Reading Shakespeare is rough, to say the least, but today I’ll be No-Fear Shakespeare for this section of Act I, Scene II of Othello.
Enter BRABANTIO, RODERIGO, and OFFICERS with torches and weapons.
OTHELLO. Holla! stand there!
RODERIGO. Signior, it is the Moor.
BRABANTIO. Down with him, thief! They draw on both sides.
IAGO. You, Roderigo! Come, sir, I am for you.
OTHELLO. Keep up your bright swords, for the dew will rust them. Good signior, you shall more command with years Than with your weapons.
BRABANTIO. O thou foul thief, where hast thou stow’d my daughter? Damn’d as thou art, thou hast enchanted her; For I’ll refer me to all things of sense, If she in chains of magic were not bound, Whether a maid so tender, fair and happy, So opposite to marriage that she shunned The wealthy curled darlings of our nation, Would ever have, to incur a general mock, Run from her guardage to the sooty bosom Of such a thing as thou, to fear, not to delight. Judge me the world, if ’tis not gross in sense That thou hast practiced on her with foul charms, Abused her delicate youth with drugs or minerals That weaken motion: I’ll have’t disputed on; ’Tis probable and palpable to thinking. I therefore apprehend and do attach thee For an abuser of the world, a practicer Of arts inhibited and out of warrant. Lay hold upon him: if he do resist, Subdue him at his peril.
OTHELLO. Hold your hands, Both you of my inclining, and the rest: Were it my cue to fight, I should have known it Without a prompter. Where will you that I go To answer this your charge?
BRABANTIO. To prison, till fit time Of law and course of direct session Call thee to answer.
OTHELLO. What if I do obey? How may the duke be therewith satisfied, Whose messengers are here about my side, Upon some present business of the state To bring me to him?
FIRST OFFICER. ’Tis true, most worthy signior; The duke’s in council and your noble self, I am sure, is sent for.
BRABANTIO. How! the duke in council! In this time of the night! Bring him away: Mine’s not an idle cause: the duke himself, Or any of my brothers of the state, Cannot but feel this wrong as ’twere their own; For if such actions may have passage free, Bond-slaves and pagans shall our statesmen be.
So to begin, here are the words and phrases that I wasn’t quite sure about the definition.
1) Guardage: guardianship 2) Gross in sense: obvious 3) Weaken motion: interfere with the senses 4) Do attach thee: arrest you 5) Direct session: court trial
After Rodrigo and Iago inform Brabantio that his daughter, Desdemona, has run away to elope with Othello, a Moor, Brabantio confronts Othello about his missing daughter and accuses him of using witchcraft to steal his innocent daughter away from him. Ordering his men to arrest Othello and send him to jail, Brabantio is displeased to learn that the Duke had summoned Othello to discuss matters of the state with him. The group proceed to the council hall, where Brabantio plans to plead his case with the Duke.
ANALYSIS & FIGURES OF SPEECH
Othello responds to the sudden appearance of Brabantio and his men with drawn swords by asking them to “Keep up your bright swords, for the dew will rust them.” Despite being a great warrior, this reaction portrays Othello as calm and poised, a sharp contrast against the raging Venetians who claim that Othello is a monster and an evil Moor. Brabantio persuades himself that Othello has “enchanted” his daughter with “drugs and minerals”; the element of supernatural depicts just how against the idea of his daughter leaving him for a Moor Brabantio is, so much that he would accuse Othello of witchcraft and forget his common sense. After learning that the Duke has summoned Othello to appear before the council, Brabantio goes as well, so entrenched in his belief that Othello’s and Desdemona’s marriage is unholy and bizarre that he claims that “if such actions may have passage free, Bond-slaves and pagans shall our statesmen be.” That Brabantio would compare his councilmen to pagans and bond-slaves if they agreed to the marriage demonstrates his desperation and absolute disbelief of his daughter’s actions.