Every masterpiece or a literary piece has unique quotations expressing universal themes. These quotes are often quoted by all and sundry in ordinary conversation and specific writings, speeches and addresses. In Shakespeare’s literary works many phrases and sentences have achieved universality for their honesty. Some of the most popular quotations from Shakespeare’s Othello have been explained below.
Quotes in Othello
“But I will wear my heart upon my sleeve
For daws to peck at: I am not what I am.”
(Act 1 Scene 1)
These are the words of Iago in the first scene. Iago is showing his true deceptive nature, saying he would never expose his true emotions. ‘Wearing one’s heart upon one’s sleeve’ means to be honest at all times. However, Iago doesn’t do that because he knows, anyone can easily cause him harm. He pretends to stay loyal to Othello and deceives him as he doesn’t believe that he is Othello’s servant. The irony is that he is warning Roderigo that his not a good person and can deceive him as well.
“Even now, now, very now, an old black ram
Is tupping your white ewe.”
(Act 1 Scene 1)
Iago speaks these lines when he visits Brabantio to inform him that his daughter Desdemona has secretly married Othello. He uses a racial slur to provoke the jealousy and racial prejudice of Brabantio against Othello. Othello is a Moorish general in the Venetian army, perhaps from North Africa. Hence in those days, the discrimination was strong against the black people. Iago tells Brabantio that Othello is the “black ram” is having sexual relations with his daughter “white ewe.” It shows that Iago is using racial discrimination to create opinion against Othello to cause his downfall.
“She wished she had not heard it, yet she wished
That heaven had made her such a man.”
(Act 1 Scene 3)
These are the words of Othello in the third scene when he appears before the duke after he is accused of witchcraft to woo Desdemona. He further explains how Desdemona has fallen in love with him because of his bravery and adventurous nature. This quote also means that Othello believes that Desdemona had wished to God to find a man like Othello for her, a man of great virtues.
“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.”
(Act 1 Scene 3)
Desdemona speaks these words to her father when he comes to warn about her marriage. Here, she maintains the love and respect she holds for him and also defends Othello. True to her heart, she tells her father that she owes him a lot on account of her life and education. However, as she is now Othello’s wife, she is loyal to him. This shows her love for Othello. This quote also means that parents are responsible for children’s education while they are young. Once a child is an adult, they must treat them like one and let them take their own decision.
“Our bodies are our gardens, to the which our wills are gardeners.”
(Act 1 scene 3)
Iago speaks these words in the third scene. Being the chief manipulator and conspirator, he rejects the idea that the character of a person shows his personality. He instead says that it can be molded into any form through training and willpower. The quote also expresses the inner meaning of free will, as Iago sows the seeds of doubts in Othello and tells that if we have willpower, we can achieve anything.
“Put money in thy purse.”
(Act 1 Scene 3)
These are the words of Iago when he meets Roderigo, the self-proclaimed lover of Desdemona. He asks Roderigo to pay him more money so that he could go to Cyprus to make Desdemona hate Othello and love Roderigo. Despite knowing Iago’s cunning nature of minting money, Roderigo is ready to sell his land to pay him more money.
“If after every tempest come such calms,
May the winds blow till they have wakened death!”
(Act 2 Scene 1)
These are the loving words of Othello. He is addressing Desdemona as they are sailing through the sea. He says that if there is a calm after every storm, then let the waves bring more stormy weather until he dies. It is because he is with his beloved, Desdemona, and death is very dear to him in her companionship.
“Reputation, reputation, reputation! O, I have lost my reputation! I have lost the immortal part of myself, and what remains is bestial.”
(Act 2 Scene 3)
Cassio utters these words when he is involved in a brawl with Roderigo. He finds himself demoted. Here he meets Iago and tells him that he has lost his reputation due to this brawl. It is the reputation that makes a person a good main, or else he is just an animal without reputation. In other words, he means that a person becomes a great one with the fame and the opposite without reputation. In fact, following his demotion, he feels that his reputation has declined.
“O, beware, my lord, of jealousy:
It is the green-eyed monster which doth mock
The meat it feeds on.”
(Act 3 Scene 3)
Iago speaks these lines to Cassio when he is leaving Desdemona’s home. Iago senses that he has not met Othello. Therefore, it is a golden opportunity that he can use jealousy of Othello against Cassio. This will lead Othello to doubt Desdemona for cheating. Iago says that this jealousy is a monster that grows bigger if it is continuously fed with more doubts. It also means that jealousy increases if more doubt is expressed on the existing issue. Here the actual issue is the supposed affair of Cassio with Desdemona.
“I kissed thee ere I killed thee: no way but this,
Killing myself, to die upon a kiss.”
(Act 5 scene 2)
These are the last words of Othello after killing Desdemona. He says that he has kissed before killing her. Now, he is dying as he kisses her. Perhaps he also believes that if he had not loved her and kissed her, she would not have been killed. In other words, it proves that Othello’s final kiss was a kiss of death for Desdemona just before he smothers her with a pillow.