Katharsis and the Deuteragonist

While I want to explore and delve deeper and deeper into Freud (dreams + play), I am constrained by what I can achieve in one year, with both an exegesis and a creative component (in my case, this will be a design document).

My main thrust is Katharsis (or Catharsis)-  this continues from my discussion of Othello/Iago.  If Othello is the Tragic Hero, and Iago the protagonist, it then follows that Iago must also “be audience,” to Othello’s tragedy, which obliges him to experience fhte same Katharis that the audience would.

This also prompts another thought: does the Player-Character (PC) always have to be the Hero or Title Character?

Postmodern narratives delight in the idea of exploring a familiar narrative from an unfamiliar perspective (no new stories, only new ways of telling them).  Othello could have been both the Tragic Hero and the protagonist, but it is more dramatically effective and interesting to feature Iago as the Protagonist.

When I mentioned this to a friend of mine doing his Honours in Theatre studies, he argued that Iago is the Antagonist, but I rebutted by saying that he must be the Protagonist, due to having the most active role, Othello getting in the way of his plans, and also being the character most featured in the role.

But, if Iago is neither the Protagonist (he is not the Hero) nor the Antagonist (he is not just trying to put blocks in Othello’s way, as he is trying to ruin Cassio more than Othello), then he must be in the support role: the Deuteragonist.  My friend mentioned how it is often the Deuteragonist that has the direct dialogue with the audience, by way of asides and soliloquies, and shares the same position as the audience in regards to Dramatic Irony.  The fits Iago’s role perfectly.

So why is the Player Character necessarily the Hero, Tragic or otherwise?

I have some theories “Why,” which refer to Joseph Campbell and Freud, but this is both too big for me to tackle this year, and also not as illustratable as I’d like, which prohibits me from producing an effective creative component to my Thesis.  So, instead, I want to turn this on its head and discuss the possiblity of having the PC as the Deuteragonist, and ask, “Why not?

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