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A Closed Reading Of Othello's Speech

1456 words - 6 pages

Othello is a man who is respected as a General in the Army. Brabanzio even considered him a friend. Thanks to Iago planting a seed in Brabanzio ear about his daughter, Desdemona, Brabanzio accused Othello of taking his daughter away from him by means of drugs or poision. Othello has fought on the battle-field and now finds himself on a very different kind of battle-field. He finds himself in a position of being forced to defend his honor, friendship and his love. There has been accusations made against Othello, so in a room filled with signors, masters, the Duke, and Brabanzio, Othello has a strategy of battlement in his own way. He tells the Duke to send for Desdemona, “Send for the lady to the Sagittary, And let her speak of me before her father” (1.3-115-116).
Othello speaks to the Duke when he says, “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” (1.3-128-130). Here Othello is talking to the Duke, yet also talking to Brabanzio reminding him of their friendship. The Duke seems to be the acting mediator between Othello and Brabanzio. Othello is also using a good tactical maneuver by not losing his temper and staying as calm and truthful as possible. This is one of the things that make Othello a good General. He is trying to calm the situation and discuss the charges like men should do. Another thing that makes Othello a good General is his ability to think things through before reacting.
Othello continues on to tell his story to the Duke, while reminding Brabanzio that he already knows the story. Othello says to the Duke, “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, o hair-breadth scapes I’th’ imminent deadly breach, Of being taken by the insolent foe And sold to slavery, of my redemption thence, And portance in my traveller’s history Wherein of antres vast and deserts idle, Rough quarries, rocks, and hills whose heads touch heaven, It was my hint to speak” (1.3 -131-141). This is the first time the Duke has heard this story and Othello is saying that Brabanzio already knew of it. While continuing to remain calm, Othello is using yet another tactic of truth to remind Brabanzio that his loyalty is pure. The signors and masters are also hearing the story for the first time and are surprised of what they are hearing. Othello is trying to tell them his story in the same manner in which he had told Desdemona and to her father, Brabanzio. If the story was good enough to win Brabanzio’s affection of friendship then why isn’t it good enough for the love of his daughter? Brabanzio’s problem with Othello isn’t his past, but what nationality he is. Brabanzio is a man who doesn’t mind being friends with a black man, but he would never consent to his daughter marrying one. Earlier in the play Othello has told...

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