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Activity Overview


Othello is full of important literary elements for students to explore. One of these elements is the tragic hero, a protagonist who seems to be ill-fated, and destined for doom. In this play, Othello is the tragic hero who leads himself and many others to their deaths.

The Greek philosopher, Aristotle, was the articulated the specific attributes or principles of a tragic hero. For the storyboard above, students can use a template to storyboard the qualities that make Othello, a tragic hero. The finished product outlines each of Aristotle's principles with a detailed explanation of the specific attributes.


Othello - Tragic Hero

ATTRIBUTEDESCRIPTIONExample from Othello
HamartiaHero's Flaw that Causes Downfall Othello’s jealousy becomes his downfall when he listens to Iago. He "lov'd not wisely but too well".
HubrisExcessive Pride Othello's hubris allows Iago to manipulate him. Through the seed of suspicion, Iago can convince Othello, without any proof, that Desdemona is cheating on him.
PeripeteiaReversal of Fortune Othello kills Desdemona after he believes that Cassio has slept with her.
AnagnorisisMoment of Critical Discovery Emilia exposes Iago’s plan.
NemesisFate that Cannot be Avoided Desdemona has been smothered, Othello kills himself from grief. Iago is sent away to be tortured.
CatharsisAudience's Feeling of Pity or Fear After the Hero's Fall The audience is left remorseful for the couple who was thwarted by jealousy and revenge.
Lesson Plan Reference

Grade Level 9-12

Difficulty Level 3 (Developing to Mastery)

Type of Assignment Individual or Partner

Type of Activity: Tragic Hero

Common Core Standards
  • [ELA-Literacy/RL/11-12/2] Determine two or more themes or central ideas of a text and analyze their development over the course of the text, including how they interact and build on one another to produce a complex account; provide an objective summary of the text
  • [ELA-Literacy/RL/11-12/3] Analyze the impact of the author’s choices regarding how to develop and relate elements of a story or drama (e.g., where a story is set, how the action is ordered, how the characters are introduced and developed)
  • [ELA-Literacy/RL/11-12/5] Analyze how an author’s choices concerning how to structure specific parts of a text (e.g., the choice of where to begin or end a story, the choice to provide a comedic or tragic resolution) contribute to its overall structure and meaning as well as its aesthetic impact


Template and Class Instructions

(These instructions are completely customizable. After clicking "Use This Assignment With My Students", update the instructions on the Edit Tab of the assignment.)



Student Instructions

Create a storyboard that shows how Othello can be considered a tragic hero.


  1. Identify events of the play or characteristics of Othello that fit into Aristotelian attributes of a tragic hero.
  2. Illustrate examples for Hamartia, Hubris, Peripeteia, Anagnorisis, Nemesis, and Catharsis.
  3. Write a short description below each cell that specifically relates Othello as a tragic hero.
  4. Save and submit the assignment.



Rubric

(You can also create your own on Quick Rubric.)

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