Othello as a domestic tragedy

Othello is the best example of a domestic tragedy written by William Shakespeare (1564-1616). It deals with the personal life of Othello and his wife Desdemona. A domestic tragedy is a kind of tragedy that describes the private life of ordinary people. In another word, it is a tragedy that focuses on the dramatic stories of middle and lower-class people concerned with everyday problems, including issues of poverty, relationships, crime, intrigues, and sickness. This type of tragedy was very popular in the days of Shakespeare.  

More Notes: Othello

To describe Othello as a domestic tragedy we need to know about the features of domestic tragedy. 

There are sundry characteristic features of a domestic tragedy such as the ordinary work of life, Presentation of domestic problems, unhappy marriage, protagonist belonging to a lower or middle-class family, conspiracy or intrigues, foreign setting, superstitious belief, common language, intimate relationship, etc. 

In a domestic tragedy, the Protagonist belongs to a lower or middle-class family. We know that Othello, the protagonist of the tragedy Othello belongs to a lower-class family. He is a citizen of Morocco. He comes to Venice for his financial progress. By using his bravery and war skills he has able to overcome the financial problem and became the army general of Venice. He has gained upper rank and mastery in the court of the Duke of Venice. He was also able to marry Desdemona, daughter of Brabantio, a senator of Venice. Since the protagonist of the tragedy belonging a lower-middle-class family in this respect, Othello is a domestic tragedy. 

Presentation of the ordinary work of life is one of the prime issues of a domestic tragedy. In Othello, it is well described that every single character is busy with their everyday activities. It presents domestic problems like love affairs, court, marriage, conspiracy, conflict of human heart, professions natural disasters, etc. which occur human suffering and death. 

Marriage is another important characteristic feature of a domestic tragedy. Secret marriage between Othello and Desdemona, the couple Iago and Emilia’s familial activities, and Roderigo’s strong desire to get Desdemona as his wife are important documents of Othello as a domestic tragedy. Besides, there are many marital histories in Othello that prove that it is a domestic tragedy. 

Superstitious belief is another example of a domestic tragedy. In the mater marriage of Othello and Desdemona, Brabantio, the father of Desdemona charges Othello in the court of Duke Venice that by the help of black magic Othello has convinced Desdemona into the marriage. Hearing the Brabantio all senators of the court Duke of Venice believed it for the first time but finally, Othello has been able to prove that he did not anything to do to get Desdemona as his wife. Desdemona hearing the life story and adventurous events of Othello willingly proposed to marry and Othello welcomed her proposal and marry her in secret with the help of Iago. 

More Notes: Suggestions

As a domestic tragedy, Othello has a foreign setting because it is an important part of this type of tragedy. The story of Othello sets in Venice and then turns to Cyprus, known as a multicultural city. So, the setting also proves that Othello is nothing but a domestic tragedy. 

As a domestic tragedy Conspiracy is an inevitable part of Othello.  The complex intrigue of villain Iago is a sharp witness of Othello as a domestic tragedy. Because of Iago’s conspiracy, we find the downfall of pure love between Othello and Desdemona. Besides Roderigo and Iago’s life end for the conspiracy. Being the victim of conspiracy Othello killed his beloved wife Desdemona and also killed himself. The downfall comes in our human society because of the Conspiracy. So, in the respect of the existence of conspiracies, Othello is a domestic tragedy. 

Besides Othello’s conflict of heart whether Desdemona loves him or another, the use of common language, and the violation of three dramatic unities all are the fundamental feature of a domestic tragedy proving that Othello is a striking example of a domestic tragedy. 

Finally, it is pure water like clear that Othello is packed with characteristics of a domestic tragedy which show us all kind of domestic problems. It also gives a message that everybody should properly investigate before taking any reaction. we should listen carefully to all sides before taking any decision against the other. 

Rashedul Islam
Rashedul Islam

Hi, This is Rashedul. Researcher and lecturer of English literature and Linguistics.

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