I have divided responsibilities:
I am bound to you because of my life and education;
My life and education have both taught me
How to respect you, you are the lord of duty;
I am your daughter: but he is my husband,
And my mother showed you so much duty
She preferred you before her own father,
I challenge my duty to the Moor, father.
When Desdemona is saying this, her father has just found out about her secret marriage to Othello and she is trying to reason with him. Brabantio, her father, is telling Desdemona that she is bound to him because he is her father, and she responds with the above quote. She says, “my life and education have both taught me how to respect you…I am your daughter, but he is my husband (1.3.211-213)”.
What do I do about my husband?
Dear friend, talk to him, show me you care,
I do not know why he is mad at me, I beg;
If I ever ruined his love for me,
Whether it be talk or action,
Or from my eyes, ears, or sense,
Or in any other way;
Or that I have not yet, and never will.
Though he do ignore me
I do love him dearly,
Talk to him for me!
When Desdemona is saying this, she is talking to Iago about why Othello is mad at her. She does not know that Iago put the thought of her cheating on Othello into his head and is confiding in him to help her relationship. Desdemona is saying that she does not know what has upset Othello, but she wants to fix it, whatever it is. She says, “If I ever ruined his love for me, Whether it be talk or action, Or from my eyes, ears, or sense, Or in any other way; Or that I have not yet, and never will. Though he do ignore me, I do love him dearly, Talk to him for me!”(4.2.179-186). Desdemona just wants to fix her relationship with Othello because, to her, nothing has happened between the two of them.
Shakespeare’s Othello by Olivia is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 4.0 International License.