Act 5, Scene 2 Flashcards Preview

A Level English Literature - Othello > Act 5, Scene 2 > Flashcards

Flashcards in Act 5, Scene 2 Deck (27)
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A5, S2: Othello: "Yet I'll not shed her blood, / Nor scar that whiter skin of hers than snow, / And smooth as monumental alabaster"

- Othello still thinks Desdemona is beautiful and doesn't want to harm her, or perhaps doesn't want to harm her in a way that is outwardly obvious in order to assuage his guilt
- Alabaster is a stone used to figures on tombs, and snow has connotations of coldness as well as winter imagery implying death


A5, S2: Othello: "Yet she must die, else she'll betray more men"

Believes he has a moral duty, showing he does not kill her for vengeance, and it almost seems as though he is playing some sort of God. Feminist idea that women are femme fatales and female sexuality is a danger


A5, S2: Othello: "Put out the light, and then put out the light"

The candle is a symbol of her life, and he puts out both prematurely. He also doesn't want to see her, and doesn't feel anyone should, linking into the theme of light and dark


A5, S2: Othello: "If I quench thee, thou flaming minister, / I can again thy former light restore, / Should I repent me"

Religious, Christian images - contrast with his immorality. Idea that if he kills her she will return to her old "light". He uses lots of images to refer to Desdemona in order to distance himself from her as a person


A5, S2: Othello: "I know not where is that Promethean heat"

Link to Prometheus's sacrifice in mythology, but also implies there is no way for him to 'relight' Desdemona (despite the idea of 'restoring her former light'), showing that he does realise how monumental and irreversible what he is doing is


A5, S2: Othello: "When I have pluck'd the rose"

Image of chastity and love, suggesting that underneath he knows she is pure and there is a part of his subconscious that has not fully internalised Iago's message, as this image undermines his position and shows his conflict


A5, S2: Othello: "I must weep. / But they are cruel tears"

Doesn't want to cry, implying that he is committing to actions that he doesn't want to


A5, S2: Othello: "This sorrow's heavenly"

Oxymoron shows his conflict


A5, S2: Othello: "Have you prayed tonight, Desdemon?"

Wants her to be able to reconcile any sins so she doesn't go to hell - evidence of some residual empathy towards her?


A5, S2: Desdemona: "Alas, why gnaw you so your nether lip? / Some bloody passion shakes your very frame"

Shows his unusual body language which tips her off


A5, S2: Othello: "Thou dost stone my heart, / And mak'st me call what I intend to do / A murder which I thought a sacrifice"

Unhappy with the fact she will not confess, as it does not allow him to kill her guiltlessly as he had hoped


A5, S2: Desdemona: "Send for him hither. / Let him confess a truth"

Desdemona poses rational resistance to Othello


A5, S2: Desdemona: "While I say but one prayer"

Shows the importance of religion to her - foregrounds her moral goodness


A5, S2: Desdemona: "Nobody. I myself. Farewell. / Commend me to my kind lord. O farewell."

Desdemona does not blame Othello when Emilia asks her what has happened and makes no attempt to seek justice. She is actually more interested in making Othello see the truth about her reputation.


A5, S2: Emilia: "She was too fond of her most filthy bargain"

Speaks almost spitefully about Desdemona and Othello's marriage, and implies that Desdemona being too passive in the face of Othello was the cause of her downfall, reiterating her cynical views about love and marriage, again not for her own self gain.


A5, S2: Emilia: "Thou hast killed the sweetest innocent / That e'er did lift up eye"

Not afraid to stand up to Othello, defying gender roles to do so (she also stands up to Iago in this passage), in a way that further foregrounds Desdemona's moral goodness


A5, S2: Othello: "Are there no stones in heaven / But what serve for the thunder? Precious villain!"

Old-fashioned belief, even for the time, which shows his backwardness. It shows his realisation that he does not live in an age where heroes and villains and obvious and clear-cut and how easily he was duped by Iago, and how he wishes he could've seen and realised what was happening more easily


A5, S2: Othello: "Behold. I have a weapon / A better never did itself sustain / Upon a soldier's thigh"

Speaks in terms of military lexis. This implies in particular the conflict between his military background and his relationship and how they cannot coexist as they are fundamentally different


A5, S2: Othello:"Who can control his fate?"

Idea of inevitability and Othello's inability to control his fate - progression of a tragedy


A5, S2: Othello: "Here is my journey's end, here is my butt, / And the very sea-mark of my utmost sail"

Awareness of his death, but he speaks about it in military terms - reinforces earlier ideas, but also shows a sense of anagnorisis


A5, S2: Othello: "Man but a rush against Othello's breast, / And he retires. Where should Othello go?"

Refers to himself in 3rd person, almost reifying himself because of his internalised objectification, as well as showing his insanity


A5, S2: Othello: "O ill-starred wench!"

Projects his own guilt onto the concept of fate itself, indicating he cannot fully accept the blame due to his lack of self-awareness


A5, S2: Othello: "From the possession of this heavenly sight. / Blow me about in winds. Roast me in sulphur. Wash me in steep-down gulfs of liquid fire"

Hellish imagery, showing he believes he deserves his hellish fate, emphasised by the contrast of heaven and hell


A5, S2: Othello: "I have done the state some service, and they know't. / No more of that"

Like what he has said back in Act 1 as this was a way he has used before to get them to listen to him, as he has taught himself as a thing to be used and that he is only valued while he is useful to the state, however he abandons this


A5, S2: Othello: "Then must you speak / Of one that loved not wisely but too well; / Of one, not easily jealous, but being wrought / Perplexed in the extreme"

Admits his gullibility and naivety, showing he is too simple for the cunning and manipulative ways of Venetian society as he is not duplicitous in anyway. Shakespeare uses this to criticise Venetian society by showing the psychological effect of being an outsider because of how Othello has been treated because of his race, but may also be a slightly racist point about how he cannot understand because he isn't white.
May also reference how his marriage to Desdemona was unwise because of how society would view it and how the state would react


A5, S2: Othello: "Of one whose hand, / Like the base Indian, threw a pearl away / Richer than all his tribe"

"Whose hand" suggests there is an outside agency controlling his hand, rather than it being his fault directly. He also compares himself to another racial outsider, showing his internalised inferiority and how he judges himself by European standards


A5, S2: Othello: "Where a malignant and turbaned Turk / Beat a Venetian and traduced the state, / I took by th'throat the circumcised dog / And smote him this"

Othello wants to be thought of as a war hero, so he ends his speech with a story of how he saved Venice