First Passage Paraphrase:

 

Desdemona:

 

Father,

I feel very divided by this decision,

To be with you forever in education and in life;

Both those help me grow thanks to you,

But I do not know how to be loyal to you

I am your daughter, but now I have my husband too;

And I’ve seen mother always be loyal to you,

Always choosing you even over her own father,

So I must choose him to,

And give him respect and love.

 

First Close Reading Analysis:

When desdemona gives this short monologue, she is speaking to brabantio, with the duke and Iago listening as well. Brabantio had asked her who she obeyed:her father or her husband. In reply, she answered with the monologue which I paraphrased above. Before her response, Brabantio says, “Do you perceive in all this noble company, where most you owe obedience?” (1.3 208-218). He is asking her to admit who she most obeys between the two most important men in her life. The men surrounding her simply want to know who she says she obeys and respects more. There are a couple of metaphors that Shakespeare put into this paragraph spoken by Desdemona. For example, she says, “you are the lord of duty,”. That is a direct example of a metaphor.

 

Second Passage Paraphrase:

 

Desdemona:

 

My mother had a maid called Barbary,

Who was very in love with a mad man,

Who left her in heartbreak.

She sang a song that reminded her of her loss,

She passed away singing the song,

I cannot forget that song,

And all I want to do is to sing that song now.

 

Second Close Reading Analysis:

During this scene, Othello leaves and tells Desdemona to go to bed. Emilia comes in with sheets for her bed, but Desdemona tells her that Othello does not want the two of them to be together. Emilia is upset by what he said, but Desdemona says she loves him so much that it’s worth it being with him, even when she does not always agree with him or when he is not being logical. Desdemona then goes on to recall the song her mother’s maid used to sing about her lover who left her, and she has the sudden urge to sing it too. Desdemona says, “I have much to do, But to go hang my head all at one side, And sing it like poor Barbary,”. (4.3 27-35) She is saying that she longs to sing the song, just like Barbary did. In this passage, there are also many forms of metaphors and literary devices. For example, there is a double entendre in the lines. When she says “willow”, it also means grief felt by an unrequited lover. There are many examples of this in Shakespeare’s writing.

CC BY-SA 4.0 Othello Close Read by elliemc is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 4.0 International License.

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