Othello Act 3 Study Guide, Part 1

“Good madam, do. I warrant (I assume) it grieves my husbandAs if the cause were his.” * Speaker: Emilia* To: Cassio and Desdemona* Context: Emilia is saying that Iago is so upset about Cassio’s problem you’d think it was his own
“Tell me, Othello. I wonder in my soulWhat you would ask me that I should denyOr stand so mamm’ring on.” * Speaker: Desdemona* To: Othello* Meaning: She’s telling Othello that if he asked her something she would never say no or just sit there mammering on* Context: Desdemona is trying to fix Cassio and Othello’s friendship by asking Othello if he can come over for dinner
“And for I know thou ‘rt full of love and honestyAnd weigh’st thy words before thou giv’st them breath,Therefore these stops of thine fright me the more.For such things in a false disloyal knaveAre tricks of custom, but in a man that’s justThey are close dilations, working from the heart,That passion cannot rule.” * Speaker: Othello* To: Iago* Meaning: This is irony because Othello is claiming that he would easily recognize an evil liar trying to play tricks on him, meanwhile he doesn’t even recognize the one right in front of him
“As, I confess, it is my nature’s plagueTo spy into abuses, and oft my jealousyShapes faults that are not, that your wisdom,From one that so imperfectly conceits,Would take no notice, nor build yourself a troubleOut of his scattering and unsure observance.” * Speaker: Iago* To: Othello* Meaning: Iago is advising Othello to ignore what he is saying, Iago claims that he is suspicious of everything and he wouldn’t want to disturb Othello’s peace with his meaningless and worried thoughts.
“Oh, beware, my lord, of jealousy!It is the green-eyed monster which doth mockThe meat it feeds on. That cuckold lives in blissWho, certain of his fate, loves not his wronger,But, oh, what damnèd minutes tells he o’erWho dotes, yet doubts— suspects, yet soundly loves!” * Speaker: Iago* To: Othello* Meaning: Iago is saying that it is better to be aware of your wife cheating on you, but not know the man, rather than be suspicious and jealous of someone you know
“And yet how nature, erring from itself-“ * Speaker: Othello* Context: Othello is echoing his father in law, Brabantio (from act 1)* Meaning: Othello is doubting Desdemona’s faithfulness to him, and slowly becoming more skeptical as he listens to Iago’s thoughts
“I nothing but to please his fantasy.” * Speaker: Emilia* Meaning: She will do anything to make her husband happy, this shows that she desperately needs his attention and approval* Context: This speech of Emilia’s announces the beginning of Othello’s “handkerchief plot”
What does the handkerchief symbolize? as the first gift Othello gave Desdemona, it represents their oldest and purest feelings for one another
“Trifles light as airAre to the jealous confirmations strongAs proofs of holy writ.” Speaker: IagoContext: Iago says this while referring to the handkerchiefMeaning: That to a jealous man like Othello, even something small and meaningless can be interpreted as proof (of his wife cheating)
“Assure thee,If I do vow a friendship, I’ll perform itTo the last article: my lord shall never rest;I’ll watch him tame and talk him out of patience;His bed shall seem a school, his board a shrift;I’ll intermingle every thing he doesWith Cassio’s suit: therefore be merry, Cassio;For thy solicitor shall rather dieThan give thy cause away.” Speaker: DesdemonaMeaning: She is describing how she will devote her life to fixing Cassio and Othello’s friendship

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