A Closed Reading of Othello's Speech

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Othello is a man who is respected as a General in the Army. Brabanzio even considered him a friend. Thanks to Iago planting a seed in Brabanzio ear about his daughter, Desdemona, Brabanzio accused Othello of taking his daughter away from him by means of drugs or poision. Othello has fought on the battle-field and now finds himself on a very different kind of battle-field. He finds himself in a position of being forced to defend his honor, friendship and his love. There has been accusations made against Othello, so in a room filled with signors, masters, the Duke, and Brabanzio, Othello has a strategy of battlement in his own way. He tells the Duke to send for Desdemona, “Send for the lady to the Sagittary, And let her speak of me before her father” (1.3-115-116).
Othello speaks to the Duke when he says, “Her father loved me, oft invited me, Still questioned me the story of my life from year to year, the battles, sieges, fortunes that I have passed” (1.3-128-130). Here Othello is talking to the Duke, yet also talking to Brabanzio reminding him of their friendship. The Duke seems to be the acting mediator between Othello and Brabanzio. Othello is also using a good tactical maneuver by not losing his temper and staying as calm and truthful as possible. This is one of the things that make Othello a good General. He is trying to calm the situation and discuss the charges like men should do. Another thing that makes Othello a good General is his ability to think things through before reacting.
Othello continues on to tell his story to the Duke, while reminding Brabanzio that he already knows the story. Othello says to the Duke, “I ran it through even from my boyish days to th’ very moment that he bade me tell i...

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... One day he meets a girl, who happens to be his friend’s daughter, and falls in love. She falls in love with his stories and he falls in love with her passion. One troublemaker tries to cause problems by accusing Othello of stealing his friend’s daughter using drugs and witchcraft. All this happens after Othello and Desdemona gets married. Othello is put in the position of defending his honor, and Brabanzio in the position of defending his daughter’s honor. Iago is the villain who started the nasty rumor. Brabanzio is also a man who does not believe in mixed marriages and Othello was a black man. This is a story that does not end very well. Shakespeare tackles the issues of race, lies, friendship and jealousy.

Works Cited

Shakespeare, William. The Norton Shakespear. Othello. Dir. Grenblatt, Cohen, Howard, and Eisaman Maus. (second ed.) New York. 2008.

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