Passage 1

Othello

5.2.397-406

Soft you; a word or two before you go. 1

I have done the state some service, and they know’t. 2

No more of that. I pray you, in your letters, 3

When you shall these unlucky deeds relate, 4

Speak of me as I am; nothing extenuate, 5

Nor set down aught in malice: then must you speak 6

Of one that loved not wisely but too well; 7

Of one not easily jealous, but being wrought 8

Perplex’d in the extreme. 9

 

Paraphrase

Let me tell you a few things before you all have to leave. 1

I have provided a lot for this state and they are aware. 2

That has ended, I am wishing the best for you, 3

It is unfortunate that this had to happen to all of us. 4

You should speak of me as I truly am, don’t speak too highly of me, 5

At the same time, do not slander my name. You need to speak of me as, 6

Someone who showed too much compassion, but was not aware of untruth 7

Someone who was not jealous, but easily tricked 8

Deceived to the highest degree 9

 

This passage takes place quickly after Othello had strangled Desdemona because he had believed that she cheated on him with Cassio. Soon after Desdemona dies, Othello learns that he was lied to by Iago and is deeply sorry. Othello then delivers the speech after he learns that Iago had led him on to believe that Desdemona was unfaithful. After delivering this speech Othello then kills himself and lies next to Desdemona. This speech Othello gives is him trying to reconcile his actions because he was tricked by Iago. He talks about how he never used to behave himself like this around anyone, especially Desdemona, until Iago had led him to believe that she was unfaithful. The people around him understand he was regretful and not a deviant when Cassio says “he had no weapon; for he was great of heart” (5.2.422). This is significant because if Othello had used a weapon to kill Desdemona it would have symbolized an act of aggression transpiring from no other source rather than his own fault.

 

Passage 2

 

Iago

3.3.368-378

I will in Cassio’s lodging lose this napkin, 1

And let him find it. Trifles light as air 2

Are to the jealous confirmations strong 3

As proofs of holy writ: this may do something. 4

The Moor already changes with my poison: 5

Dangerous conceits are, in their natures, poisons. 6

Which at the first are scarce found to distaste, 7

But with a little act upon the blood. 8

Burn like the mines of Sulphur. I did say so: 9

Look, where he comes! 10

 

Paraphrase

I will leave this handkerchief in Cassio’s house, 1

He will discover the handkerchief and admire it. 2

Jealousy is a strong emotion 3

This is seen everywhere, this may help my cause 4

Othello is already believing my lies. 5

Tremendous lies are a natural way to bring harm. 6

At first hearing, a lie can be brushed aside/ignored. 7

But when someone begins to question whether it may be true, 8

It can create the utmost of problems, if I do say so myself 9

Oh look, Cassio is coming 10

 

This passage takes place when Iago had already been telling Othello that Cassio may have feelings for Desdemona and that he should watch for him. At this point in the play, Cassio is still Othello’s lieutenant, and still does not believe that Desdemona would cheat on him. Othello tells Iago to “give [him] occular proof, that [his] love a whore” (3.3.420-421). Iago needed to have some form of proof so that Othello would truly believe him and he just so happened to run across Desdemona’s handkerchief when she dropped it off the balcony before his encounter with Othello. This proved as the perfect opportunity to frame Cassio for sleeping with Desdemona. Iago had sinister plans to bring harm in anyway possible so that he may attain the spot of Othello’s Lieutenant.

CC BY-SA 4.0 Othello YV 1(Paraphrase/Analysis) by Treyvon is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 4.0 International License.

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