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 moment desdemona is telling her father that she loves the moor and is obligated to him despite whatever he feels about it.  

Desdemona seems to be sure about how she feels for the moor and she seems to really say what she is thinking in this instance despite the consequence. She used the example of her mother to clearly make her point and it made a very solid argument.


Dear father,

I am very conflicted here

I owe you my life and education

Both of which have been so good to me.

I must respect you because you are my father

And I am your daughter, but this is my husband

And I must have as much respect and duty to him as my mother had for you

Choosing you above her own father

I know that I have duty now to the moor, my lord.


A halter pardon him! and hell gnaw his bones!

Why should he call her whore? who keeps her company?

What place? what time? what form? what likelihood?

The Moor’s abused by some most villainous knave,

Some base notorious knave, some scurvy fellow.

O heaven, that such companions thou’dst unfold,

And put in every honest hand a whip

To lash the rascals naked through the world

Even from the east to the west!


To hell with him!

What right does he have to call her a whore.

Who could she have been with?

When would she have the time or means to sleep around with anybody?!

It is completely unlikely

Some villain is trying to trick othello and fill his head with false I ideas.

Oh if I could just expose this scoundrel,

And all others like them and beat them senseless.


Emilia seems to be very upset about how othello has been treating desdemona. She knows that Desdemona has been loyal and would never cheat on him. She believes that somebody is giving him false ideas and it is pissing her off because she is defensive of Desdemona.


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


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