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Flashcards in Act 2 quotations Deck (11)
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"The wind-shaked surge,..."

"The wind-shaked surge, with high and monstrous mane, seems to cast water on the burning bear." - Gentlemen 2

Act 2 scene 1

– There is much description of the sea in this scene in powerful and poetic imagery. Shakespeare is conveying the power, beauty and danger of the oceans to an audience who may never have experienced it, as well as conjuring an imaginary scene which does not require scenery. The stormy elements prefigure the disruption of the emotions that follows.


"our wars are done:..."

"Our wars are done: The desperate tempest hath so banged the Turks" - Gentleman 3

Act 2 Scene 1

– The loss of life among the Turkish sailors emphasises the danger of shipwrecks in a world where Othello is at home but Desdemona is not; this was part of his attraction to her.


'let the heavens...."

"let the heavens give him defense against the elements." - Cassio

Act 2 Scene 1

Cassio prays for Othello’s safety, portraying loyalty and affection towards Othello


"he hath achieved...."

"he hath achieved a maid that paragons description."- Cassio

Act 2 Scene 1

– In describing Desdemona, Cassio uses the extreme praise that was associated with a courtier paying homage to an unattainable object of devotion.


"That he may bless this bay....."

"That he may bless this bay .. bring all Cyprus comfort." - Cassio

Act 2 Scene 1

Cassio uses sexual imagery here and links Othello’s sexual fulfilment with the welfare of all Cyprus. This connects with a medieval idea that a whole country’s welfare depended on the health and strength of its monarch. See Chain of Being.


"grace of...."

"grace of heaven" - Desdemona

Act 2 scene 1

Desdemona is associated with lexis frequently connected with the Virgin Mary; her essential .. excellency echoing the Catholic doctrine of Mary’s freedom from original sin due to her own immaculate conception.


"She that was ever fair...."

She that was ever fair .. to suckle fools and chronicle small beer. – Iago

Act 2 Scene 1

Iago seems at last to be painting a sincere portrait of his ideal woman because he is speaking in rhyming couplets, an indication that this is a high point of the scene. That is until the last line, where he cynically concludes that no woman such as he has described has ever existed.


"discord .. tun’d ......"

"discord .. tun’d .. pegs .. music"- Iago

Act 2 Scene 1

Shakespeare uses an extended musical metaphor to convey that Iago will disrupt the ‘harmony’ of the lovers’ relationship by striking a discordant note.


"Her eye must be fed....."

"Her eye must be fed. And what delight shall she have to look on the devil?"- Iago

Act 2 Scene 1

Speaking prose, Iago states that Desdemona must grow tired of her husband as soon as they have had their sexual fulfilment and will then look for another man to mate with. He equates human love with gluttony and bestial lust, either to convince Roderigo or because he really believes it himself. Also biblical imagery.


" The Moor, howbeit....."

" The Moor, howbeit, that I endure him not, is of a constant, loving, noble nature."-Iago

Act 2 Scene 1

Iago here makes an honest appraisal of Othello’s genuine love for Desdemona, a fact that makes his planned treachery even more vile.


"For I fear Cassio...."

"For I fear Cassio with my night-cap too," - Iago suspects Cassio of sleeping in Iago’s bed (by implication, with Emilia) - Iago

Act 2 Scene 1

Iago suspects Cassio of sleeping in Iago’s bed (by implication, with Emilia)