This represents my best writing on Shakespeare’s difficult language.

Quote:  “Haply, for I am black…/ She’s gone. I am abused, and my relief/ Must be to loathe her. O curse of marriage” (Act 3, Scene iii Lines 297-298) relates to (Act 1, Scene 1: 173-187)

Analysis: This quote is right after Iago tells Othello to observe his wife carefully as if she may be cheating on him causing Othello’s mind to believe she is. The phrase “She’s gone. I am abused” shows how Iago caused Othello to assume that his wife Desdemona has gave up and cheated on him. Othello believes what Iago is saying to be true because of his insecurity about himself being black, old, and an outsider in Venice leading him to feel that he has no choice but to hate her. Therefore the phrase “She’s gone. I am abused” shows how Iago warned Othello about Desdemona cheating on him which made it hard for him to forget about forcing him to go crazy trying to figure out the actual truth. The irony in the word “relief” is that Othello isn’t actually relieved from this because of him still not for sure that she is cheating. The word “relief” can also refer to pain as if she is actually cheating on him. The so-called truth from Iago  will cause the pain and anger inside him to violently come out. The phrase “curse of marriage” can refer to the different marriages in the story. One being Emilia and Iago where their love equals lust relates to a curse because of their passion being uncontrollable. But then there’s Othello and Desdemona who’s fighting for two different reasons. Mainly being Desdemona for Cassio’s position and Othello for Desdemona’s love/honesty. Therefore the “curse of marriage” in Othello’s eyes is that being married is full of pain and lies that will bring out the evil side of people. This quote relates back to Brabantio and how his daughter Desdemona has left his side and got married to Othello hurting her father who has trusted and cared for her. 


Quote: “Though I am bound to every act of duty,/ I am not bound to that all slaves are free to.” (Act 3, Scene iii Lines 153-154)

Analysis: The word “bound” can refer to many meanings in different ways. Such as enfettered meaning to restrain (someone) with shackles binding their arms together until freed. It can also refer to marriage and how you must be bound to your wife/husband being one not separate. The phrase “act of duty” can also have different meaning based on the situation. Meaning as a solider your “act of duty” is to go to war and fight as a true servant. This refers to Cassio being bounded to Othello and his job is to obey what he commands him to pursue. But the “act of duty” in marriage is to honor your husband/wife having no secrets and being honest to each other. That could refer to Othello and Desdemona’s marriage where Othello who is assuming that Desdemona is cheating having secrets between her and Cassio. But Othello is not trusting and asking Desdemona himself about what he’s hearing instead he listens to Iago. This quote is about Iago’s situation being Othello “honest” servant and how he says to him “I am bound to every act of duty” meaning he will do whatever Othello commands him to do because his life of personal vendettas is connected to him. The phrase “slaves are free to” which can refer to how even though someone is under the control of someone else physically they still have their own thoughts mentally.


Quote: “Can he be angry? I have seen the cannon,/ When it hath blown his ranks into the air/ And, like the devil, from his very arm/ Puff’d his own brother” (Act 3, Scene 4: 144-147)

Analysis: The word “ranks” means to give a position in the hierarchy of the armed forces. As a verb meaning to give (someone or something) a rank or place within a grading system. This word can refer to the position as lieutenant, that Cassio was given by Othello. His position was taken away and given to Iago because of the lies he told Othello about Cassio being dishonest, and betraying. In an adjective term “ranks” can mean having a strong, unpleasant smell or very bad. This word was used referring to how shocking and disgusting Desdemona is in Othello’s eyes for cheating on him with Cassio. It also refers to his thoughts of her and Cassio being nasty having sex in bed. The phrase “Like the devil, from his very arm/ Puff’d his own brother” can refer to Cain and Abel in the bible where Cain murdered his own brother because of jealousy. This relates back to Othello and Cassio and how at one point they were on good terms until the lies Othello heard, leading him to order the death of Cassio because of jealousy. Shakespeare used the word “Puff’d” to show how easy and quick it’ll be to take him out because of the anger and hate building inside him.



CC BY-SA 4.0 Best Analysis of Shakespeare by Gary is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 4.0 International License.


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