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Othello Warfare Quotes

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

Quote #10

Soft you. A word or two before you go.
I have done the state some service, and they
   know 't.
No more of that. I pray you, in your letters,
When you shall these unlucky deeds relate,
Speak of me as I am. Nothing extenuate,
Nor set down aught in malice. 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; of one whose hand,
Like the base Judean, threw a pearl away
Richer than all his tribe; of one whose subdued
Albeit unused to the melting mood,
Drop tears as fast as the Arabian trees
Their medicinal gum. Set you down this.
And say besides, that in Aleppo once,
Where a malignant and a turbanned Turk
Beat a Venetian and traduced the state,
I took by the throat the circumcisèd dog,
And smote him, thus.                           [He stabs himself. ]

Here, Othello says he "loved" Desdemona "too well" (too much), which suggests that he doesn't really understand the implications of what he's done. We're also interested in the way Othello wants to control the way people think of him (after his death). He wants to be remembered as a soldier who "has done the state some service" and who has killed a lot of Venice's enemies. Yet, he also seems to think of his murder of Desdemona as a crime against the Venetian state, as he compares himself to a "turban'd Turk" by killing himself with the same sword he has used to smite Venice's enemies on the battlefield.

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