fatal flaw

Flawed Hero
Hubris – extreme pride, over-confidence
Anagnorisis - realisation
Hamartia – error or fatal flaw
Catharsis - acceptance and healing
Shakespearean Tragedy
Heroes are victims of their own excesses or
Lack of understanding prevents them from
seeing the truth
Suffer from inner conflict
Characters of high power of status
Fits in – gained
respect, “valiant”
affectionate, romantic
Honourable – “my
perfect soul”
Honest – “it is most
Trusted, admired
Trusting – Trusts Des,
Venetian justice,
human nature
Too trusting- “honest
Naïve- in human
Race – outsider,
“Happly for I am
Belief in justice and
human nature
“loved … too well”
Fatal Flaw
Othello’s fatal flaw is jealousy
What is jealousy?
What does Othello want?
Question (2006, Q3)
Choose a play which underlines how one
person’s flaw(s) can have a significant
impact on other people as well as on
himself or herself.
Explain briefly the nature of the flaw(s)
and then, in detail, assess how much the
character and others are affected.
How can we understand Othello’s
How is it linked to positive qualities in Othello’s
What other factors make us more sympathetic?
How does the character of Iago affect how we
feel towards Othello?
Can you justify Othello’s actions at the end of
the play?
In what ways is jealousy ‘monstrous’?
In what ways is jealousy like a ‘dungeon’?
Have you ever felt jealous?
How does it feel?
Iago’s jealousy of Othello (1.1)
Othello’s feelings of inferiority or seclusion (1.3)
Othello’s love for the ‘pure’ Desdemona (1.3,
Othello’s use of the word “lie” (4.1.35)
Othello seeing things as evidence which fuels
his jealousy (3.3)
Othello’s hatred for the ‘impure’ Desdemona
The turmoil of Othello’s jealous mind (3.3, 4.1)
How Othello justifies his jealousy at the end
Othello’s fatal flaw or Hamartia
Is vital to tragedy
While Hamlet’s indecision can be frustrating or
Macbeth’s over-ambition can make him unsympathetic
Jealousy is understandable because it is something
which we all suffer from
Can be attributed to his great love for Desdemona
And is made stronger by Othello’s outsider status
Is seized upon by a master of manipulation in Iago
And leads to Othello destroying the innocent
Desdemona, his only chance of contentment