Happened to hear something on NPR last night that is probably one of those, "Oh sure, everybody knows that" things, but I'm pretty sure we've never actually discussed it here on the blog.
Desdemona, early in the play, talking about a daughter's obligation to her father:
My noble father,
I do perceive here a divided duty:
To you I am bound for life and education;
My life and education both do learn me
How to respect you; you are the lord of duty;
I am hitherto your daughter: but here's my husband,
And so much duty as my mother show'd
To you, preferring you before her father,
So much I challenge that I may profess
Due to the Moor my lord.
You know what I'm going to put it up against, right? Cordelia, early in the play, talking about a daughter's obligation to her father:
Good my lord,I'd never noticed how nearly identical those two speeches are. (As the NPR host noted, Othello productions are often so focused on the Iago/Othello relationship that Desdemona comes across as a "nothing" character, and I think I've typically felt the same way. And only now that I write it do I realize the irony in putting a "nothing" character up against Cordelia :))
You have begot me, bred me, loved me: I
Return those duties back as are right fit,
Obey you, love you, and most honour you.
Why have my sisters husbands, if they say
They love you all? Haply, when I shall wed,
That lord whose hand must take my plight shall carry
Half my love with him, half my care and duty:
Sure, I shall never marry like my sisters,
To love my father all.
I actually think that Desdemona scores a stronger point with "I'm only doing the exact same thing that Mom did when she married you."
|Maggie Smith as Desdemona to Sir Laurence Olivier's Othello|
Have I missed anybody?