The definition of a tragedy is a narrative poem or tale which describes the downfall of a great man. Both Othello and Oedipus Rex fall under this category of literature, even though they were written by two different authors and in two completely different time periods. These two works share many comparisons to each other, while having a fair amount of differences as well.
Othello and Oedipus Rex both featured main characters with prominent power. Othello was a greatly respected general with an impeccable service record within the Venetian Army, while Oedipus was the newly appointed king of Thebes. Each of these characters were well respected and honored members of their community. Both Oedipus and Othello had to overcome obstacles to gain their respected positions. Othello was a black member of society in a time when the caucasian race was viewed as superior to other races. While he was respected as a general, he was still looked down upon as a human being. An example of this would be the opposition of Desdemona’s father, Brabanzio, in the marriage between Othello and Desdemona. Oedipus had his own conflict to gain his power. He had to solve the riddle of the great Sphinx, and in doing so, he freed the city of Thebes from the wrath of the Sphinx and was made king.
To fulfill the definition of a tragedy, the main character has to lead to his or her own downfall. This happens in both Oedipus Rex and Othello, each having trouble uncovering the truth. In Othello, he was tricked by Iago’s mastermind plan to destroy Othello. Othello, having trouble seeing the real truth, was deceived into believing that his wife was having an affair with his lieutenant, Cassio. Othello murdered Desdemona and after learning Iago’s scheme, took his own life, thus leading to his own downfall. Oedipus had past actions come back to haunt him leading to his downfall, in contrast to Othello’s recent actions leading to his dem