Othello: Key Quotes

‘Let him do his spite’ In his first appearance in Act 1, Scene 2 Othello appears calm and collected
‘But that I love the gentle Desdemona, I would not my unhoused and free condition put into circumscription and confine for all the sea’s worth’ Othello tells Iago that he loved Desdemona enough to forfeit his unmarried freedom
‘I must be found’ Othello reveals his integrity
‘Rude am I in my speech and little blest with the soft phrase of peace’ Othello is needlessly modest as he is in fact a skilled and eloquent speaker
‘She loved me for the dangers I had passed and I loved her she did pity them’ Othello reveals that his relationship with Desdemona is founded on pity
‘Nor from my own weak merits will I draw the smallest fear or doubt of her revolt for she had eyes and chose me’ Othello reasons with himself that Desdemona exercised free will in choosing him as her husband
‘Haply for I am balck and have not these soft parts of conversation that chamberers have’ Othello feels inferior due to his skin colour
‘I am bound to thee forever’ Othello’s trust in and bond with Iago
‘This fellow is exceedingly honest and knows all qualities, with a learned spirit, of human dealings’ Othello wrongly believes that Iago is honest and compassionate. Although the villian understands some of human dealings allowing him to manipulate characters in the play, his limitation lies in the fact that he does not understand love
‘She’s gone. I am abused and my relief must be to loathe her’ Othello is stubborn in his decisions
‘If she be false, O then heaven mocks itself’ Othello expresses that Desdemona’s beauty conflicts with her supposed unfaithfulness
‘O curse of marriage that we can call these delicate creatures ours and not their appetites’ Othello expresses typical 17th century views of women that in marriage they should ‘belong’ to their husbands and that they are prone to being unfaithful
‘Farewell the tranquil mind’ Othello appears to acknowledge his loss of rational thinking and descent into jealous madness
‘I’ll tear her all to pieces’ Othello quickly becomes animalistic and violent ( in Act 3, Scene 3) contrasting with his earlier character.
‘Damn her, lewd minx’ Othello is rash in his judgment and damnation of Desdemona
‘Prove my love a whore’ Othello seeks ocular proof of Desdemona’s unfaithfulness but foolishly looks to Iago to provide this
‘Your wife, my lord: your true and loyal wife’ Desdemona’s pleas of innocence contrast with Iago’s claims of her infidelity
‘Hath she forsook so many noble marriages, her father and her country and her friends to be called whore?’ Emilia is outraged and plain speaking about Othello’s treatment of Desdemona
‘They are all but stomachs, and we all but food, they eat us hungrily and when they are full they belch us’ Emilia speaks plainly about men’s exploitation of women in the 17th century
‘He tonight hath boarded a land carrack’ Iago is crude and disrespectful about the moor’s relations with his wife
‘I do perceive here a divided duty’ Desdemona shows intellect and reasoning in her measured response
‘A maiden never bold’ Brabantio’s view of his daughter
‘The Moor is of a free and open nature that thinks men honest that but seem to be so and will as tenderly be led by the nose as asses are’ Iago realises that Othello’s virtues are also his greatest flaws ( that he can exploit)
‘Our great captain’s captain’ Cassio speaks of Desdemona’s power over Othello with awe
‘Players in your housewifery and housewives in your beds’ Iago’s derogatory opinion of women
‘Oft my jealously shapes faults that are not’ A possible motive for Iago’s behaviour throughout the play
‘To beguile many and be beguiled by one’ Iago’s view of women as deceitful
‘Lay down my soul at stake’ To speak the truth Emila is prepared to die
‘If Cassio do remain he hath a daily beauty in his life that makes me ugly’ Jealousy as Iago’s motive
‘A fellow almost damned in a fair wife’ Iago of Cassio
‘Commend me to my kind lord’ Desdemona as completely faithful/loyal
‘Now begrimed and black as my own face’ Othello’s feelings of inferiority due to his race explain his insecurities and doubt of Desdemona