Shakespeare Othello 1 My Noble Father, I Essay

Length: 4 pages Subject: Race Type: Essay Paper: #32434433 Related Topics: Shakespeare, Othello, Midsummer Night S Dream, Social Stigma
Excerpt from Essay :


Othello (1)

My noble father,

I do perceive here a divided duty:

To you I am bound for life and education;

My life and education both do learn me

How to respect you; you are the lord of duty;

I am hitherto your daughter: but here's my husband,

And so much duty as my mother show'd

To you, preferring you before her father,

So much I challenge that I may profess

Due to the Moor my lord.

(Othello, Act 1, Scene iii, lines 179-188)

Desdemonda's character is defined early in Shakespeare's Othello. She plays a supportive role, allowing the nature of Othello's character to emerge clearly by the end of the play. Here, Desdemonda defends both herself and her husband. The passage tells the audience much about gender roles and norms in Elizabethan society, as Desdemonda speaks of her father as the "lord of duty," and refers to a similar "duty" to her husband. Women are defined in terms of their relationships with men, and not on their own terms or judged by the content of their own character. Instead, she must refer to herself and her mother in terms of their "divided duties" to first father, and then later, to husband. The husband takes the place of the father as one who "lords" over the woman. The perceived inferiority of women may indeed be one reason why Othello opts later to trust Iago more than Desdemonda; although Shakespeare does not delve too deeply into gender issues. Even if women did not enjoy full political and social parity, Desdemonda speaks with sufficient clarity and confidence, emphasizing her education while speaking with her father.

Even though Desdemonda is the speaker, this passage ultimately tells the audience as much if not more about the titular character Othello than about his wife. One of Othello's tragic flaws is his inability to discriminate between those he can and cannot trust. Desdemonda has no difficulty trusting those she loves, particularly her father and her husband. If Othello had trusted Desdemonda, and had been willing to put aside his petty pride, the outcome of the play might have been different.

Othello (2)

Haply for I am black,

And have not those soft parts of conversation

That chamberers have; or for I am declined

Into the vale of years -- yet that's not much

She's gone. I am abused, and my relief

Must be to loathe her. O curse of marriage,

That we can call these delicate creatures ours

And not their appetites! I had rather be a toad

And live upon the vapor of a dungeon

Than keep a corner in the thing I love

For others' uses. Yet 'tis the plague of great ones;

Prerogatived are they less than the base.

'Tis destiny unshunnable, like death.

(Othello, Act III, scene iii, lines 267 -- 279)

This passage shows how race and ethnicity are important themes in Shakespeare's Othello. Othello is portrayed as an outsider to mainstream Venetian society because he is a Moor. The attitudes toward him, held by most but those closest to him like Desdemonda, are colored by their prejudices and xenophobia. Desdemonda's father Brabanzio, for instance, reacts with disdain when he discovers who his daughter has chosen to marry, and...


This is why the marriage was revealed after the fact.

In this passage, Othello starts to internalize the racist stigmas that prevent him from being welcomed or taken seriously in Venetian society. Whereas Othello is full of confidence and bravado before this point, now he attributes his faults partially to his race: "for I am black," he states, "And have not these soft parts of conversation." Othello also shows that he is incapable of taking a personal assessment for his prideful behavior, instead choosing to blame factors beyond his control like being a Moor. It would be more fruitful if he took honest self-assessment, rather than fall pray to the same types of faulty logic that give rise to stereotyping.

Othello is also being highly melodramatic in this passage, forswearing all love because he has been led to believe that Desdemonda has cheated on him. Ironically, Othello is the one who has loved incompletely. Rather than confront his wife, giving her the benefit of the doubt, he opts to believe men who hate him. Othello is a poor judge of character, as this passage reveals. He is also prone to logical fallacies, false generalizations, and attribution error.

The Tempest (1)

Abhorred slave,

Which any print of goodness wilt not take,

Being capable of all ill! I pitied thee,

Took pains to make thee speak, taught thee each hour

One thing or other: when thou didst not, savage,

Know thine own meaning, but wouldst gabble like

A thing most brutish, I endow'd thy purposes

With words that made them known. But thy vile race,

Though thou didst learn, had that in't which good natures

Could not abide to be with; therefore wast thou

Deservedly confined into this rock,

Who hadst deserved more than a prison.

(The Tempest, Act I, scene ii, lines 352-361)

These lines are spoken by Prospero in Shakespeare's The Tempest. One of the themes of the play is colonial oppression, which is symbolized by the relationship between Prospero and his slaves Caliban and Ariel. This passage illustrates clearly the attitudes that Prospero has toward Caliban and Ariel. His attitude creates great resentment and anger in Caliban, who later plots to kill Prospero. Although Caliban is not successful in his plot, he does wreak some havoc on Prospero's life. Caliban is not an innocent character, as he rapes Miranda, but the "slave" is depicted with sympathy because of the way Prospero treats him. Later in the play, other characters like Trinculo think Caliban is strange but do not treat him like a slave.

Prospero reveals a lot about his character in this passage. He is an arrogant man, and is praising himself for his efforts in teaching Caliban how to speak. Prospero's obsession with books and learning is one of his core qualities; not typically a quality to be abhorred but in this case, representing cultural imperialism. After all, Prospero is racist, too. For him, Caliban is a "brute" who deserves nothing better than prison, whereas Prospero is an angel who took pity on this creature and civilized it. Prospero calls Caliban a member of a "vile race," and suggesting it was a miracle that he could learn anything at all.

It is the relationship between Caliban and Prospero that drives much of the action in The Tempest. This is the figurative tempest that complements the literal one that drove the boat ashore on the island. The play has a happy ending, as Prospero is restored to his position of power and restores Caliban and Ariel to theirs. Therefore, this passage shows how Prospero changes from the start to the finish of the play.

The Tempest (2)

Be not afeard; the isle is full of noises,

Sounds and sweet airs, that give delight, and hurt not.

Sometimes a thousand twangling instruments

Will hum about mine ears; and sometime voices,

That, if I then had waked after long sleep,

135 Will make me sleep again: and then, in dreaming,

The clouds methought would open, and show riches

Ready to drop upon me; that, when I waked,

I cried to dream again.

(The Tempest, Act II, scene ii, lines 30-38)

Caliban utters these unlikely words, revealing another side of his character. The audience has until now perceived Caliban as a righteously angry spirit who is imprisoned by an arrogant intellectual who believes himself spiritually and morally superior. Caliban has likely internalized some of what Prospero has said about him, but at the same time,…

Cite this Document:

"Shakespeare Othello 1 My Noble Father I" (2013, March 15) Retrieved July 4, 2022, from

"Shakespeare Othello 1 My Noble Father I" 15 March 2013. Web.4 July. 2022. <>

"Shakespeare Othello 1 My Noble Father I", 15 March 2013, Accessed.4 July. 2022,

Related Documents
Othello, the Villain, Iago, Is
Words: 3576 Length: 9 Pages Topic: Family and Marriage Paper #: 7142443

Moreover, when Desdemona's handkerchief goes missing, and Othello approaches her about it, clearly thinking that she has given it to Cassio, Desdemona does not suspect that Emilia has taken the handkerchief from her. Unfortunately for Desdemona, her trusting nature ends up being her fatal flaw. Othello becomes increasingly cruel to Desdemona throughout the course of the play. Although the audience is not aware of their entire romantic history, it appears

Othello -- a Man Who
Words: 750 Length: 2 Pages Topic: Sociology Paper #: 20814910

Othello is, indeed, unable to 'read' Iago fully, and is initially overly confident that his merit will transcend cultural barriers. By the end of the play, Othello has become so suspicious and twisted by racism that he is unrecognizable, even to himself: "Is this the / noble Moor whom our full senate/Call all in all sufficient?" asks one observer. (4.1) parallel situation for a Black athlete is not hard

Othello: Fool & Hero Every Shakespearean Hero
Words: 2982 Length: 7 Pages Topic: Drama - World Paper #: 92432158

Othello: Fool & Hero Every Shakespearean hero has his own unique qualities, whether those be virtue or savagery of the soul, a tragic turn to the character or a humorous nature. To some degree this may be altered and shaped by the play-actors. Othello, as a character, is a prime example of this. He may be seen, in differing productions, as a villainous and barbarous fellow and as a savage, or

Othello One of William Shakespeare's
Words: 1736 Length: 6 Pages Topic: Literature Paper #: 92718959

In the context of Othello, this is not such a reassuring notion because Othello and Iago represent the worst that man can be. The reality of this fact allows us to look upon Othello is disgust and with caution. These two men are known by their first names worldwide not because they are nice but because they are the farthest from it. They are human and they are evil

Shakespeare's Insistant Theme, Imagery, Use
Words: 1891 Length: 5 Pages Topic: Literature Paper #: 34796416

She's gone forever! / I know when one is dead, and when one lives; / She's dead as earth." (King Lear V.iii.256-260) Titus Andronicus is the central figure and tragic hero of the homonymous play by William Shakespeare. He is a General of Rome and father to Lavinia and Lucius. He is a brave solider of Rome who has spent the last ten years of his life fighting Rome's enemies.

William Shakespeare's Macbeth Introduction to
Words: 4155 Length: 12 Pages Topic: Mythology Paper #: 27566347

She declares that a man who snatches what he desires is actually a true man. Lady Macbeth burdens herself by seducing his husband into committing the murder afterall. Although, initially she has the strength and potential to deal with the task of abetting in a murder and thinks she will be able to forget all about it once she becomes the Scottish Queen but eventually conscience overpowers her vices. She