Othello Key Quotes

‘I am not what I am’ – Iago, 1.1 DuplicityManipulationLoyaltyParadoxVs. God in Bible ‘I am what I am’ – Devil (Coleridge), Exodus 3:14
‘To mourn a mischief that is past and gone is the next way to draw new mischief on.’ – Duke, 1.3 RevengePastViolent emotionForeshadowing
‘Who would not make her husband a cuckold to make him a monarch?’ – Emilia, 4.3 MoralityInnocenceLoyaltyLoveRhetorical – answer is ‘Desdemona’ – clear to reader
‘I kissed thee ere I killed thee, no way but this, killing myself, to die upon a kiss.’ – Othello, 5.2 LoveDeathViolent emotionRepetition – intertwiningChiasmus – poetic ending, halves of a wholeBiblical allusions (Judas kissing Jesus to mark his death) ‘Judean’ reference
‘Even now, now, very now, an old black ram is tupping your white ewe’ – Iago, 1.1 RaceColour imageryAnimal imageryCrudeRepetition ‘now’ – urgency
‘Reputation, reputation, reputation! O, I have lost my reputation! I have lost the immortal part of myself, and what remains is bestial.’ – Cassio, 2.3 ReputationPowerRepetition ‘reputation’ – value’O’ – lament, to God’bestial’ – animal imagery (Othello has no reputation? Iago animal imagery?)Idea of immortality
‘They are all but stomachs, and we all but food: they eat us hungerly, and when they are full they belch us – Emilia, 3.4 GenderPowerMetaphorFood imageryCrude language
‘Yet I’ll not shed her blood, nor scar that whiter skin of hers than snow, and smooth as monumental alabaster’ – Othello 5.2 InnocenceViolent emotionsJealousyLoveColour imageryStrangling – silencing and intimacyLove despite wrathWorship – alabasterSnow – untouchedTreasure imagery
‘Your son-in-law is far more fair than black’ – Duke, 1.3 RaceVirtueColour imagery
‘Yet she must die, else she’ll betray more men.’ – Othello, 5.2 GenderLoyalty’must’ – sense of brotherhood
‘Speak of me as I am’ – Othello, 5.2 ReputationImperative – importanceFinal moments – fear
‘Her eye must be fed.’ – Iago GenderFood imagery’Must’- need
‘Excellent wretch!’ – Othello LoveViolent emotionOxymoron
‘Good name in man and woman…is the immediate jewel of their souls.’ – Iago ReputationTreasure imageryIdea of immortality
‘Be sure of it: give me the ocular proof’ – Othello TrustAppearance vs. realityDeceptionEyes – too superficial
‘Put out the light, and then put out the light.”When I have plucked thy rose, I cannot give it vital growth again; It must needs wither.’ – Othello 5.2 LoveViolent emotionDeathInnocenceVirtueGenderFlower imageryLight imageryPositive connotationsMortality – in contrast to reputation explains why ‘name’ is prioritised by Othello over herEasily destroyed – passivityBeautiful – exacerbates tragedyRomance – twisted romance
‘like the base Indian, threw a pearl away,’ – 5.2(Judean) VirtueInnocenceRaceColour imageryTreasure imageryNature imageryEasily removed – passivity(Judean – greatest betrayer in Christianity, as Jesus is the pearl. Her virtue vs. his evil)
‘Reputation…oft got without merit and lost without deserving’ – Iago, 2.3 DeceptionReputation
‘Look to her, Moor, if thou hast eyes to see. She has deceived her father, and may thee.’ DeceptionLoyaltyLoveAppearance vs. realityGenderEyesForeshadowingCurse
Biblical Ideas – Iago is the Devil, whispering in Othello’s ear like the snake of Eden.- Othello shifts from using heaven imagery to describe Desdemona to hell, reflecting the violence of his emotions as well as the shift he sees in her. – The constant references to heaven and Christianity that she makes adds to the dramatic irony of the audience knowing her chastity and virtue, making the murder appear even worse.- Othello’s actions tempting him to the Devil are ironic (as he believes that she has been tempted and so has corrupted him), and would have held greater weight than his race at the time.- Iago references Biblical themes to add greater weight to his claims.
Biblical Quotes ‘like a base Judean’ 5.2’kissed thee ere I killed thee’ 5.2’I am not what I am’ 1.1’viper’ 5.2’fair devil’ 3.3’Whip me…blow me…roast me in sulphur…gulfs of liquid fire’ 5.2’a strumpet’ ‘No – as I am a Christian’ 4.2
‘…rise to play and go to bed to work.’ – Iago, 2.1 SexualityGenderPowerCrude language
‘Men are not gods.’ – Emilia, 3.4 GenderPower
‘ ’tis proper I obey him but not now.’ – Emilia, 5.2 GenderPower
‘super-subtle Venetian’ – Iago, 1.3 (to Roderigo) GenderSexualityDeceptionEmphasise place of origin – synonymous with deceit and duplicity
‘Our great Captain’s Captain’ – Cassio, 2.1 GenderPower
‘that men should put an enemy in their mouths to steal away their brains! That we should …transform ourselves into beasts!’ – Cassio, 2.3 WordsPowerGenderAnimal imageryPersonificationIdentification of individual body parts shows divide between them.

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