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Bradley, A. C. Shakespearean Tragedy: Lectures on Hamlet, Othello, King Lear, Macbeth.
2nd ed. London: Macmillan, 1905.

seem the right view; for it is the case that Othello resembles King Lear in having a hero more acted upon than acting, or rather a hero driven to act by being acted upon. But then, if Iago is taken as the leading figure, the usual mode of construction is plainly abandoned, for there will nowhere be a crisis followed by a descending movement. Iago's cause advances, at first slowly and quietly, then rapidly, but it does nothing but advance until the catastrophe swallows his dupe and him together. And this way of regarding the action does positive violence, I think, to our natural impressions of the earlier part of the play.

     I think, therefore, that the usual scheme is so far followed that the drama represents first the rise of the hero, and then his fall. But, however this question may be decided, one striking peculiarity remains, and is the cause of the unique effect of Othello. In the first half of the play the main conflict is merely incubating; then it bursts into life, and goes storming, without intermission or change of direction, to its close. Now, in this peculiarity Othello is quite unlike the other tragedies; and in the consequent effect, which is that the second half of the drama is immeasurably more exciting than the first, it is approached only by Antony and Cleopatra. I shall therefore reserve it for separate consideration, though in proceeding to speak further of Shakespeare's treatment of the tragic conflict I shall have to mention some devices which are used in Othello as well as in the other tragedies.


     Shakespeare's general plan, we have seen, is to show one set of forces advancing, in secret or open opposition to the other, to some decisive success, and then driven downward to defeat by the reaction it provokes. And the advantages of this plan, as seen in such a typical instance as Julius

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