Die Heuning Pot Literature Guide
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Quotes

Quote #7

IAGO
The Moor already changes with my poison.
Dangerous conceits are, in their natures, poisons.
Which at the first are scarce found to distaste,
But with a little act upon the blood.
Burn like the mines of Sulphur. I did say so:
Look, where he comes!
Not poppy, nor mandragora,
Nor all the drowsy syrups of the world,
Shall ever medicine thee to that sweet sleep
Which thou owedst yesterday. (3.3.33)

Iago realizes the unbelievable power of jealousy. Here, he claims that he has poisoned Othello's mind by suggesting Desdemona may be up to something naughty. Because Iago has succeeded in making Othello suspicious, Othello will never, ever have a good night of sleep again, not even if he used the best sleeping medicine in the world.

Quote #8

EMILIA
Pray heaven it be state-matters, as you think,
And no conception nor no jealous toy
Concerning you.
DESDEMONA
Alas the day! I never gave him cause.
EMILIA
But jealous souls will not be answer'd so;
They are not ever jealous for the cause,
But jealous for they are jealous: 'tis a monster
Begot upon itself, born on itself.
DESDEMONA
Heaven keep that monster from Othello's mind! (3.4.3)

Emilia understands the nature of jealousy. Here, she points out that jealous husbands like Othello never really need any cause to be jealous – they just are jealous. What's interesting about this passage is the way Emilia explains that jealousy is like a "monster / begot on itself, born on itself." In other words, jealousy is generated out of nothing and multiplies or reproduces by feeding on itself. Compare Emilia's description of jealousy to what Iago has to say about bringing his "monstrous birth" to light in 1.3.12, above.

Quote #9

DESDEMONA
Where should I lose that handkerchief, Emilia?
EMILIA
I know not, madam.
DESDEMONA
Believe me, I had rather have lost my purse
Full of crusadoes: and, but my noble Moor
Is true of mind and made of no such baseness
As jealous creatures are, it were enough
To put him to ill thinking.
EMILIA
Is he not jealous?
DESDEMONA
Who, he? I think the sun where he was born
Drew all such humours from him. (3.4.7)

Desdemona is frantic when she discovers she's lost her handkerchief, as it was a meaningful gift from her husband. What's interesting is that poor Desdemona has no idea how her husband will react – she says Othello isn't the jealous type so there's no need to worry. According to her, Othello's "true of mind" and much too "noble" to stoop to "such baseness."

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