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Othello - The Romantic Tragic Hero

A .C . Bradley , in his essay from Shakespearean Tragedy (1904 asserts that the character of Othello is one of the most romantic figures in Shakespeare . While he does have some of the characteristics of a romantic hero , he falls short in some measures . Many of the things that Othello does in the play are indicative of a romantic figure such as his position as an outsider in society , his tendency towards extremism and his enigmatic past . However , his overall life philosophy does not seem to mesh with

those of the romantics . Othello can only be partially classified as a romantic hero while his actions support romanticism , his inner thoughts and general philosophy do not seem to do so

Othello is definitely an outsider , almost rejected by society as most romantic heroes are . First and foremost Othello is called a Moor , a black person . While many critics debate whether Othello was a dark black African or simply a dark-complexioned individual , the fact remains that he was certainly not Italian . Bradley notes that .we know that sixteenth-century called an dark North African a Moor , or a black Moor , or a blackamoor (Bradley 254 . Shakespeare , in using the word Moor , may have been in error as to its precise usage

This blackness sets Othello apart from society . In fact , references to Othello 's blackness pervade the play , constantly reminding the reader of his color and ethnicity . As black is archetypally associated with evil this color reference may serve to set the character of Othello apart from the reader as well . Iago notes to Desdemona 's father that an old black ram / Is topping your white ewe .the devil will make a grandsire of you (I ,i , 87-88 , 91 . These animal and Satanic references used to refer to Othello further show his isolation from society and the derogatory opinions that people hold about him

This separation , or difference , is especially evident when Desdemona 's father , Brabantio , can only conceive of his daughter falling in love with Othello as the result of the chains of magic (I ,ii ,65 ) which made her run to his sooty bosom (I ,ii ,70 . The mention of charms and potions indicates a different belief system entirely from which Othello comes . The connotation is a pagan and cannibalistic upbringing which is entirely foreign to the people of Venice . As Bradley aptly notes about the character of Othello , He does not belong to our world (Bradkley 250 . Of course , this very quality is what makes him a romantic hero in another way - the mysterious and enigmatic figure with the spotted past and who has experienced a myriad of situations and traveled to wild and exotic places . This is definitely that case with the hero Othello

While defending his secret marriage to Desdemona , Othello recounts the rapt attention she paid to the stories of his past . He discusses the men whose heads do grow beneath their shoulders ' while Desdemona .with a greedy ear would...

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