Othello Quotes Act 4

“To kiss in private?” “Or to be naked with her friend in bed?” Act 4 Scene 1 Iago: Shakespeare immediately establishes the scene by portraying Iago as taunting Othello. Now Othello has been truly deceived by Iago, and his goading is torturing Othello mentally to the point of madness.
“A doth the raven o’er the infected house Boding to all! – he had my handkerchief” Act 3 Scene 1 Othello: Once again links to the Elizabethan context of the play, the fear of death from illnesses such as the black death was a common feeling as it would kill tens of thousands of civilians during the worst epidemics. The fact that Shakespeare refers to “the raven”, a common symbol and omen of death as they would often circle those to be executed in the tower of London, hence foreshadowing the following deaths to come in Act 5.”
“Lie with her? Lie on her? We say lie with her when they belie her.” “Zounds” “Handkerchief – confessions – handkerchiefs” Act 4 Scene 1 Othello: When Othello begins to see himself and his wife through Iago’s eyes and is corrupted by Iago’s idiom, his stately style begins to break down. At his lowest point, just before he falls to the ground in an epileptic fit, Othello’s words convey his agitation. There are a number of points to be made about this breakdown. Firstly, Othello’s fractured sense of self is conveyed through the lexis and syntax. Previously the hero spoke of himself in the first and third person (their usage conveyed his nobility and status as hero); now his use of pronouns ‘we’, ‘they’, ‘his’, ‘I’, ‘me’ suggests insecurity. His use of questions suggests this too. Othello’s identity is threatened because he no longer feels he ‘knows’ his wife; he cannot trust her looks and words. There is a terrible irony in the fact that Othello declares “‘It is not words that shake me thus'”; the events of the play and the violence of his outburst here suggest that words are the cause of Othello’s destruction. Note the use of disjointed prose rather than measured verse: reason has given way to passion. Othello has also begun to use oaths (“‘zounds!'”) which are associated with Iago, suggesting not only the ensign’s power as a speaker, but also his ability to influence and control the powers of speech of others. Right at the end of this speech we struggle to make any sense of Othello’s words (“‘Pish! Noses, ears and lips. Is’t possible? / Confess? handkerchief? O devil!'”). These lines suggest the hero’s degradation and degeneration.
“Work on my medicine, work!” “My lord has fallen into an epilepsy” Act 4 Scene 1: This quote truly highlights the intelligence of Iago’s Machiavellain qualities as although “medicine” creates connotations of healing, diagnosis and prevention of diseases, linguistically Iago is able to manipulate this meaning to portray his “medicine” as a negative tangible object that is slowly corrupting Othello’s mind.
“He falls into a trance” Act 4 Scene 1 Othello: Othello has a seizure on stage, preceded by extreme emotional agitation, thus raising the issue of whether emotions can trigger seizures. After this seizure, Iago points out to Cassio that he should leave because, after lethargy and confusion, Othello will act “with savage madness.” Finally, Shakespeare portrays Othello killing his wife while in a rage. Even Desdemona supports the idea that he must be in the midst of a seizure. Othello is clearly overwhelmed and distraught by the insinuations Iago makes when he suggests that Desdemona might have slept with Cassio.
“Aside” “Now he importunes her” “Now he denies it faintly” Act 4 Scene 1: Othello’s jealousy has blinded him to the truth, and his myopia can be seen through the fact that he overlooks Iago’s reference to Bianca’s name and the true meaning of their dialogue together. His clouded judgment can then, it could be argued, result in his tragic downfall. Furthermore, the fact that on stage Othello could be depicted as hiding behind a pillar or even underneath a table reveals the extent that he has degraded himself physically. No longer is he this highly respected war hero as he has foolishly degraded himself as hiding underneath or behind difference stage props and settings.
“How shall I murder him Iago?” “let her rot and perish” “I will chop her into messes” “Get me some poison” Act 4 Scene 1 Othello: Othello’s declarations of murder at this point in the play reveal the stark brutality of his character. Shakespeare presents the audience with hideously graphic ruminations od how she could die including “rot”, “hang”, “chop” and “poison”. The audience is left to no doubt the violence of Othello’s thoughts and feelings. The word “chop” contrasts greatly to his previous exclamation of his desire to “tear” Desdemona, as the verb has a much more methodical undertones suggesting deliberate actions as it involves the premeditated acquisition of a knife, in contrast to a more spontaneous desire to “tear” her (with his hands).
“Devil” “[he strikes her]” Act 4 Scene 1 Othello: the pity felt for Desdemona is enhanced further when Othello “strikes her”. For the audience, the experience of witnessing Desdemona, a symbol of innocence, virtue and purity, being hit would be arresting. It is likely the sound of the physical assault would be equally uncomfortable, with the audience left stupefied into derisive silence by the act. They like Desdemona, cannot put a halt to the tragic proceedings of the play. Furthermore, the fact that Othello has allowed his abuse to be removed from the private sphere (clandestine, with Iago) demonstrates how inflated and overwhelmed his jealousy has become,
“I have not deserved this” “Truly an obedient lady” Act 4 Scene 1 Desdemona & Lodovico: It is painful for the audience to see Desdemona try to understand her husbands fury as she remains the personification of innocence and purity. Lots of critics take issue with her passivity here, believing she is too meek, too accepting in the face of this very public humiliation, but I see her response here as quite dignified. She is utterly baffled and so she withdraws to gather her thoughts and to hide her shame.
“My lord, this would not be believed in Venice, Though I should swear I saw it” Act 4 Scene 2 Lodovico: By this point this audience is already highly aware of the fact that Othello is a highly esteemed and respected war hero because of the continuous use of epithets such as “valiant Othello”, nevertheless here Othello’s reputation which he has built for himself is slowly becoming disintegrated and destroyed as a result of his behavior. Iago is successful in his attempts to unjustly blacken his name, as Othello falls victim to Iago’s manipulation and own jealous rage. As we witnessed previously with Cassio’s plaintive wails “Reputation, reputation” I have lost my reputation”, a modern audience come to understand the extent that reputation was relevant in Venetian civilized society, thus the height from which Othello has fallen Is even greater.
“She can turn and turn, and yet go on” Act 4 Scene 1 Othello: Dramatic irony is being used by Othello’s continuous repition of the word “obedience”, however from the perspective of the audience it is tragic to see Othello use such a word in such a sarcastic and bitter tone when in reality, she would have truly been the epitome of “obedience” to a Jacobean audience. His humiliation but also enjoyment of this humiliation shows the cruel man he has become, as the sadistic way it could be portrayed on stage how he physically make Desdemona perform, turning her around on play, would be uncomfortable to watch.
“Your are welcome sir to Cyprus. Goats and Monkeys!” Act 4 Scene 1 Othello: References again to the setting of the play, and the corrupt nature of the island. The exotic, barbaric and animalistic qualities of “Goats and monkeys” that are usually associated with Cyprus differ greatly to Venice, Othello’s reference to “goats and monkeys” in Shakespeare’s play is a sign that his mind is beginning to break down.
“I am sorry that I am deceived in him” Act 4 Scene 1 Othello: Iago has managed to circumvent the blame from himself to Othello, tragically portraying him a victim of events out of his control. Extremely tragic that such highly influential and respected Ventian diplomats now regard him in a negative esteem.
“I durst my lord, to wager she is honest” Act 4 Scene 2 Emilia: Desdemona’s innocence is once again reiterated through Emilia, but even despite this Othello’s clouded judgment and myopia prevents him from seeing the truth. Reveals the extent that Othello is lost beyond any hope.
“This is a subtle w***e” “Your wife my lord, your true and loyal wife” Act 4 Scene 2 Othello: Throughout the play there are regular exploitations of women, despite Emilia’s and Desdemona’s innocence they are still being depicted as the opposite. Othello’s language has completely changed he is not only under the influence and control of Iago but he has not begun to speak and act like him. He no longer believes anyone is as they appear to be using such vulgarities “*****” and “villainous” to describe his wife. This further heightens the tragedy for the audience as he is finally addressing the situation on his own, but tragically is no longer able to discriminate the truth from lies.