What is Othello's tragic flaw that causes his downfall?

Othello's tragic flaw is often identified as jealousy, but other possible tragic flaws include insecurity and poor judgment.

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In literature, a tragic flaw (or hamartia in Greek) is a trait that causes a character's downfall. Othello's tragic flaw is often identified as jealousy, and he is indeed a jealous man. The thought of his wife, Desdemona, with another man nearly drives him crazy. Yet behind this jealousy is something more. Othello has a strong tendency to act before he thinks and before he knows all aspects of a situation. He is impulsive and often thoughtless, and this perhaps is even more of a tragic flaw than his jealousy.

Othello begins the play with an impulsive act. He marries Desdemona against her father's wishes without fully considering the consequences. Thankfully for him, the duke and the senate are sympathetic to Othello and Desdemona and override the desires of her enraged father.

When Cassio is attacked by Roderigo, Othello jumps to conclusions and acts without knowing the full story. Listening to the dishonest Iago, Othello dismisses Cassio without taking into account the latter's side of the...

(The entire section contains 9 answers and 1851 words.)

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