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Othello

Written: 1603-1604; Texts: Quarto 1622, First Folio 1623 (Tragedy)
SourceCinthio (Giovanni Battista Giraldi.1504-73). Hecatommithi (1565. No English translations found, therefore, Shakespeare probably read it either in Italian or French.) Book 2, 7th story of “Disdemona and the Moor”; Pliny, the Elder (23-79). Naturalia Historia (Philemon Holland's translation in 1601); Africanus, Leo. A Geographical History of Africa (English translation by John Pory, 1600)
Characters: IagoOthello, Desdamona, Emilia, Cassio, Brabantio, Roderigo, Lodovico, Duke of Venice
Setting: Venice, Cypress
Time: AD 1570 (when Cyprus was invaded by the Turks)

Xxx xxx

Iago and Ulysses on Order and Degree

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Ulysses and Iago express similar themes about order and degree. Iago speaks more specifically about seniority versus affections and recommendations.
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Better Angels

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The only mention in any of Shakespeare’s plays of the “better angel” is in Othello (5.2.235), when Gratiano, speaking over Desdemona’s body, speaks of her father:

Did he live now,
This sight would make him do a desperate turn,
Yea, curse his better angel from his side,

Shakespeare makes another mention of the “better angel”
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Keeping Adultery Hidden

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Whether in comedy or tragedy, Shakespeare’s characters advise the prudence of spouses, whether husbands or wives, of keeping their dalliances hidden. Luciana advises the man she thinks is her brother-in-law in Comedy of Errors to tell his wife, Luciano’s sister, nothing. Iago’s observation about the adulteries of Venetian women in Othello, is similar.
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Why, there’s no remedy

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Iago
Why, there’s no remedy. ‘Tis the curse of service.
Preferment goes by letter and affection,
And not by old gradation, where each second
Stood heir to th’ first. Now, sir, be judge yourself
Whether I in any just term am affined
To love the Moor.
Roderigo
I would not follow him, then.
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Zounds,  sir, you’re robbed

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Iago
Zounds,  sir, you’re robbed. For shame, put on your gown!
Your heart is burst. You have lost half your soul.
Even now, now, very now, an old black ram
Is tupping your white ewe. Arise, arise!
Awake the snorting citizens with the bell,
Or else the devil will make a grandsire of you.
Arise, I say!
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Act 1
Scene 1
Line 94

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Her father loved me, oft invited me

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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.
I ran it through, even from my boyish days
To th’ very moment that he bade me tell it,
Wherein I spoke of most disastrous chances:
Of moving accidents by flood and field,
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Act 1
Scene 2
Line 149

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Most potent, grave, and reverend signiors

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Othello
Most potent, grave, and reverend signiors,
My very noble and approved good masters:
That I have ta’en away this old man’s daughter,
It is most true; true I have married her.
The very head and front of my offending
Hath this extent, no more. Rude am I in my speech,
And little blessed with the soft phrase of peace;
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Act 1
Scene 3
Line 91

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I pray you hear her speak

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Brabantio
I pray you hear her speak.
If she confess that she was half the wooer,
Destruction on my head if my bad blame
Light on the man.—Come hither, gentle mistress.
Do you perceive in all this noble company
Where most you owe obedience?
Desdemona
My noble father,
I do perceive here a divided duty.
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Act 1
Scene 3
Line 202

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Most gracious duke, To my unfolding lend your prosperous ear

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Desdemona
Most gracious duke,
To my unfolding lend your prosperous ear
And let me find a charter in your voice
T’ assist my simpleness.
Duke
What would you, Desdemona?
Desdemona
That I love the Moor to live with him
My downright violence and storm of fortunes
May trumpet to the world.
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Act 1
Scene 3
Line 278

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At nine i’ th’ morning here we’ll meet again

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Duke
At nine i’ th’ morning here we’ll meet again.
Othello, leave some officer behind
And he shall our commission bring to you,
With such things else of quality and respect
As doth import you.
Othello
So please your Grace, my ancient.
A man he is of honesty and trust.
To his conveyance I assign my wife,
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Act 1
Scene 3
Line 316

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I will incontinently drown myself

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Roderigo
I will incontinently drown myself.
Iago
If thou dost, I shall never love thee after. Why,
thou silly gentleman!
Roderigo
It is silliness to live, when to live is torment,
and then have we a prescription to die when death is
our physician.
Iago
O, villainous!
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Act 1
Scene 3
Line 347

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Thus do I ever make my fool my purse

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Thus do I ever make my fool my purse.
For I mine own gained knowledge should profane
If I would time expend with such a snipe
But for my sport and profit. I hate the Moor,
And it is thought abroad that ‘twixt my sheets
‘Has done my office. I know not if ‘t be true,
But I, for mere suspicion in that kind,
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Act 1
Scene 3
Line 426

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What from the cape can you discern at sea?

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Montano
What from the cape can you discern at sea?
First Gentleman
Nothing at all. It is a high-wrought flood.
I cannot ‘twixt the heaven and the main
Descry a sail.
Montano
Methinks the wind hath spoke aloud at land.
A fuller blast ne’er shook our battlements.
If it hath ruffianed so upon the sea,
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Act 2
Scene 1
Line 1

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