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Othello Marriage Quotes

How we cite our quotes: Citations follow this format: (Act.Scene.Line). Line numbers correspond to the Norton edition.

Quote #10

EMILIA
O, who hath done this deed?
DESDEMONA
Nobody. I myself. Farewell.
Commend me to my kind lord. O, farewell. (5.2.151-153)

When Emilia asks Desdemona who has harmed her, Desdemona blames herself instead of holding Othello accountable. As we know, this isn't the first time Desdemona has been abused by her husband, who accuses her of cheating on him, slaps her in public, and calls her a "whore" – actions that culminate in Othello murdering Desdemona. We can't help but notice that Desdemona exhibits a classic symptom of "battered woman syndrome" – instead of telling Emilia the truth about Othello strangling her, she blames herself (and not her attacker) for the abuse she endures.

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