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The Greek philosopher Aristotle set forth the guidelines for a tragedy in his work Poetics According to Aristotle the tragic character in a tragedy is a person not all good or bad who begins in a rank of high degree and importance and then experiences a downfall due to a tragic flaw In the end of most tragedies the character comes to a realization of his flaw after enduring a great deal of suffering William Shakespeare an English playwright of the 17th century composed many tragedies including King Lear and Othello which exemplified the characteristics of a tragic hero outlined by Aristotle The main characters in King Lear and Othello share many of the traits essential to tragic characters yet they differ in their specific actions taken At the start of the two plays both King Lear and Othello are presented as men of a high rank and importance Othello is presented as a courageous military war hero with the noble rank of a general In Act 1 Othello boasts I fetch my life and being From men of royal siege and my demerits May speak unbonneted to as proud a fortune As this that I have reached Shakespeare Othello Iii24-27 These lines indicate that Othellos courageous military acts give him a social status comparable to royalty It is evidenced that others view Othello as a man of high esteem when a senator remarks in reference to Othello Here comes Brabantio and the valiant Moor Othello Iiii55 King Lear appears to be a man of wealth power peace and well being in the beginning of the play Being a king he has even more wealth and power than Othello he controls the kingdom of England and possesses the absolute power common of monarchs during the time of the play His entrance into the play is accompanied by the sounding of trumpets signifying his importance Furthermore the language spoken by Lear and his
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