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Titus and Othello

             The plays "Titus Andronicus" and "Othello" by William Shakespeare both follow the classic structure of tragedy. The classic tragic hero, a central character who suffers some serious misfortune connected with his actions, is the main focus of each of these plays. Both title characters show the plight of the tragic hero well, but Shakespeare portrays the characters Titus and Othello in a very different fashion. By creating differences in self-knowledge, reaction to betrayal, and how military experience affects personality, Shakespeare shows that he can create convincing and unique tragic heroes while still sticking to the notion of what these heroes should portray and contribute to a tragic play. .
             The concept of self-knowledge is portrayed very differently in both characters, and this self-knowledge greatly affects each hero's fate and determines how they interact with other characters. However, Shakespeare creates the same tragic flaw in Titus and Othello- hubris, or excessive pride and passion. Hubris causes both characters to kill someone they love irrationally, and is ultimately the downfall of both characters. .
             Excessive pride in Titus" character ultimately leads to his demise. His drive to maintain his honor causes him to kill many to preserve it (his own son and daughter included), and blinds him to the fact that pride is what is causing most of the turmoil in his life in the first place, eventually leading to his murder. The presence of hubris in Othello's character leads to his downfall as well, making him gullible and too trusting of others (especially Iago). This gullibility eventually leads him to kill his own wife, and, out of remorse, to kill himself.
             Shakespeare follows classic tragic form when writing Othello's character, causing him to recognize his mistakes before he dies. Othello begins the play as a master of self-knowledge - he is of noble birth, he has self-control, and his leadership abilities draw Venetian senators and soldiers alike - and is what captivates Desdemona.

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