Othello Questions and Answers
by William Shakespeare

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How "Othello" is different from Shakespear's other great tragedies?

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Jay Gilbert, Ph.D. eNotes educator | Certified Educator

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The existing educator responses give some great answers to this question. Another element I would add which, for me, makes this tragedy different to Shakespeare's others is the element of Iago, who drives the plot and who is largely responsible for causing the tragedy. While Othello does have a fatal flaw—his jealousy—without which Iago would not have been able to work his machinations so easily, it is not as straightforward to point, in this play, to the hero's tragic flaw as the cause of all his troubles. Because without Iago we cannot say whether Othello's flaw would have been severe enough to have orchestrated his downfall. In King Lear, for example, we can clearly see that Lear's flaw, his arrogance and lack of perceptiveness, drives him to his own downfall. Likewise, in Macbeth, the tragedy is driven by Macbeth's ambition, albeit encouraged by that of his wife. In Hamlet , his indecisiveness is what causes the play's tragedies to go on and on. Othello's tragic flaw does not have the...

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Michael Stultz, M.A. eNotes educator | Certified Educator

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