Othello scene analysis and quotes

A summary and analysis of each scene along with key quotes

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  • Created on: 18-06-12 17:51
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Othello Key Quotes
Two characters engaged in dispute, sets the scene for conflict to unfold. Iago is a cynical malcontent;
despises "honest knaves" who are subservient, live to serve others. Admires men who exploit their
masters, appear trustworthy but aren't. Iago loves arousing trouble and uses crude descriptions to
infuriate Brabantio. Opening scene laced with dramatic irony ­ Roderigo fails to see a man who
admits to being a selfish fraud may also be gulling him, Brabantio unaware of the aptness of the line
"Thou art a villain". Othello's `otherness' is established through references to him as "the Moor", "the
"Loving his own pride and purposes" ­ Iago about Othello, initial impression of Othello unfavourable,
sounds arrogant.
"Mere prattle without practice" ­ Iago about Cassio
"I follow him to serve my turn upon him" ­ Iago
"In following him, I follow but myself" ­ Iago
"I am not what I am" ­ Iago, parody of God's words to Moses in Exodus "I am who I am"
"Even now, now, very now, an old black ram is tupping your white ewe" ­ Iago
"your daughter and the Moor/Are now making the beast with two backs" ­ Iago, obsessed with
beastianity of sex, crude, suggests he's unable to understand love.
"I hate him as I do hell's pains" ­ Iago
Iago recounting events of previous scene to Othello, insists he wished to revenge the insults to the
general, but Othello not perturbed. Iago's pretended loyalty and indignation designed to evoke trust
and favourable opinion, as is his self-depreciation. Othello accosted by Brabantio and his followers,
who are armed with swords. Othello commands them to put their weapons away, natural authority.
Othello speaks calmly and responds to Brabantio's accusations with dignity, confident in his services
to the state, reputation and royal breeding. May be accused of pride but we understand his
reputation has been attacked. Scene shows that Othello and Iago are polar opposites, one seeks to
diffuse conflict, the other revels in it.
"I did full hard forbear him" ­ Iago
"I love the gentle Desdemona" ­ Othello
"Keep up your bright swords, for the dew will rust them"
"sooty bosom" ­ Brabantio, degrading language

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Council chamber, meeting to discuss military options, seems clear the Turks intend to attack the
island, Duke tells Othello to prepare for war. Meeting becomes trial of Othello, Brabantio insists he
bewitched his daughter, Othello offers his version of their courtship. Desdemona's polite but firm
insistence that she now owes her love and duty to Othello confirms Othello's version of their
courtship. Two lovers seem utterly secure in each other's affection, she refuses to be parted from
him.…read more

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Scene moves to Cyprus, Montano's concern for Othello indicates his respect for him and reinforces
our esteem for the Moor. The storm is a device by which Shakespeare can dispose of the Turkish
threat so focus on Othello and Iago ­ Turkish fleet destroyed by the tempest. The storm also reflects
the passions that will be released by this new setting.…read more

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You advise me well" - Cassio
"out of her own goodness make the net/That shall enmesh them all" ­ Iago
"Pleasure and action make the hours seem short" ­ Iago
Iago says to Cassio he will help him by diverting Othello's attention so Cassio can speak to
Desdemona alone. Emilia arrives and we learn Othello and Desdemona have been discussing Cassio's
case and Desdemona has defended him.…read more

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Chaos is come again" ­ Othello, jumping to conclusions with no proof
"O beware, my Lord, of jealousy:/It is a green-eyed monster which doth mock/The meat it feeds on"
­ Iago
"Look to your wife, observe her well with Cassio" ­ Iago
"I humbly do beseech you of your pardon/ For too much loving you" ­ Iago
"I am bound to thee forever" ­ Othello"
"scan this thing no farther" ­ Iago, tells him not to worry, device to make him worry even more
"This…read more

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Something...Hath puddled his clear spirit" ­ Emilia
"This is some token from a newer friend" ­ Bianca
"leave me for this time" ­ Cassio
"think it no addition, nor my wish / To have him see me womaned" ­ Cassio
Iago tortues Othello with questions and crude images, and illusions to the handkerchief. Othello
becomes frenzied, falling down in a fit, physical expression of his inner torment. While convulsed on
the floor Iago gloats over him, chilling to watch his enjoyment.…read more

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Othello tries to elicit an admission of guilt from Desdemona but she
courageously asserts her virtue. Othello describes his mental suffering, says "the fountain" of his life
has been polluted, and Desdemona is now to him a "weed". These images suggest how much under
Iago's influence he is. His repetition of the words "whore" and "strumpet" indicate how far removed
he is from the noble general of the first two acts.…read more

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O brave Iago, honest and just... Thou teachest me" ­ Othello
"O damned Iago! O inhuman dog!" ­ Roderigo
The the stillness of the opening of this final scene contrasts dramatically with the events/mood of the
previous scene. Othello's opening speech reveals he sees himself as an agent of justice, whose
purpose is to prevent Desdemona committing further sins. He views her death as a sacrifice, not a
murder.…read more


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