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Othello's soliloquy Act III, iii

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Karla Drake

on 6 February 2014

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Transcript of Othello's soliloquy Act III, iii

Othello's Soliloquy
Act 3 Scene 3

Animal Imagery
This fellow's of exceeding honesty
And knows all quantities, with a learned spirit,
Of human dealings. If I do prove her haggard,
Though that her jesses were my dear heartstrings,
I'd whistle her off and let her down the wind
To prey at fortune.
, for I am black
And have not those soft parts of conversation
have, or for I am declined
Into the vale of years - yet that's not much -
She's gone, I am abused, and my relief
Must be to loathe her. Oh, curse of marriage
That we can call these delicate creatures ours
And not their appetites! I had rather be a toad
And live upon the
of a dungeon
Than keep a corner in the thing I love
For others' uses. Yet 'tis the plague to great ones,
are they less than the base.
'Tis destiny unshunnable, like death.
Even then this
forked plague
is fated to us
When we
do quicken
. Look where she comes.
If she be false, heaven mocked itself.
I'll not believe 't.

Iago has just left Othello and these are Othello’s thoughts. Iago has just told Othello that he hopes that Desdemona does not come to her senses and want someone of her social class and race – another fellow Venetian rather than an outsider like Othello.

Haply perhaps because
Chamberers young, wealthy men
Vapour stinking air
Prerogatived privileged
Forked plague cuckhold’s horns
(the mark of deceived husbands)
Do quicken are born

Written in iambic pentameter
Haggard or Wild Hawk
Haggard is a wild, untrained hawk. Desdemona is like a wild hawk. 'Jesses' are the straps tied around the hawk's legs. 'Whistle her off' means to set her free. Then Othello will 'let her down the wind/ To prey at fortune' or let Desdemona go to look for own fortune herself. Othello will set her free though the straps are his heartstrings. It would break his heart.
Othello would rather be a toad, the most diminutive, insignificant and lowly of animals, living in the foul and stinking air of a cold and wet basement rather than to have to share the woman he loves, his wife, with other men.
Desdemona is a 'creature of appetite'. Othello is feeling abandoned and very alone.
Othello's character
Attitude toward marriage

Slight inferiority complex
High expectations
Let's Hear It!
An Aside
Full transcript