What could stop the tragedy in the play "Othello" by William Shakespeare?

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William Delaney eNotes educator| Certified Educator

The whole tragedy of Othello hinges on a sheer accident. Othello demands proof of Desdemona's infidelity from Iago and threatens him with the direst consequences if he fails to produce that proof. Iago manages to get hold of a handkerchief which was of great sentimental value to Othello and which he gave to Desdemona. Desdemona accidentally drops it and Iago's wife Emilia picks it up. She turns it over to her husband at his request, although she certainly ought to realize that she ought to return it to her mistress Desdemona and she certainly ought to be curious as to why Iago is so anxious to get possession of that handkerchief. This whole business with the handkerchief is too contrived for a serious tragedy. It is a great, glaring weakness in Shakespeare's play. Iago contrives to get that same handkerchief into Cassio's possession, and then implausibly manages to have Othello present when Cassio wipes his brow with the handkerchief and makes jokes about Bianca which Othello believes are about Desdemona. It is because of this "evidence" that Othello murders his wife without giving her a chance to prove her innocence. Emilia could have explained everything in a minute, but she doesn't hear about the handkerchief until her mistress is dead. Iago is very clever, but his tricks with the handkerchief only show accident and luck, not cleverness.

literaturenerd eNotes educator| Certified Educator

There are many different things which contribute to the tragedy in William Shakespeare's play "Othello." Therefore, many things could be removed from the play and stop the tragic nature of the play itself. (That being said, the play would be ruined given its message would be lost.)

First, the removal of Iago would surely remove the tragic nature of the play. Iago is the character responsible for bringing to light the infidelity of Othello's wife. Without this knowledge, Othello;s life would be very different.

Another thing which could be removed from the play is Othello's hamartia (tragic flaw). Othello's hamartia is jealousy, impossible and blinding love, trusting nature of others, and his own personal deception. Without his hamartia, Othello would not be the man he is and the tragic nature of the play could be avoided.

One last thing which could be removed from the play is Desdemona's affair with Cassio. Without the affair, Iago could not manipulate Othello and Othello's jealousy would not have been an issue.

seemachoudhary | Student

certains factors such as jealousy and ego if terminated can make it devoid of tragedy along with the feeling of love and trust which is an essential requisite of any should be strong enough to remove this negatives.