• Quote: (Othello,iiii, ii,155-157) “Why should he call her whore? Who keeps her company/ What place? What time? What form? What likelihood?/ The Moor’s abused by some most villainous knave.” Emilia states Othello could never find another woman who better than Desdemona to married. Desdemona is an outspoken woman. She is always faithful to her husband. She is willing to die for Othello. Emilia’s final speech illustrates her beliefs between men and women’ relationships, that women shouldn’t allow anyone to treat themselves poorly simply because they are women. Emilia points out men and women are basically equal and both genders have its own desires, needs and want. Shakespeare is trying to tell, Desdemona and Emilia are both outspoken, but Emilia represents a progressive woman. She has a strong sense of what to do or not to do when she has been treated unfairly. But in contrast, Desdemona represents a typical gentlewoman’s characteristics back in the 1600s. Appearance vs reality takes a huge theme in this play that Emilia seems like a normal woman that willing to do anything to obey her husband. She gave Desdemona’s handkerchief to Iago without knowing that is going to harm her sweet lady.  The dramatic irony is that the most jealous is expressed over the plays that didn’t actually happen: Iago’s jealous about Emilia, Othello’s jealous about Desdemona and Bianca is jealous about Cassio. In the play, it shows love in Shakespeare’s time was like a war.

 

  • Quote: (Othello, iii, iii,527-530) (Othello) “Damn her, lewd minx! O, damn her!/ Come, go with me apart; I will withdraw,/ To furnish me with some swift means of death/ For the fair devil. Now art thou my lieutenant.” Shakespeare plays on the word “Withdraw” in Othello’s lines at the end of act 3 scene 3 after Iago has persuaded him that Desdemona had cheated with Cassio, his former lieutenant. The word “withdraw’ could mean taken away Desdemona’s position as being a general’s wife, since he is no longer believe in her words and actions which she has promised in act 2, scene 1, lines 206-208, that their relationships would be better over time, or it could mean Othello is turning to the hidden part of him, his anger and the devil keeps telling him secretly to take revenge. Referring back to act 1, scene 3, line 316, “My life upon her faith!” Othello now, in essence, has changed.The moment he realized Desdemona’s not loyal, “his life” is figuratively ended, not only his calm and love but also his commitments for his loved wife. Jealousy is growing inside of him. The xenophobic references are also significant in the text because “the fair devil” which looks innocent and never betray her Lord would do the same thing as she had deceived her father. Othello’s mind goes back to the moment Brabantio said “…, and may thee” in act 1, Another word was used interestedly, “swift means of death” could mean thinking of some ways to kill Desdemona, but Othello is so deep in love with her. The one he loves, the one he hates, and the one he can’t live without, in the end, they’re all the same lady. He thinks of asking Iago to kill Cassio but not Desdemona. Othello might want his wife to be dead, and stop dreaming of any chances that he would give her. Lastly, “Now art thou my lieutenant” could point to Othello completely believes Iago’s words, that he gives Iago the power. Pointing to his heart, which is feeling empty and not going to consider anything Desdemona asks for.

CC BY-SA 4.0 “Othello”Close Reading Analysis Paragraphs by San is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 4.0 International License.

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