Desdemona, 1.3.208-218

At this point in the play, Desdemona is brought forward to speak about her love of Othello. The Duke doesn’t understand how Desdemona could fall in love with someone like Othello, and believes that Othello has used some sort magic to make Desdemona fall in love with him.

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.

Paraphrase: My father, I am torn between Othello and you, I owe you so much as you have raised me well, you have taught me everything I know, I must respect you as you are my father and I am your daughter. But this is my husband and I love him as mother loves you. Just like mother loved you over her father. I ask of you to accept my love of the moor.

In this quote, Desdemona is confessing her love for Othello and asking her father for grace. She uses her fathers own experience with love to argue her point of view and to convince her father to accept her and Othello being together.

Desdemona, 4.2.175-186

At this point in the play, Othello is now accusing Desdemona of being unfaithful, even after she denies all the accusations.

O good Iago,

What shall I do to win my lord again?

Good friend, go to him; for, by this light of heaven,

I know not how I lost him. Here I kneel:

If e’er my will did trespass ‘gainst his love,

Either in discourse of thought or actual deed,

Or that mine eyes, mine ears, or any sense,

Delighted them in any other form;

Or that I do not yet, and ever did.

And ever will–though he do shake me off

To beggarly divorcement–love him dearly,

Comfort forswear me!

Paraphrase: Iago, How should I win back my husband? As a friend of mine, can you talk to him, I don’t know what I did to upset him. I am begging you. If I ever go against his love in any way, whether it be through my actions or thoughts, or if I ever didn’t love him or don’t love him in the future. Even if he tries to divorce me, I will always love him. Please give me comfort in my time of need.

In this quote, Desdemona has gone to Iago for help. She attempts to convince Iago to talk to Othello and tell him how she feels and ask what she has done so wrong.

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