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.

 

Translation:

My dear Dad,

I’m torn here between my duty to you and my husband

I owe you for my life and schooling,

And I know

That I must respect you for these things.  

I am your daughter, but this is my husband.

And as my mother was loyal to you,

Even before her own father,

I must be loyal to my husband.

The Moor.

 

In this body of text, Desdemona is arguing with her father as to why she should be loyal to her husband as opposed to him.  First, Desdemona uses terms of endearment when addressing her father, using pathos to sway his judgement. She then proceeds to thank him, in a way, for what he has done for her, expressing her thought that she owes him much for her education and her life itself.  From there, Desdemona explains that her husband matters more to her now than her father. To prove her point, Desdemona compares her situation to her mother’s when her mother chose loyalty towards her husband over her father. She does this to draw on her father’s sympathy.

 

Duke

1.3.229-240

Let me speak like yourself, and lay a sentence,

Which, as a grise or step, may help these lovers

Into your favour.

When remedies are past, the griefs are ended

By seeing the worst, which late on hopes depended.

To mourn a mischief that is past and gone

Is the next way to draw new mischief on.

What cannot be preserved when fortune takes

Patience her injury a mockery makes.

The robb’d that smiles steals something from the thief;

He robs himself that spends a bootless grief.

 

Translation:

Allow me to put this down for you to pick up.

This bit of info is going to help you understand the situation.

So listen up cause this is going to change things.

When it’s all over and done with,

And the outcomes aren’t what you wanted,

By hanging onto your baggage,

You are only calling more negativity to you.

What can’t be saved

Must be left behind.

By acting unaffected,

You hurt the ones trying to take you down.

 

In this paragraph, the Duke is telling Desdemona’s father that he needs to look at the situation of his daughter marrying Othello behind his back in a different light.  He tells him that hanging onto his negative emotions about Desdemona’s marriage isn’t going to get him anywhere; that if anything, it will just draw more negativity to him.  The Duke instructs Brabantio to leave his anger and feelings of betrayal behind because there is nothing he can do about the situation. By showing that he is unaffected about the situation, he will better get back at his daughter and Othello.  

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CC BY-SA 4.0 Othello Post #1 by Kira is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 4.0 International License.

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