Tragic Flaws of Othello: a Study of The Moor's Fatal Weakness

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About this sample

About this sample


Words: 730 |

Pages: 2|

4 min read

Published: Jun 14, 2024

Words: 730|Pages: 2|4 min read

Published: Jun 14, 2024

Table of contents

  1. Othello's Jealousy: The Catalyst for Tragedy
  2. The Manipulation of Othello: Iago's Masterful Deception
  3. Othello's Naivety: A Tragic Flaw Exploited
  4. Conclusion
  5. Bibliography

In the tragedy of Othello, Shakespeare presents a complex and multi-faceted character in the form of Othello, the noble Moor of Venice. While Othello possesses many admirable qualities, he also harbors a tragic flaw that ultimately leads to his downfall. This essay will explore Othello's tragic flaw, examining its manifestations throughout the play and analyzing its implications on the character's fate. Through an examination of Othello's jealousy, manipulation, and naivety, it becomes evident that his tragic flaw lies in his susceptibility to the manipulations of others, particularly Iago.

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Othello's Jealousy: The Catalyst for Tragedy

One of Othello's most prominent tragic flaws is his overwhelming jealousy, which is skillfully exploited by the villainous Iago. From the very beginning of the play, Othello's jealousy is evident, as he becomes convinced of his wife Desdemona's infidelity based on nothing but Iago's insinuations. Othello's jealousy blinds him to the truth and clouds his judgment, leading him to commit acts of violence and ultimately to the tragic ending of the play.

The keyword "what is Othello's tragic flaw" can be answered by examining the destructive power of his jealousy. Othello's susceptibility to jealousy is initially hinted at when he states, "Haply, for I am black and have not those soft parts of conversation that chamberers have" (1.3). Othello's insecurity about his race and inability to fully trust his wife sets the stage for Iago to manipulate his emotions and exploit his tragic flaw.

Moreover, Othello's jealousy is not only directed towards his wife but also towards Cassio, whom he believes to be his rival for Desdemona's affections. This jealousy is further fueled by Iago's cunning manipulation, as he plants seeds of doubt in Othello's mind regarding Cassio's loyalty and integrity. As Othello becomes consumed by jealousy, he becomes increasingly irrational and impulsive, leading to disastrous consequences.

The Manipulation of Othello: Iago's Masterful Deception

While Othello's jealousy is undoubtedly his tragic flaw, it is Iago's ability to manipulate this flaw that truly drives the play's tragic events. Iago exploits Othello's trust and vulnerability, using his position as a trusted advisor to manipulate Othello's emotions and manipulate him into believing in Desdemona's infidelity.

Iago's manipulation is evident in his use of language and his ability to plant doubt in Othello's mind. For example, he states, "O, beware, my lord, of jealousy! / It is the green-eyed monster which doth mock / The meat it feeds on" (3.3). This metaphorical language not only appeals to Othello's emotions but also highlights Iago's skill in manipulating his tragic flaw.

Furthermore, Iago's manipulation extends beyond the realm of jealousy. He manipulates Othello's perception of reality, leading him to doubt the honesty and fidelity of those closest to him. Through his manipulation, Iago is able to turn Othello against his most loyal allies and ultimately destroy his own life.

Othello's Naivety: A Tragic Flaw Exploited

In addition to his jealousy and susceptibility to manipulation, Othello's tragic flaw also lies in his naivety. Despite being a seasoned and respected military leader, Othello proves to be naive in matters of the heart and easily swayed by the deceitful actions of others. This naivety allows Iago to easily manipulate him and orchestrate his tragic downfall.

Othello's naivety is evident in his unquestioning trust in Iago, despite Iago's reputation for deceit and treachery. Othello's inability to see through Iago's facade of loyalty and friendship highlights his tragic flaw and ultimately leads to his downfall.

Moreover, Othello's naivety is also evident in his inability to see the truth and question the evidence presented to him. He readily accepts Iago's manipulations and fails to critically analyze the situation, leading to disastrous consequences for himself and those around him.


In conclusion, Othello's tragic flaw lies in his susceptibility to the manipulations of others, particularly Iago. His overwhelming jealousy, easily manipulated nature, and naivety all contribute to his downfall. As the keyword "what is Othello's tragic flaw" suggests, it is the combination of these flaws that ultimately leads to Othello's tragic fate.

Shakespeare's portrayal of Othello serves as a cautionary tale about the dangers of unchecked emotions and the power of manipulation. Othello's tragic flaw reminds us of the importance of maintaining a critical and discerning mindset, as well as the need to question the motivations and actions of those around us. By examining Othello's tragic flaw, we can gain a deeper understanding of human nature and the complexities of the human psyche.

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Shakespeare, William. Othello. Edited by E. A. J. Honigmann, Bloomsbury Publishing, 2016.

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This essay was reviewed by
Dr. Charlotte Jacobson

Cite this Essay

Tragic Flaws of Othello: A Study of the Moor’s Fatal Weakness. (2024, Jun 14). GradesFixer. Retrieved July 20, 2024, from
“Tragic Flaws of Othello: A Study of the Moor’s Fatal Weakness.” GradesFixer, 14 Jun. 2024,
Tragic Flaws of Othello: A Study of the Moor’s Fatal Weakness. [online]. Available at: <> [Accessed 20 Jul. 2024].
Tragic Flaws of Othello: A Study of the Moor’s Fatal Weakness [Internet]. GradesFixer. 2024 Jun 14 [cited 2024 Jul 20]. Available from:
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