How can it be said that Shakespeare's Othello is unique among his other tragic works?How can it be said that Shakespeare's Othello is unique among his other tragic works?

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

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I think that one interesting element in Othello is that there is not really a profound sense that the main character has been able to grasp his own tragic condition.  King Lear articulates this in a poignant manner, Macbeth speaks this in receiving the news of his wife's death, and Hamlet's ability to speak of his own condition is what defines his character.  Othello really does not speak so freely and openly about his own predicament.  Rather, he simply is seen as a reactive character who understands at the end Iago's own deception.  There is little in way of reflection or rumination in terms of sensing his own predicament.  This is what helps make the drama unique because it shows that tragedy is not limited to the profound or those who have a penchant for drama.  There is tragedy in everything, even in those who cannot appreciate it fully.  The concept of tragedy is something that envelops our being in the world, and Othello might not fully grasp it, but he understands it.  In experiencing it without articulating it, Othello is a unique tragedy in its demonstration that tragedy does not have to be unique in its own impact on human beings.

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