Desdemona (1.3.208-218)

Paraphrase: My father, I am of two minds.

On one hand you are the one who gave me life and education,

and I know I should respect you,

I am firstly your daughter, but I also want my husband,

and just as my mom chose you over her father,

I give my loyalty firstly to my husband

Actual: 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.

In this scene Desdemona is arguing with her father about marrying Othello. Her father doesn’t want her to do so, but Desdemona is in love with him and tries to convince him. Desdemona uses a two-fold tactic to try and get her father to agree with her. Firstly, she makes sure her father realizes that she loves and respects him, and she realizes all he has done for her. Next, she reminds her father that he her mother did the same thing years ago, choosing him over her father. She chooses to appeal emotionally to her father, bringing up old  memories to make him see her point.

Emilia (4.3.81-87)

Paraphrase: I think I would (cheat),

although not for clothes or anything simple,

but I would for the whole world,

because by cheating I could make my husband powerful

It is worth the risk.

Actual: In troth, I think I should; and undo’t when I had

done. Marry, I would not do such a thing for a

joint-ring, nor for measures of lawn, nor for

gowns, petticoats, nor caps, nor any petty

exhibition; but for the whole world,–why, who would

not make her husband a cuckold to make him a

monarch? I should venture purgatory for’t.

Emilia is trying to convince Desdemona that cheating is okay if done for the right price. Although she uses a joking manner, she illustrates that if you cheating on your husband and gained the whole world, it would be alright. Desdemona does not agree, for she says she would never cheat for any reason. This is ironic because Othello thinks that Desdemona cheated on her.

CC BY-SA 4.0 Othello Close Read by Logan is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 4.0 International License.

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