1. Desdemona 1.3.208-218

Dad,

I am divided on my duty to you and the man I love

You gave birth to me and educated me.

I learned how to respect you as you are my father.

I am your daughter, but he is my husband

And I owe him the same duty that my mom showed you

when she abandoned her father for you.

Because of this, I have to do the same,

And I profess my love for the Moor.

We walk in on this quote in act one when Desdemona’s father asks her to come before the council to discuss her relationship with Othello. She addresses the fact that her father is visibly upset with the fact that she ran off with her lover. She says how much she loves both of the men in her life, but she ultimately chooses to be with Othello. She tells her father, “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”(1.3.213-216). Desdemona doesn’t use very much symbolisms or many metaphors, but she does paint an incredible picture for her father by relating her situation to his life, and how he would have felt if his wife would not have gone with him because of her father. Her use of logos in her argument really cements it with her audience.

         2. Othello 2.1.199-209

It amazes me as happy as much as I am happy to be with you

To see you standing here before me.

If every storm was as calm as I feel now,

I want the wind to blow on me till I die

And make the ocean go as high as Mt. Olympus

Then crash back down again.

I would happy to die now, because I’m afraid that

I will never be as happy as I am now again,

Because my soul will never be as content as it is now

That no other comfort will come to me as fate sees it.

This statement by Othello comes at an interesting time during the play. This is where Othello is most in love with Desdemona, and he makes it perfectly clear in his monologue that he feels that way. What makes it interesting is that prior to this scene, we hear Iago make plans to basically undue Othello’s whole life. It makes it interesting to watch because this is the first instance where we know something that the characters on stage do not. When Othello says, “If after every tempest come such calms, may the winds blow till they have waken’d death!” (2.1.201-202), he is using a metaphor and a little bit of irony. He is comparing his love to something bad, but then saying that he wants as much of the bad thing that he can get until he dies.

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

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