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