Essay: Othello in Mcbeth | Shakespeare Help

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  • Subject area(s): English Literature
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  • Published on: 1st June 2012
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  • Number of pages: 2

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9. Question: ‘Othello is the agent of his own downfall.’ How far do you agree with this statement?

This Shakespeare essay requires you to consider the notion of the ‘fatal flaw’ which is so often applied to tragedy. The concept, Greek in origin, argues that a tragic hero ‘falls from grace’ because of a basic flaw in his character. This is reflected in many of Shakespeare’s tragedies e.g. Macbeth’s is ambition, Hamlet’s is indecisiveness and Othello’s is jealousy. In this Shakespeare essay you are also being asked to make a judgement as to ‘how far’, i.e. to what extent, Othello’s propensity to jealousy influences his tragic end.

In this Shakespeare essay you should focus on two things:

  • The idea of the fatal flaw and how it is applicable in this case
  • The connection between Iago and Othello and how the former uses the latter’s weakness against him.
    Following the standard five paragraph structure, this essay should be structured in the following way:
  • The introduction - addressing the idea of the fatal flaw and how far it is applicable in this case.
  • The main body - three paragraphs each of which addresses a different aspect of the topic: in this Shakespeare essay, it would be useful to devote one paragraph to Othello himself, one to his relationship with Iago and one to how the idea of the fatal flaw contributes to Othello’s tragedy as much as do the evil machinations of his enemy, Iago. All of these should, of course, as with any Shakespeare essay, be supported by textual evidence and analysis.
  • The conclusion - in this Shakespeare essay, you should focus in the conclusion on stating the extent to which you feel Othello’s jealousy is the ‘agent of his downfall’ since the question asks you directly to address this.

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