“If Cassio do remain he hath a daily beauty in his life that makes me ugly”
Act 5 Scene 1 Iago: Although often Iago is labels as a “motiveless villain” this quote highlights his jealousy as one of the sources and roots to the tragedy he is creating, emphasizing the destructive nature of jealousy as a whole.
“Oh brave Iago, honest and just That hast such a noble sense of thy friend’s wrong! Though teachest me.”
Act 5 Scene 1 Othello: The dramatic irony and the height of which Othello has fallen is extremely evident here. Othello is a mighty war general who should not be taught how to slay and kill. The audience continue to view the extent that Othello is completely blind to Iago’s villainy which is where the absurd and comic nature lies. Almost too unbelievable.
“a very valiant fellow”
Act 5 Scene 1 Lodovico: Iago has been successful in deceiving even Venice’s most superior members of society highlighting his Machiavellian qualities.
“O damned Iago! O inhuman dog!”
Act 5 Scene 1 Roderigo: Very important quote to remember. Of course, it seems that Shakespeare never wishes us to fully understand Iago’s motives. When Othello demands an explanation, Iago is silent. Iago can often be likened to the devil which this quote portrays him as lacking humanity. If Iago is the devil incarnate, pure evil, then he needs no motives other than evil itself. That is his motive. Only human compassion forces us to try to humanize him by projecting the various motives upon him but his silence evidently his true evil has no explanation to offer. Quote shows Roderigo to be a comic figure even though a pitiful one. Only now in death does he realize that Iago has taken everything from Roderigo, his money, his time, his effort, and eventually his life for his own gain.
“This is the night that either makes or fordoes me quite”
Act 5 Scene 1 Iago: Shakespeare is reflecting some of Iago’s weaknesses in this quote. Although throughout the play Iago is constantly portrayed as a somewhat director of a play within a play, ultimately no one is really invincible in the tragic genre.
Act 5 Scene 2 beginning:
“They are the loves I bear to you”
Act 5 Scene 2 Desdemona: from a contemporary audiences’ perspective, in reality Desdemona’s love can be portrayed as sins and thus her downfall. Relationships between different races were still prohibited and viewed negatively.
“Oh banish me my lord but kill me not” “Kill me tomorrow but let me live tonight” “but half an hour”
Act 5 Scene 2 Desdemona: although her clear struggle against Othello in her murder can be viewed as displaying autonomy and courage, this courage is unfortunately undermined by her passive acceptance of her death and her unwillingness to see Othello’s jealousy. This servitude was a key contributor to her murder in this scene.
“My wife, my wife! What wife? I have no wife”
Ac 5 scene 2 Othello: Shakespeare is trying to show Othello’s confusion; his speech at line 90 is a little disjointed, with short phrases and questions. It is completed by a yelp of pain, “‘My wife, my wife, what wife? I have no wife; / O, insupportable! O heavy hour!'” (lines 96-7). Admittedly Othello does not confess his own guilt or express remorse here, but he clearly understands what he has lost. That he sees Desdemona’s death as a monumental loss can be confirmed by the fact that he thinks there should now be “‘a huge eclipse / Of sun and moon, and that th’affrighted globe / Should Yawn at alteration'” (lines 97-9). He feels that nature should reflect the chaos he finds himself mired in.
“Nobody; I myself. Farewell”
Act 5 scene 2 Desdemona: though this quote prove to create even more pathos from the audience through Desdemona’s undying love that she continues to feel for Othello highlighting her devotion towards him, it could also convey many character tragic flaws that Desdemona truly has. Her subversive nature is highlighted here and the fact that Desdemona blames herself could actually show that she has come to the realization that going against societies conventions and desiring a marriage that would have been portrayed as negatively towards the contemporary audience is her downfall. The tragedy lies in Shakespeare conforming to these racist social conventions.
“She’s like a liar gone to burning hell: Twas I that killed her!”
Act 5 Scene 2 Othello: Othello proudly declares that he has killed his wife moments after denying having any knowledge of her death. This is further evidence of the tumultuous state of his mind but also that in denying having done any wrong, his strong conviction and belief that he is in fact merely and agent of justice.
“angel” and “devil”
“water” and “fire”
“blacker devil” and “heavenly true”
“water” and “fire”
“blacker devil” and “heavenly true”
Act 5 Scene 2 Othello and Emilia: Through their interaction after Emilia’s discovery of Desdemona’s death, Shakespeare uses antithesis to emphasize the falsehood of Othello’s lies. However, it could also show the incompatibility of Desdemona and Othello, they were too different. This again links to the racist ideas that were common practice at the time.
Repetition of “My husband”
Act 5 Scene 2 Emilia: Emilia becomes the voice of the audience in this scene; we must have an outlet for our feelings of outrage. The repetition of this quote is highly charged; Emilia is as reluctant as Desdemona to believe her husband is not what he seems. However, it could also show Emilia coming to realization of the character that she truly believed Iago to be but had constantly been denying to herself.
“I told him what I thought, and told no more Than what he found himself apt and true”
Act 5 Scene 2 Iago: Even though this quote does once again highlight Iago’s villainy, it does emphasize the fact that Othello in reality really did concoct his own downfall. Iago gave Othello very little fuel to go by his claims and yet, Othello readily let his jealousy get away with him. Questions the extent of Iago’s villainy and more of Othello’s own hamartia that caused his tragic downfall.
“Villainy, villainy, villainy!” “He begged me to steal it” “fool”
Act 5 Scene 2 Emilia: Emilia is the guardian of Desdemona’s honor, a role Othello should have assumed. Emilia’s castigation of Othello reminds us how far the noble Moor has fallen and the cruelty of her words might perhaps represent some kind of poetic justice. Othello recognises the justice of Emilia’s description when he reiterates her words, “‘O fool, fool, fool!'”.
EMILIA THE HEROINE (however these heroic qualities could be undermined by the actions that she previously committed though unintentional against Othello and Desdemona)
Emilia defies her hierarchal position and condemns the Moor for his baseness in calling Desdemona a “*****”. Emilia questions the Moor of the source of this deceit and dishonesty. Upon learning that the source is her husband, she cries: ‘O mistress, villainy hath made mocks with love! My husband say she was false?’ . Emilia’s love for her mistress and her determination to honor the truth illicit much courage and independence from the character which, in light of the tragic sequence of events, can be seen as heroic. Instead of seeking safety in silence and ignorance, Emilia shouts ‘I care not for thy Othello’s sword… the Moor hath killed my mistress. Murder, murder!’ and goes on to confront her husband Iago, though fully aware that in doing so she risks her marriage and ultimately, her life. When her husband draws his sword against her, Emilia does not shy away but instead shows a bravery that challenges her assumed reputation, and cries ”Twill out, ’twill out. I peace! No, I will speak as liberal as the north; Let heaven, and men, and devils, let them all… cry shame against me, yet I’ll speak’ (5:2:217-220). In response, Emilia is stabbed from behind by her cowardly and villainous husband thus perhaps suggesting that the consequence of truth is death. In her dying words she says ‘Moor she was chaste…so come my soul to bliss, as I speak true; so speaking as I think, I die, I die’ (5:2:247-249).
“That’s he that was Othello: here I am” “O cursed cursed slave! Whip me ye devils”
Act 5 Scene 2 Othello: By Othello distancing himself and creating almost two identities Shakespeare heightens the tragic downfall of the person that Othello once was and who he became as a result of his jealousy. Othello’s use of language here is a return to the romanticism he once shared with Desdemona. Shakespeare is allowing Othello a route back to honor through his language, whilst reminding us how far he has fallen.
“I bleed, sir, but not killed”
Act 5 Scene 2 Iago: his last line can certainly seem defiant. Many critics feel that the ensign remains an enigma. However, his devilment is clearly recognized by all the characters on stage. Iago’s final acts are brutal and unnatural. There is a troubling irony in the fact that his last crime mirrors Othello’s: he too kills his honest wife to preserve his honor. The closeness of Iago and Othello also seems to be suggested by the references to unchristian behavior.
“O, thou Othello, that wert once so good”
Act 5 Scene 2 Lodovico: The fact that his comes from a the superior and upper class Lodovico heightens the tragedy of the situation. The years that Othello has spent trying to obtain reputation has ultimately been destroyed in the space of a few days.
“An honorable murderer if you will”
Act 5 Scene 2 Othello: But does Othello remain somewhat deluded and self-dramatising, as some critics have suggested? He still insists that he is honourable: has his pride been his downfall? In his final speech the Moor presents himself as both hero and villain. He reminds Lodovico and the others (with characteristic self-effacement) that he has been of service to the Venetian state, and seems to want to insist on his identity as heroic soldier, not disastrous husband.
. Iago is a “‘cursed slave'” “Spartan dog” and a “‘demi-devil'”
Act 5 Scene 2: The characters finally come to the realization of what Iago truly is however it has all come too late to stop this tragedy from ensuing.
“I look down towards his feet – but that’s a fable. If that thou be’st a devil, I cannot kill thee”
Act 5 Scene 2 Othello: Iago is finally being seen for what he truly is, a diabolical villain who was able to convince everyone of his honesty, become a trusted confidant and advisor to all whilst at the same time scheming to bring the downfall of Desdemona, Othello and Cassio. Nevertheless Shakespeare keeps this character ambiguous, the fact that Othello is unable to stab him leaves the audience wondering the nature of Iago’s villainy and evil linking him closer to the devil.
“Demand me nothing. What you know, you know. From this day forth I never will speak a word”
Act 5 Scene 2 Iago: This could be seen as a weak ending for such a diabolical villain, however it adds to the enigmatic nature of his evil and suggests that Iago was acting entirely without motive. Throughout, his motives have been questionable and founded merely on rumors and hearsay. The fact that he offers no explanation seems to make his actions all the more worse and furthers the link between him and the devil.