These are my clore reading from Shakespeare, Othello:

 

“ If she be black, and thereto have a wit, / She’ll find a white that shall her blackness fit”, (Act II. i. 146-147).

Analysis: Iago arguing with Desdemona about how Iago thinks of women, he thinks they’re all the same and vicious. The word “wit” could have two meanings, and can be used in different ways. When used as a noun, “wit” means having knowledge. In old english it can be used to describe as white. Also, the word “white” when used as a noun it can mean a person from a European decent. The word “white” and “blackness” can also be used as symbols, of purity, and sin or evil. Also, the word “blackness” can be another word for “black”. The word “black” can be used with two meanings, when used as an noun it can mean the color black. When used as in an adjective it can be referring to deeply stained with dirt and something not pretty. When using “black” and “ wit” it makes sense because he is saying a women can be ugly but smart, and using “white” and “blackness” makes sense because it is used to say even though a  women can be ugly she will be smart enough to find a pure man that will fit her evilness. The words “wit” and “white” make sense together because they both mean purity. The words “black” and “blackness” make sense together because they both mean evil. Iago saying this, is ironic because he talks bad about women being wicked, but he himself is wicked and evil as well and is the one causing all the trouble in the play. This defines the theme of appearance versus reality.

 

“Lay thy finger thus, and let thy soul be instructed” (Act II. i. 235) 
Analysis: Iago talking to Roderigo, and informing about the latest news he has encountered about Cassio and Desdemona. Using the Marxist Lens, the person with power and control is Iago because he demands Rodrigo to stop talking and listens to him. The word “soul” when used for religion could mean the spiritual part of someone. In culture, the word “soul” is mostly used for something someone feels and their personality. The word “soul” could also refer to someone who is considered liked or to have pity for. The word “instructed” could also have two meanings, it could mean when you command someone to do something or when you teach someone something. When using the line “let thy soul be instructed” makes sense because he is letting Roderigo know that he is going to educate his ignorant self by someone who knows what there talking about. This is ironic because Roderigo thinks he is getting advice by someone who is his friend, but is actually someone who is giving him the wrong information for his own sake. This defines the theme of appearance versus reality.

 

“If that the earth could teem with woman’s tears, / Each drop she falls would prove a crocodile” (Act IV. i. 261-262)

The word “teem” when used as verb, it can mean be full of or swarming with. Also, this word has a second meaning as a verb as well, that means pour down or  fall heavily. The word “teem” also sounds like the word “steam”. The word “steam” means water that is converted into vapor, or into mist going into the air.  Using the “If that the earth could teem with woman’s tears” makes sense because they could be referring to women’s tears coming out of the earth, into the air. Also, using the other meaning of the word “teem” the phrase could be referring to women’s tears falling from the sky like rain. When the word “teem” is used to mean “steam”, then it refers to women emanating tears of guilt. The word “crocodile” is referring to the animal found in saltwaters, but it is not talking about the animal in general but of their tears.  For years people have been using the phrase “tears of crocodile” to describe someone who isn’t sincere. This phrase come from crocodiles crying while killing and eating their preys. It makes sense using both phrases together “If that the earth could teem with woman’s tears, / Each drop she falls would prove a crocodile” because it could be referring to all women in earth shedd fakes tears to seem innocent. This defines the theme for appearance versus reality. This phrase is also significant back to Act II Scene iii, to when Cassio cries after losing his position as lieutenant, to him it was like losing his reputation. This is ironic because Othello says Desdemona’s tears are fake tears, but in reality they are are real, her emotions that she is feeling are real. Desdemona being a woman is crying real tear and Cassio’s as well, he is shedding real tears because he has lost his reputation, Desdemona and Cassio though being different genders still can shed real tears and fake tears.

 

“My mother had a maid call’d Barbara; / She was in love, and he she loved proved mad / And did forsake her.” (Act IV. iii. 28-30)

Desdemona talks about her mother that had a maid named Barbara, who loved a man that left her, and forsake her. This quote can also be referred to Othello, and could be talking about him as well. The name “Barbara” sounds like Barbary and the word “Barbary” can be referring to many things. One of the things it can be referring to is “Barbary Coast”, the Barbary Coast are the regions and cities in North Africa. Also, it can be referring to “Barbary horse”, it can be another reason why it could be referring to Othello, Othello is from Africa and Iago compares him to a Barbary horse. In Act I. scene i., Iago, calls Othello a Barbary horse when he and Roderigo tell Brabantio the bad news about his daughter. A “Barbary horse”, can be found in Africa, Barbary horses have great stamina and hardiness, but have a big temperament. The name “Barbara” also sounds like the word “barbarian”, can mean to as someone who is uncivilized. All throughout the play Othello has portrayed as not being civilized and more like a barbarian. Barbara, to who Desdemona is talking about, is a maid that used to serve her mom and Othello who is also a servant both due because of love. It makes making a reference of Barbara, the maid to Desdemona’s mother, and her sad story because it can also refer to Othello and his tragedy of death. This is ironic because Desdemona is talking about a woman who died because she loved her husband, in Desdemona’s case she will also died because she loved her husband she stayed beside him no matter his flaws. This also defines the theme of xenophobia.

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CC BY-SA 4.0 Shakespeare Close Reading by Valeria is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 4.0 International License.

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