Do you think Othello was a hero?Do you think Othello was a hero?

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Ashley Kannan | Middle School Teacher | (Level 3) Distinguished Educator

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It is a tough question to address.  On one hand, Othello is so very human.  He is trapped by his own insecurities and doubts and lacks the capacity to overcome them in trusting Desdemona.  At the same time, he lacks the basic vocabulary to openly discuss how these insecurities are impeding his own growth and maturation.  In this, he is a very human character. In a way, this is what makes him slightly heroic to me because he is so accessible.  Human beings can identify with who Othello is and how he acts because of his distinctly human element.  In some respects, this is heroic because it makes the hero more accessible to the reader.  On another level, if the standard of heroism is one that must transcend what it means to be human, I am not certain that Othello is a hero because he continually proves to be "only human."  I think that the answer to this comes down to how one views the condition of the hero and whether or not a hero should be merely human or seek to transcend it.  For me, I have always been able to identify more with heroes who represent the pain and suffering of what it means to be human, and for this, Othello is a human hero for me.

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