Othello Quotes

“I follow him to serve my turn upon him.” Iago to Roderigo about Othello. Iago is serving under Othello in order to take advantage of him. Shows Iago’s ambition + deceit.
“It is as sure as you are Roderigo, were I the Moor, I would not be Iago. In following him, I but follow myself.” Iago to Roderigo about Othello. Iago is only working for Othello so he can get what he wants. If he were a Moor, he would not trust himself.
“I am not what I am.” Iago. I am not what I appear to be. Also shows Iago’s deceit. An allusion to the bible when G-d told Moses “I am what I am.”
“I am one, sir, that comes to tell you your daughter and the Moor are now making the beats with two backs.” Iago to Brabantio. Says that Desdemona and Othello are having sex. Sees any sexual acts as animalistic.
“Even now, now, very not, an old black ram is tupping your white ewe.” Iago to Brabantio. Telling him that Desdemona is sleeping with Othello. Racist comment.
“O, I would you had had her!” Shows that Brabantio thinks women have a weak character, + she’s been trapped up all her life so running away is bound to happen. It is easier for humans to believe the worst then believe the best.
“My services which I have done in the siginory shall out-tongue his complaints.” Othello to Iago about Brabantio. Othello believes that the services he has done for the government will be more valuable + count for more than Brabantio’s complaints will.
“Not I; I must be found. My parts, my title, and my perfect soul shall manifest me rightly.” Othello. He says his good qualities, his position, and his conscience will protect him from anything Brabantio has against him.
“Keep up your bright swords for the dew will rust them.” Othello to Brabantio. You’ll never fight me b/c I don’t want to fight, + you’ve never used swords anyway. Shows he values being civil. Contrasts his violent nature in act 2 when Cassio and Monato fight.
“Though has practic’d o her with foul charms, abus’d her delicate youth with drugs or minerals that weakens motion.” Brabantio to Othello. Suspects that Othello used drugs to win over Desdemona’s love, because she could not have willingly fallen in love with a Moor.
“Both you of my inclining and the rest. Where it my cue to fight, I should have known I without a prompter.” Othello to Brabantio. Othello doesn’t need anyone to tell him when to fight. He is acting civilly, yet aggressively.
“Bring him away; mine’s not an idle cause.” Brabantio orders to bring Othello to court, and claims the law is on his side.
“My story being heard, she gave me for my pains a world of sighs she wore, in faith, ’twas strange, ’twas passing strange, t’was pitiful, t’was wondrous pitiful.” Othello to Brabantio about Desdemona. Desdemona would listen to his stories and feel his pain. She thought the stories were strange, wonderful, and sad. Nothing like she’s ever heard before. It was the route of their relationship.
“She lov’d me for the dangers I had pass’d, and I lov’d her that she did pity them.” Othello. Route of their relationship. She loved him for his danger.
“Men do their broken weapons rather use than their bare hands.” Duke to Brabantio. Brabantio has to accept what happened.
“I do perceive here a divided duty.” Desdemona to Brabantio. She has to choose between her father and Othello, and she ultimately chooses Othello.
“I had rather to adopt a child than to get it.” Brabantio to Desdemona. He has taken care of Desdemona all her life and this is how he repaid her. Disowned Desdemona.
“The robb’d that smiles steals something from the thief; he robs himself that spends a bootless grief.” Duke to Brabantio. A robbery victim who can smile about his losses is superior to the thief who robbed him, but if he cries he’s just wasting time. Referring to Othello and Desdemona’s marriage.
“That I did love the Moor to live with him, my downright violence and storm of fortunes may triumph to the world.” Desdemona to the Duke. When she fell in love with him, she decided that she wanted to live with him. Exemplifies her admiring of his love for adventure.
“I saw Othello’s visage in his mind and to his honours and his valiant parts did I my soul and fortunes consecrate.” Desdemona to the Duke. She saw his true face when she saw his mind, and she gave her whole life to him because of his honesty and bravery.
“If virtue is no delighted beauty lack, your son in law is far more far then black.” Duke to Brabantio. If goodness is beautiful, then Othello is more beautiful (+ white) then black.
“Look to her, Moor, if thou hast eyes to see; she has deciev’d her father + may thee.” Brabantio to Othello. Be careful of Desdemona. She lied to me, + she may lie to you also.
“I never found a man that knew how to love himself.” Iago to Roderigo. He never knew someone who knew what was best for himself. Doesn’t believe Desdemona is best for him.
“…Either to have it sterile w/ idleness of manure w/ industry, why the power + corrigible authority of this lies in our wills.” Iago to Roderigo. You can plant your garden any way your want. It can either be useless or productive, depending on what we plans.
“It is merely a lust of the blood and a permission of the will.” Iago to Roderigo. Claims that love is lust without will power.
“Hell and night must bring this monstrous birth to the world’s light.” Iago. With help from the devil, he will bring the monstrous plan to success. Emphasizes his inner devil.
“Most fortunately: he hath achiev’d a maid that paragons description + wild fame.” Cassio to Montano. Othello married a beautiful woman who defies description. He is speaking according to Iago’s plan, he knew he would act like this + praise Desdemona.
“Let it not gall your patience, good Iago, that I extend my manners. Tis my breeding that gives me this bold show of courtesy.” Cassio to Iago. Cassio is telling Iago not to be offended that he is kissing Iago’s wife. Shows Cassio flirtatious nature. He is also emphasizing his high place in society + is putting down Iago.
“To suckle fools and chronicle small beer.” Iago to Desdemona. This is Iago’s view on the worth of women. The perfect women should stay home and feed babies.
“With as little a web as this will I ensnare a great fly as Cassio.” Iago. With Cassio’s admiration and behavior towards Desdemona, Iago will be able to trap Cassio.
“My soul hath her content so absolute that not another comfort like to this succeeds in unknown fate.” Othello to Desdemona. Othello could die now b/c he fears he will never be this happy in his life. Desdemona responds by saying this is only the beginning. Ironic, b/c this is infact the happiest they will ever be.
“The heavens forbid but that our loves and comforts should increase, even as our days do grow.” Desdemona. She tells Othello that as their love grows, they will become increasingly happy. Ironic, because that was indeed the happiest they would ever be.
“I could well wish courtesy would invent some other custom of entertainment” Cassio. He wishes he didn’t get drunk and ruin his reputation. He wishes people found another way to have fun.
“If consequence do but approve my dream, my boat sails freely, both with wind and stream.” Iago. If things turn out the way I plan, I will be successful.
“Tis pity of him I tear the trust Othello puts him in, on some odd time of his infirmity, will shake this island.” Iago to Montano about Othello. Iago worried that Othello trusts Cassio too much, and it’ll e mad for Cyprus to have an alcoholic as a lieutenant.
“Perhaps he sees it not, or his good nature prizes the virtue that appears in Cassio and looks not on his evils.” Montano to Iago about Cassio. Maybe the general never noticed his drinking problem, or maybe he wants to see the best in him.
“And we turned Turks, and to ourselves do that which heaven hath forbid the ottomites?” Othello to Cassio and Montano. How have we become as savage as the Turks, treating each other as badly as they would have treated us?
“He that shirs next to carve for his own rage holds his soul light: he des upon his motion.” Othello to Cassio and Montano. Whoever tries to fight again will die. Begins to show Othello’s violent side.
“What, in a town of war, yet while, the people’s heart brimful of fear, to manage private and domestic quarrel, in night and on the court and guard of safety? Othello to Montano and Cassio. We’re in a town that just avoided war, and you’re getting into fights while you’re supposed to be on guard duty? Exemplifies Othello’s violent nature.
“O, I have lost my reputation! I have lost the immortal part of myself, and what remains is bestial.” Cassio. He is upset that he had just gotten fired. Immortal vs. animalistic. Used to a higher class and being of high position, and since he’s out of his element eh feels like an animal.
“And what’s he then that says I play the villain, when this advice is free I give, and honest, probable to thinking, and indeed to win the Moor again?” Iago. How could he be the devil if he’s giving genuine, helpful advice and helping Cassio win the respect of Othello again?
“When devils will the lackest sins put on, they do suggest at first with heavenly shows as I do now.” Iago. When devils come up with evil plans, they put on an innocent face and do good like I am doing now. Emphasizes Iago’s inner devil.
“Ay, that’s the way; dull not device by coldness and delay.” Iago. Don’t ruin a plan by being slow to act.