Posted by Bobby on April 20, 2018
https://www.youthvoices.live/2018/04/20/othello-close-reading-6/

Othello Close Reading

Here you will find two passages from Othello by William Shakespeare and analysis of each paragraph.

 

Desdemona

1.3.208-218

 

My noble father,

I do perceive here a divided duty:                           metaphor

To you I am bound for life and education;        upbringing

My life and education both do learn me

How to respect you; you are the lord of duty;                              one who I owe loyalty and obedience

I am hitherto your daughter: but here’s my husband,

And so much duty as my mother show’d

To you, preferring you before her father,

So much I challenge that I may profess

Due to the Moor my lord.

Analysis: Othello’s marriage is in question to Desdemona. The duke thinks that Othello has bewitched Desdemona. Othello suggests that Desdemona clears this up. Desdemona says the line above, clearing Othello of the charges and emphasizes the love she has for Othello. This paragraph is important because the emphasis of the love Desdemona has for Othello is important later on. When Iago tricks Othello into thinking that she has been unfaithful, Othello ignores times like this and other acts of Desdemona’s love. This sets up the conflict later on in the story and makes the narrative more tragic when Othello accuses Desdemona.

 

Othello

2.1.199-209

It gives me wonder great as my content

To see you here before me. O my soul’s joy!

If after every tempest come such calms,          heavy storm

May the winds blow till they have waken’d death!                         Foreshadowing

And let the labouring bark climb hills of seas

Olympus-high and duck again as low                 From Greek philosophy, where the gods lived

As hell’s from heaven! If it were now to die,

‘Twere now to be most happy; for, I fear,

My soul hath her content so absolute

That not another comfort like to this

Succeeds in unknown fate.

 

Analysis: Othello arrives at Cyprus after the defeat of the Turkish fleet and sees Desdemona. He says the line above after a short greeting from her. Again, a line like this emphasizes the love the two have for each other. This paragraph is very similar to the last one in that they have a very similar purpose. The difference here is that this paragraph shows a more emotional purpose, and sets up later on the hurt Othello will feel after Desdemona’s “betrayal”.