Othello Act 1-5 Quotes & Close Readings

Not I. I must be found./My parts, my title, and my perfect soul/Shall manifest me rightly. (lines 35-37) Othello. I am not concerned. I am a good person and have done nothing wrong. It will all come out right.
He hath a person and a smooth dispose/To be suspected, framed to make women false./ The Moor is of a free and open nature/That thinks men honest but that seem to be so, And will as tenderly be led by th’ nose/As asses are. (lines 440-445) Iago. Othello is too trusting and that makes him vunerable.
If it were now to die,/’Twere now to be most happy, for I fear/My soul hath her content so absolute That not another comfort like to this/Succeeds in unknown fate. (lines 205-209) Othello. He is so happy he could die. It could not get any better than this. I could die a happy man right now.
O beware, my lord, of Jealousy!/It is the green-eyed monster which doth mock/ The meat it feeds on. Iago. Not only does it destroy you, but it also turns you into a fool. It ruins you.
It is the cause, it is the cause, my soul./Let me not name it to you, the stars./ It is the cause. Yet I’ll not shed her blood,/Nor scar that whiter skin of hers than snow, And smooth as monumental alabaster./Yet she must die, else she’ll betray more men. Put out the light, and then put out the light. (Lines 1-7) Othello. He is about to kill Desdemona. He will strangle her so he will not mess up her face or body. Killing her is a sacrifice.
Demand me nothing: what you know, you know:/From this time forth I never will speak word. Iago. He will not tell Othello why he did it. Refuses to give Othello closure or the reason why.
Speak of me as I am; nothing extenuate,/Nor set down aught in malice: then must you speak Of one that loved not wisely but too well;/Of one not easily jealous, but being wrought Perplex’d in the extreme; of one whose hand,/Like the base Indian, threw a pearl away Richer than all his tribe. Othello. He got rid of the best thing that happened to him. He is about to kill himself. Tell them what happened. Don’t make me see like a fallen hero but also not a terrible person.
Trifles light as air are to the jealous confirmations strong as proofs of holy writ. Iago. He is talking about the handkerchief. The handkerchief proves nothing but since Othello is jealous it seems like important information.
Virtue! a fig! ’tis in ourselves that we are thus or thus. Our bodies are our gardens, to the which our wills are gardeners: so that if we will plant nettles, or sow lettuce, set hyssop and weed up thyme, supply it with one gender of herbs, or distract it with many, either to have it sterile with idleness, or manured with industry, why, the power and corrigible authority of this lies in our wills. If the balance of our lives had not one scale of reason to poise another of sensuality, the blood and baseness of our natures would conduct us to most preposterous conclusions: but we have reason to cool our raging motions, our carnal stings, our unbitted lusts, whereof I take this that you call love to be a sect or scion. 1) Speaker: Iago. 2) Context: Roderigo says he is so depressed that Desdemona has not returned his love. He is going to kill himself. Iago is trying to talk him out of it so he can keep his hands on his money.3) Meaning: It is in ourselves that we are thus or thus it is our willpower to pick. Your attitude and willpower determines who we are. Our bodies are gardens and our willpower are gardeners. 4) Learn About Speaker: Nothing is wrong with his words but his intent is evil.
And what’s he then that says I play the villain?When this advice is free I give and honest,Probal to thinking and indeed the courseTo win the Moor again? For ’tis most easyThe inclining Desdemona to subdueIn any honest suit: she’s framed as fruitfulAs the free elements. And then for herTo win the Moor—were’t to renounce his baptism,All seals and symbols of redeemed sin,His soul is so enfetter’d to her love,That she may make, unmake, do what she list,Even as her appetite shall play the godWith his weak function. How am I then a villainTo counsel Cassio to this parallel course,Directly to his good? Divinity of hell!When devils will the blackest sins put on,They do suggest at first with heavenly shows,As I do now: for whiles this honest foolPlies Desdemona to repair his fortunesAnd she for him pleads strongly to the Moor,I’ll pour this pestilence into his ear,That she repeals him for her body’s lust;And by how much she strives to do him good,She shall undo her credit with the Moor.So will I turn her virtue into pitch And out of her own goodness make the netThat shall enmesh them all 1) Speaker: Iago2) Context: Talking to Cassio. Just given Cassio the advice to get closer to Desdemona.3) Meaning: Setting up all the big events to come. He has put his plan into motion. Justifying his actions to the audience. He is comparing himself to the devil. He is going to make Desdemona’s goodness into a weapon. 4) Learn About Speaker: He will be brutally honestly with the audience but lie to everyone else.
It is the cause, it is the cause, my soul;Let me not name it to you, you chaste stars,It is the cause. Yet I’ll not shed her blood,Nor scar that whiter skin of hers than snow,And smooth as monumental alabaster.Yet she must die, else she’ll betray more men.Put out the light, and then put out the light:If I quench thee, thou flaming minister,I can again thy former light restore,Should I repent me; but once put out thy light,Thou cunning’st pattern of excelling nature,I know not where is that Promethean heatThat can thy light relume. When I have pluck’d thy rose,I cannot give it vital growth again,It needs must wither. I’ll smell thee on the tree.Kisses her.O balmy breath, that dost almost persuadeJustice to break her sword! One more, one more.Be thus when thou art dead, and I will kill theeAnd love thee after. One more, and that’s the last.So sweet was ne’er so fatal. I must weep,But they are cruel tears. This sorrow’s heavenly,It strikes where it doth love. She wakes. 1) Speaker: Othello2) Context: He is about to kill Desdemona. Walking into Desdemona’s room to kill her. 3) Meaning: He does not want to mess up her skin or beauty but he has to kill her. He will put out the candle because he does not want to watch her die and he will actually put out her light. He will kill her. He is trying to hold off killing her. 4) Learn About Speaker: He still loves her but killing her is a sacrifice. He has to kill her in order to save her.
Soft you; a word or two before you go.I have done the state some service, and they know’t—No more of that. I pray you, in your letters,When you shall these unlucky deeds relate,Speak of me as I am; nothing extenuate,Nor set down aught in malice. Then must you speakOf one that lov’d not wisely but too well;Of one not easily jealous, but being wrought,Perplexed in the extreme; of one whose hand(Like the base Indian) threw a pearl awayRicher than all his tribe; of one whose subdu’d eyes,Albeit unused to the melting mood,Drops tears as fast as the Arabian treesTheir medicinable gum. Set you down this;And say besides, that in Aleppo once,Where a malignant and a turban’d TurkBeat a Venetian and traduc’d the state,I took by th’ throat the circumcised dog,And smote him—thus. 1) Speaker: Othello2) Context: He is about to kill himself. 3) Meaning: Tell everyone what exactly happened and what type of person I was. Do not try to make me sound better but do not make me sound like a cold blooded killer. Desdemona is the pearl and Othello is the base Indian. He is admitting he was a fool and he throws away Desdemona who is perfect. 4) Learn About Speaker: He admits his guilt. He is sorry for what he has done.

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