The Tragedy Of Othello And King Lear

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The renaissance or golden age is the time during the reign of Queen Elizabeth. Queen Elizabeth’s reign lasted from 1558 to 1633, where Queen Elizabeth occupied the throne after her sister, Mary, who was her half-sister died (John S. Morrill Stephen J. Greenblatt, 2019). Queen Elizabeth died in 1603, which also ended the 16th century English literature. (Robert Huntington Fletcher, 2007). In the reign of Queen Elizabeth, it was seen that the level of prosperity and life of Britain at that time increased both in terms of political, social, cultural, and literary works at the time (Edward Albert, 1979). In the political aspect of the queen Elizabeth succeeded in making peace with Scotland and expanding the network of empire, in terms of social because of the peace, many great explorers who came to bring valuable materials to prosper people’s lives, in terms of culture during the reign of Queen Elizabeth, having belief or religion is not a criminal act so that people are free to follow the religion they want (Edward Albert, 1979). According to Robert Huntington Fletcher’s book, 2007, many writers with their great literary works that appeared during the reign of Queen Elizabeth. In the book A history of English literature by Fletcher also explains Prose, poetry and drama are literary works that emerged during the reign of Queen Elizabeth with the genre of romance, however, there are also a few literary works that are tragedy, comedy, and history. Some characteristics of literature in Elizabeth’s time according to (Robert Huntington Fletcher, 2007) namely the period of Queen Elizabeth’s reign the writers have a high creative power that can be seen from the many literary works that appeared at that time. Besides, the genre of literary works during the reign of Queen Elizabeth mostly in Romance Genre, however, a few are also literary works that are dramatic tragedy, comedy, or history (Robert Huntington Fletcher, 2007). Literary works during Queen Elizabeth’s reign are also still influenced by Italian literature (Robert Huntington Fletcher, 2007). One of the most prominent literary writers during the reign of Queen Elizabeth was William Shakespeare with his most famous works namely King Lear, Romeo and Juliet, Othello and Macbeth (Edward Albert, 1979). Although many literary writers existed during the reign of Queen Elizabeth, William Shakespeare is a writer who is more famous both from his background, his great works, and how his literary works were influenced during the reign of Queen Elizabeth.

William Shakespeare was a famous poet and also a drama scriptwriter during the reign of Queen Elizabeth. Based on Edward Albert’s book, 1979, it was possible that William Shakespeare was born on April 23 which coincided with the day of St. George, which saw from the records of the parish church in Stratford-on-Avon on April 26, 1564. William Shakespeare’s death also happened to be his date of birth but in 1616. William Shakespeare’s father named John Shakespeare, he was a fairly well-known businessman in his city, where he had followed work as a butcher, glove craftsmen, even farmers (Edward Albert, 1979). According to Edward Albert, 1979 said that William Shakespeare had attended grammar at Stratford and had studied Latin and Greek. This was also confirmed by Ben Jonson, a highly competent scholar (Edward Albert, 1979). However, at once William Shakespeare’s father’s business experienced a bad thing, namely bankruptcy caused by illegal smuggling of material by his father (Edward Albert, 1896). Edward Albert, 1979 explained that William Shakespeare married at the age of 18 years with a woman who was 8 years older than William Shakespeare named Anne Hatthwey of Stratford. William Shakespeare is known to marry at a very young age of 18 years can be seen from the inscriptions on the monuments (Edward Albert, 1979). From the marriage of William Shakespeare to Anne, they were blessed with 3 children, one of whom was named Hamnet who died at the age of 11 years (Harry Blamires, 1984). In 1584 Shakespeare left his hometown for unknown reasons (Edward Albert, 1979). However, after William Shakespeare’s death, many speculations argue that William Shakespeare disappeared because he wanted to avoid the consequences of hunting in the plantation of Sir Thomas Lucy (Edward Albert, 1979). Around 1592, William Shakespeare reappeared, where he had become a rising actor (Edward Albert, 1979). Edward Albert, 1979 explained that during the years William Shakespeare disappeared he roamed throughout the country and did various menial jobs and even became a horse keeper. It is also estimated that there was another speculation that said that William Shakespeare might have spent a lot of time in the Low Countries serving the Earl of Leicester troops until finally coming to London as a rising actor (Edward Albert, 1979). Harry Blamires in his book A Short History of English Literature in 1984 said, William Shakespeare in 1599 joined the theater company and was known as Lord Chamberlain’s Men, where William Shakespeare and his fellow actors made the Globe theater an extraordinary theater in at that time and in 1603they continued to dominate theater life (Harry Blamires, 1984). During those years the name of Actor Lord Chamberlain always appeared on the company payroll so that it could be concluded that William Shakespeare’s life was so prosperous that he could buy property like the house, New Place, which he bought in 1597 (Edward Albert, 1979). According to Edward Albert, 1979, in 1608 the theater had been taken over by The King’s Men, Blackfriars, but unfortunately, William Shakespeare retired and went back to Stratford in 1611. William Shakespeare spent the rest of his time in New Place, the house he bought around 1597, where William Shakespeare is thought to have written his last drama there (Edward Albert, 1979). A will made by William Shakespeare was executed quickly on March 25, 1616, and a month later William Shakespeare died to coincide with his birthday, April 23, 1616 (Edward Albert, 1979). William Shakespeare’s life journey is not too concrete, this is due to the lack of evidence to show what William Shakespeare has done during his life (Edward Albert, 1979). However, William Shakespeare created many literary works such as Romeo and Juliet, King Lear, Othello and the Macbeth Tragedy which were William Shakespeare’s famous works during the reign of Queen Elizabeth until now.

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William Shakespeare is a literary greatest writer who is not only known as a poet but also a very famous tragedy playwright as in his works namely Othello and Macbeth and also King Lear (Swesana Mardia Lubis, 2004). William Shakespeare’s ability to create works with beautiful and heartfelt words makes his work very popular. William Shakespeare also will not hesitate to get the cast in his story killed very pathetically, this is what characterizes William Shakespeare (Swesana Mardia Lubis, 2004). Around 1613 or 1590 William Shakespeare had written about 34 plays, but none of his works were published at that time (Swesana Mardia Lubis, 2004). After William Shakespeare died, around 1623 William Shakespeare’s works were first published in the form of First Polio. (Swesana Mardia Lubis, 2004) explained that there were four periods of William Shakespeare in writing all his literary works. First, the experimental period that occurred around 1588-1596 (Swesana Mardia Lubis, 2004). This period begins when William Shakespeare was in London around 1566, where William Shakespeare’s works in this period were Love’s Labor Lost, Two Gentlemen of Verona, Comedy of Errors, Romeo and Juliet, Richard III, and King John (Swesana Mardia Lubis, 2004). Characteristics of William Shakespeare’s works in this period is about young traits such as having high spirits or using excessive language (Swesana Mardia Lubis, 2004). Second, the period of growth that occurred from 1596-1602, where William Shakespeare’s works that appeared in this period were Midsummer Night’s Dream, The Merchant of Venice, Henry IV, The Merry Wives of Windsor, As You Like It, Twelft Night (Swesana Mardia Lubis, 2004). William Shakespeare’s literary works during this period showed the meticulous, artistic skill of William Shakespeare that began to appear (Swesana Mardia Lubis, 2004). During this period, William Shakespeare’s literary works were arranged in a better and more interesting manner which contained deeper knowledge about human nature (Swesana Mardia Lubis, 2004). Third, namely the period of gloom or depression that occurred from 1602-1608 (Swesana Mardia Lubis, 2004). During this period many literary works of William Shakespeare tragedy like Macbeth, Othello, Hamlet, King Lear, or Julius Caesar (Swesana Mardia Lubis, 2004). This period shows the soul maturity and artistic development of William Shakespeare (Swesana Mardia Lubis, 2004). (Swesana Mardia Lubis, 2004) also explained that in his Sonnets literary works the lyrics depict the gloom, gloom and deep disappointment. Finally, the period of calm that occurred from 1608-1613 (Swesana Mardia Lubis, 2004). In this period Shakespeare’s work is more about calm and dreamland and is also the years William Shakespeare ended his productive period were his best work in this period was Winter’s Tale and The Tempest (Swesana Mardia Lubis, 2004). (Swesana Mardia Lubis, 2004) said that the author’s method of making literary works during the Elizabethan period used historical works, fairy tales or legends, or their own stories. This is also done by William Shakespeare were from the materials he processes them so that the results are original creations (Swesana Mardia Lubis, 2004). In terms of the type of drama made by William Shakespeare divided into 3 namely comedy (Midsummer Night’s Dream, The Merchant of Venice, Henry IV, The Merry Wives of Windsor, As You Like It, Twelft Night) which tells about the humorous situation of the characters who ending with happiness, History (Cleopatra, Henry IV, Richard III, Julius Cesar) which tells the history of the characters that can be either comedy or tragedy, and Tragedy (Hamlet, King Lear, Macbeth, Othello) where the four drama tragedy is a drama that is tragedy William Shakespeare’s most famous work (Swesana Mardia Lubis, 2004).

The Tragedy of Othello and the Tragedy of King Lear are two of the 4 best tragedy plays by William Shakespeare (Swesana Mardia Lubis, 2004). The Tragedy Manuscript from Othello is thought to have been composed by William Shakespeare in 1603, which is also the year James I occupied the throne (Joe Dowling, 2003). In his article Joe Dowling, 2003 explains, the Tragedy of Othello tells about the main character, Othello, who was a brave Moorish general who served faithfully the Venitian maritime power. Othello married secretly with a woman Desdemona, the daughter of a Venetian senator because Desdemona’s father did not approve of their marriage because Othello was a black people. Othello proved his loyalty and devotion to Venice through the military power he had so that his position was promoted to be a Moorish. This certainly makes Iago feel annoyed and jealous of Othello because Iago did not get the position he wanted. Thus, Iago devised evil plans to bring down Othello. Cleverly and deceptively Iago made and spread false accusations that were intentionally made to ruin Othello’s family life. Iago spread that Othello’s wife, Desdemona, had an affair with someone else. Othello believed the lie and began to lose faith with his wife, Desdemona and blind jealousy began to envelop his heart. Desdemona certainly explained patiently that he had not committed infidelity from Othello, but Othello had been carried away by increasingly high jealousy after Iago provided false evidence that Desdemona had an affair with him. With jealousy, disappointment, and anger, Othello descended the slope toward her home and Desdemona. Othello killed his wife, Desdemona by strangling his neck while Desdemona fell asleep. After Desdemona’s death, Othello realized that he had made a mistake because the evidence that Desdemona had an affair with him was not true. Because filled with guilt and sadness so profoundly Othello finally killed himself. Iago’s crime was also revealed and he was sentenced to death for the crime that Iago had committed. (Joe Dowling, 2003) explains, in The Tragedy of Othello, this purity of heart is poisoned by evil ambition that causes darkness and slowly destroys it. In addition to the tragedy of Othello, there is also a literary work of the tragedy William Shakespeare, King Lear. In his article Ali Fauzi, 2013 explained, the Tragedy of King Lear tells about the life of Lear, who was the King of Britain. King Lear has 3 daughters namely Goneril who is the wife of The Duke of Albany, Regan who is the wife of The Duke of Cornwall and Cordelia who is the youngest of them. Lear who is the oldest King has decided to step down from his throne and ask his daughters to replace him. King Lear wanted to divide his kingdom into three parts but he did not do it wisely. Instead, King Lear divides it based on the affection his daughters say to him. The oldest siblings, Goneril and Regan, are greedy people, where they say they love their father more than anything, but after that, heartily, they drop him. While Cordelia was silent and did not say anything would make King Lear angry and send Cordelia away from the palace. Then, Parts of the kingdom were given to Goneril and Regan. Shortly after Cordelia, the conflicts got worse as Goneril and Regan began to show their true nature and ban King Lear from the royal throne, Regan who was killed by Goneril who gave him poison, Goneril who finally ended his own life, Edmund killed by Edgar, and the death Cordelia who tried to save her father by sending soldiers to fight her sisters and was followed by the death of King Lear because of his deteriorating condition and old age (Ali Fauzi, 2013). Both the stories from Tragedy from Othello and also King Lear both have a moral message where Othello tragedy which has the value to not quickly deteriorate against information that is not necessarily true. Whereas the King Lear story that has value in loving someone does not have to be expressed in words but through action (Novrika Mualvira Sandry, 2009)

The reign of Queen Elizabeth had several aspects that influenced the development of literary works from William Shakespeare. During the reign of Queen Elizabeth, the development of drama literature was so rapid (Edward Albert, 1979). Edward Albert, 1979 had explain that Dramatic literary works that began in the classical form became Seneca. Between 1550 and 1560 Seneca’s influence was first felt in Latin plays performed at several universities (Edward Albert, 1979). The influence of Seneca itself has characteristics such as excessive portrayal of characters, language that is so rhetorically conveyed, the amount of emotional hyperbole and excessive use of epigrams (Edward Albert, 1979). Seneca’s influence became increasingly popular which succeeded in attracting many writers such as Marlowe, Peele, and Greene to come to university (Edward Albert, 1979). Edward Albert, 1979 also said, William Shakespeare was also affected by this influence which can be seen from his work, Hamlet. However, William Shakespeare’s literary works which show more of the strong Senecan influence on William Shakespeare’s literary works are Macbeth and also Richard III (Edward Albert, 1979). Queen Elizabeth’s reign gave freedom to her people to develop both in terms of trust and intellectual, so, this makes a lot of writers who appear with their great works (Robert Huntington Fletcher, 2007). One of the writers was William Shakespeare himself, whose literary works developed very rapidly. This can be seen from William Shakespeare’s works, which were not only poetry or prose but also had dramas that had different genres. This certainly attracts more attention from the public in the field of literature.

The Elizabethan period was the period in which Britain was in its prime after the death of Queen Elizabeth’s half-sister (Robert Huntington Fletcher, 2007). Before Queen Elizabeth came to the throne people experienced difficult times, However, this soon improved after Queen Elizabeth took the throne. Where at this time political problems with Scotland became peaceful, religious issues became peaceful, and the people freely expressed their aspirations through literary works (Edward Albert, 1979). Writers with high intellectual knowledge also appeared in this period one of them is William Shakespeare (Edward Albert, 1979). William Shakespeare is a well-known figure with tragedies that are very well known until now. William Shakespeare’s works also inspire many other writers and the characters will always be in the history of England.


  1. Fletcher, Robert Huntington. 2007. A History of English Literature.
  2. Morrill, John. Greenblatt, Stephen J. (2019, 13 Sep). Elizabeth I Queem Of England. Access date (2020, 05 Jan). .
  3. Albert, Edward. (1979). History of English Literature.
  4. Blamires, Harry.1984. A_Short History of English Literature.
  5. Lubis, Swesana Mardia. 2004. Shakespeare Dalam Karyanya “Othello”. Access date (2020, 03 Jan).;jsessionid=A6FEB22110D5AAB8AEA3A5B5E5CF7763?sequence=1
  6. Fauzi, Ali. 2013. Didactic Value Found In William Shakespeare’King Lear. Access date (2020, 04 Jan).
  7. Dowling, Joe. 2003. Othello. Access date (2020, 04 Jan).
  8. Sandry, Novrika Mualvira. 2009. Conflict Of Interest In William Shakespeare’s King Lear: A Sociological Approach. Access date (2020. 04 Jan).


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