What makes Shakespeare’s play a tragedy?
Describe some of the elements that you feel make this play a Tragedy? (Give examples from the play, describe some of the “Preventable” events, What causes them to occur?- Don’t tell me the plot! Hint: She drops a handkerchief…what happens? is that preventable? )
*Note- Emotions, Communication, and Misunderstandings are not preventable! Do not tell me that “Othello just needed to talk to Desdemona” or that “Iago couldn’t have prevented everything by not doing the following…” these are Hypotheticals, and are not facts. You must look at the events of the play and find the ones that could have been stopped. In the case of the Handkerchief.
Do not say that “Desdemona shouldn’t have dropped it, that’s why she’s dead now”
One- that’s victim blaming and was a totally accident.
Two- Emelia GIVING the handkerchief to her husband is the event. If she didn’t do that, then Iago wouldn’t have been able to see his plot all the way through. Emelia immediately knows that something is wrong the moment this event happens as well (thinking that her husband may show her love again… and he simply doesn’t).
Think of this as if it was a court of law. What are the facts? What are the actually events and/or actions that happen that could have been prevented (avoid hypotheticals, opinions, or conjecture).
(2 Paragraph minimum.)
ALSO DO NOT SAY
Cause they all die. Cause Othello dies. Cause everyone is sad and they all die. Death doesn’t make something tragic…
2) Shakespeare demonstrates a sense of Humanity, and Justice in most all of his plays… except for this one it seems. It is also hard to watch this play and keep in mind what the concept of “Race” was in Shakespeare’s time. Scholars say about Othello:
“The play is unique in featuring a Muslim black man as the main protagonist, thus making the work highly relevant in response to the Elizabethan era’s racial policies towards the Moors. Although blacks were not yet regarded as slaves during that time, they had been recently deported after having just been granted diplomatic rights by Queen Elizabeth in 1601. This was due largely to fears of overpopulation, and despite the slave trade not yet being established, the black race was considered inferior during the writing of “Othello.” For this reason, “Othello” is considered a groundbreaking cultural work for its time, as a black Moor is depicted as a civilized, noble, Christian protagonist, which forced its audiences to reconsider racial status during the early 16th century.”
That being said… Why do you think Shakespeare wrote this play? Was he standing up for a different race? Was it an observation about humanity around him? Equality? Equity?
(1-2 Paragraph min.)
DO NOT SAY
He was Racist. He wanted to scare people. He liked death and White Women.