Oedipus and Othello are both tragic heroes, according to Aristotle’s definition, and both experience a downfall. However, the natures of their downfalls are different. Othello fails due to the jealousy that arises as a result of human treachery. Oedipus’ downfall however has already been decided. His fate follows him continuously and leads him to even more trouble than he was embroiled in before. Oedipus was destined to do what he did, while Othello chose his own fate. Othello can therefore be seen to be more responsible for his downfall. Oedipus’ fate on the other hand was sealed. The gods had decided his actions and his downfall.
Having been created by mature playwrights, both characters are well rounded. However, while the appeal of the emotions experienced by Othello may be universal, those experienced by Oedipus are less so. Most people can understand the feelings of a jealous husband. However, the emotions experienced by Oedipus are harder for a layman to relate to. Oedipus’ actions, his life, the tragedy that perpetually follows him make the understanding of his character more complex. Othello’s character is more believable. One perpetually hears stories like his in the news. A jealous husband, overcome with emotion, and committing a crime of passion is more believable simply because one sees such examples around one.
Pride is a trait seen in both characters. While it can generally be an attribute, in both cases here it leads to their downfall. Both express their pride in different ways. Oedipus is proud of his achievements since he leftCorinthand refuses to believe that by killing his father and marrying his mother he has truly fulfilled his fate.
Othello, on the other hand, expresses his pride by believing that his friends would not betray him because of his powerful position as General inVenice. .
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