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.

My father
I am conflicted
You gave me life and educated me
I have to respect you
I am your daughter, but this is my husband
Like my mother
She preffered you over her father
So I must too
Due to my husband

Desdemona is talking to her father. He’s not happy with her. She has married Othello behind his back. It also doesn’t help that he’s racist. Desdemona is trying to explain that she respects him and loves him. He’s taken care of her, and taught her. Yet, she is married and must respect her husband. Plus, she loves him.
I think it’s interesting the approach she’s taking. Doesn’t really do anything to help her case, but it is a strong point. She loves both father and husband, and she does not want to hurt them both, but she has a “duty” to them both.

Iago
3.3.368-378
I will in Cassio’s lodging lose this napkin,
And let him find it. Trifles light as air
Are to the jealous confirmations strong
As proofs of holy writ: this may do something.
The Moor already changes with my poison:
Dangerous conceits are, in their natures, poisons.
Which at the first are scarce found to distaste,
But with a little act upon the blood.
Burn like the mines of Sulphur. I did say so:
Look, where he comes!

I’m going to drop Desdemona’s handkerchief in Cassio’s room.
Cassio will find it, and not think very much of it.
But it will confirm to Othello he should be jealous.
It will provide “proof” and may trigger something in Othello.
He’s already changing with my words

Iago is going to take Desdemona’s handkerchief and drop it in Cassio’s room. That handkerchief was given to Othello by his mom to give to his lover. She told him if they were to misplace it it would show that they are not loyal. Iago has already been feeding Othello with ideas of Desdemona’s betrayal. This will solidify it in Othello’s mind.
I don’t like Iago as a person, but I like him as a character. He’s very tricky, and mischievous. This plan was ingenious. It plays in to the paranoia he’s already placed in Othello and Othello’s own superstitions. It’s crazy how clever he is! His plan works too. He’s thought so in depth on all of this, and even though it works it also goes terribly wrong for him. Poor guy, got what he deserved.

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

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