Desdemona

1.3.208-218

My noble father,—– my aristocratic father

I do perceive here a divided duty:—– I know we have different sights

To you I am bound for life and education;—– I’ll always be thankful for the life you gave me

My life and education both do learn me—– My life and education have been good due to you

How to respect you; you are the lord of duty;—- You are the one I obey

I am hitherto your daughter: but here’s my husband,—–I am your daughter, but he is my husband now

And so much duty as my mother show’d—- I will do as mother did

To you, preferring you before her father,—– She liked you more than her own father

So much I challenge that I may profess—-So I have to say

Due to the Moor my lord.—- I am staying with my husband

 

In this part of Othello the character of Desdemona is talking to her father trying to get his blessing. She just eloped to marry a man named Othello and her father is very upset. In trying to reason with him she says “How to respect you; you are the lord of duty”(Line 212). She is basically telling him that she always had obeyed him and she appreciates everything he has done for her however she is married to Othello now and that isn’t going to change. The rhetorical stance Desdemona takes is persuading her father that he had done a good job raising her. She wants him to know she loves him and she thinks he has been a great father. Once she says this, she then goes into talking about how she isn’t going to leave her husband, hoping her previous loving statements persuade him.

 

Desdemona

4.2.175-186

O good Iago,—- Help me Iago

What shall I do to win my lord again?—- How can I get Othello back

Good friend, go to him; for, by this light of heaven,—– Please talk to him for me

I know not how I lost him. Here I kneel:—– I don’t know what I did wrong

If e’er my will did trespass ‘gainst his love,—– If I ever did something wrong that hurt him

Either in discourse of thought or actual deed,—- Either in his mind or unintentionally

Or that mine eyes, mine ears, or any sense,—– Or if I did anything else

Delighted them in any other form;—- Was making someone else happy

Or that I do not yet, and ever did.—– I won’t do it again nor did I in the first place

And ever will–though he do shake me off—– And even though he is done with me

To beggarly divorcement–love him dearly,—— And wants a divorce, I truly love him

Comfort forswear me!—– Please help me

 

Othello is about two people that fall in love and the controversy that comes with their situation. Othello’s friend Iago speaks to Othello’s wife, Desdemona, during this specific scene. Desdemona is asking Iago what she had done wrong to make Othello so upset with her. She says “If e’er my will did trespass ‘gainst his love, Either in discourse of thought or actual deed” (Lines 179-180). At this point she is telling Iago if she ever did anything wrong or something to hurt Othello it was unintentional and she really does love him. The rhetorical stance in this is Desdemona pouring her heart out to Iago to try and get some sort of explanation as to why Othello is so upset with her. She interests the audience with her confusion and passion for Othello.

CC BY-SA 4.0 Othello: Close Reading by idodson is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 4.0 International License.

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