Shakespeare, Othello. The entire play is focused upon Iago, Othello’s ancient, who is out to destroy his general. Othello handed a promotion to Cassio rather than Iago, which leads Iago to seek revenge on them both. He convinces Othello that Cassio is sneaking around with Othello’s newly wedded wife, Desdemona. Iago succeeds in his scheme, causing Othello to eventually strangle and kill his honest wife. This act shows and clarifies the tragic flaws within Othello’s character throughout the play.

Due to Othello’s bad judgment and extreme jealousy, and Iago’s evil genius, both characters are responsible for the tragedy in Venice. A “tragic flaw” is the problem in a character’s personality within a tragedy that brings about his own downfall. Othello fits perfectly into this definition. His destruction becomes his own doing, which makes him no longer a helpless victim in the play. Othello had two major tragic flaws: jealousy and lack of confidence in not only himself but Desdemona’s love for him. Othello’s jealousy comes from Iago telling him Cassio was sleeping with his wife.

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This caused suspicion which then led to Othello falling straight into Iago’s trap. Othello became incapable of thinking clearly and murdered his own wife in their bed. The other flaw, which was lack of confidence, is a huge factor in Othello’s come down. Internally, he knew all the prejudices of those who surrounded him: that a black man is an unpleasant creature and is unworthy of love from someone like Desdemona. These led to Othello second guessing his wife’s love for himself. This then made it easier for him to do what he did.

Although Iago’s evil genius in the way he manipulated everything and everyone caused the tragic death of Desdemona, he is not the only man at fault. It is also partly Othello’s responsibility for this occurrence. It is hard to understand why Othello never communicated about the situation with his wife until he was about to murder her. This is why Othello is to blame just as much as Iago. He killed the woman he loved and recently married because of what another man was leading him to believe. This of course wouldn’t have been possible without Iago’s genius set-ups, which made the whole thing seem so valid to Othello.

Although Othello took his own life after learning what he did to Desdemona was not deserved, he is still responsible just as Iago is. William Shakespeare brought every character to life in this play, making it extremely easy for everyone to personally relate to it. These tragedies, believe it or not, are not uncommon in society today and this is why this play is so worldly famous. Even though Iago began this whole mess, the deep root of the problem is latched onto Othello. His tragic flaws led to the tragic ending of this famous play.

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Othello’s Tragic Flaw in the Play by William Shakespeare. (2016, Sep 16). Retrieved from


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