First passage,

Desdemona

1.3.208-218

My noble father,

I do perceive here a divided duty:

To you I am bound for life and education;

My life and education both do learn me

How to respect you; you are the lord of duty;

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.

This passage is a confrontation of Desdemona to her father about her love for Othello, its a profession of love. Brabantio, Desdemona’s father, does not approve of her marriage with a Moor. She is not only professing her love but she also wants to ease her fathers anger because of his threat to Othello with the guards. Desdemona takes a soft approach to this; she basically is crediting her father for her actions. She says “To you I am bound for life and education; My life and education both do learn me”, in other words saying you’ve taught me and raised me to be the person I am. “But here’s my husband, And so much duty as my mother show’d To you”. then she compares herself to her mother and says her love is the as her mother’s was to her father. Desdemona was very smart about how she persuaded her father.

 

Desdemona

4.2.175-186

O good Iago,

What shall I do to win my lord again?

Good friend, go to him; for, by this light of heaven,

I know not how I lost him. Here I kneel:

If e’er my will did trespass ‘gainst his love,

Either in discourse of thought or actual deed,

Or that mine eyes, mine ears, or any sense,

Delighted them in any other form;

Or that I do not yet, and ever did.

And ever will–though he do shake me off

To beggarly divorcement–love him dearly,

Comfort forswear me!

In this scene Desdemona is talking with Iago after Othello told her to basically never talk to him again. She is confused on why he thinks that way, and wants to gain his love back. Most of the main characters are in this scene when Desdemona greets Othello but her love is returned with humiliation and hate from Othello. After Othello expresses his frustration with Desdemona she begs him to tell her whats going on but he remains silent and leaves. “I know not how I lost him. Here I kneel: If e’er my will did trespass ‘gainst his love…”, her ignorance in the matter plays an important role when delivering these lines. Its what gives the lines meaning and weight.

 

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CC BY-SA 4.0 Othello close read by PJ is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 4.0 International License.

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