room in the castle.

Enter OTHELLO, LODOVICO, DESDEMONA, EMILIA and Attendants

LODOVICO

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I do beseech you, sir, trouble yourself no further.

OTHELLO

O, pardon me: ’twill do me good to walk.

LODOVICO

Madam, good night; I humbly thank your ladyship.

DESDEMONA

Your honour is most welcome.

OTHELLO

Will you walk, sir?

O, — Desdemona,

DESDEMONA

My lord?

OTHELLO

Get you to bed on the instant; I will be returned forthwith: dismiss your attendant there: look it be done.

DESDEMONA

I will, my lord.

Exeunt OTHELLO, LODOVICO, and Attendants

EMILIA

How goes it now? he looks gentler than he did.

DESDEMONA

He says he will return incontinent:

He hath commanded me to go to bed,

And bade me to dismiss you.

EMILIA

Dismiss me!

DESDEMONA

It was his bidding: therefore, good Emilia,.

Give me my nightly wearing, and adieu:

We must not now displease him.

EMILIA

I would you had never seen him!

DESDEMONA

So would not I my love doth so approve him,

That even his stubbornness, his cheques, his frowns

Prithee, unpin me, — have grace and favour in them.

EMILIA

I have laid those sheets you bade me on the bed.

DESDEMONA

All’s one. Good faith, how foolish are our minds!

If I do die before thee prithee, shroud me

In one of those same sheets.

EMILIA

Come, come you talk.

DESDEMONA

My mother had a maid call’d Barbara:

She was in love, and he/she loved proved mad

And did forsake her: she had a song of ‘willow;’

An old thing ’twas, but it express’d her fortune,

And she died singing it: that song to-night

Will not go from my mind; I have much to do,

But to go hang my head all at one side,

And sing it like poor Barbara. Prithee, dispatch.

EMILIA

Shall I go fetch your night-gown?

DESDEMONA

No, unpin me here.

This Lodovico is a proper man.

EMILIA

A very handsome man.

DESDEMONA

He speaks well.

EMILIA

I know a lady in Venice would have walked barefoot to Palestine for a touch of his nether lip.

DESDEMONA

Singing The poor soul sat sighing by a sycamore tree,

Sing all a green willow:

Her hand on her bosom, her head on her knee,

Sing willow, willow, willow:

The fresh streams ran by her, and murmur’d her moans;

Sing willow, willow, willow;

Her salt tears fell from her, and soften’d the stones;

Lay by these:

Singing

Sing willow, willow, willow;

Prithee, hie thee; he’ll come anon:

Singing

Sing all a green willow must be my garland.

Let nobody blame him; his scorn I approve,-

Nay, that’s not next. — Hark! whois’t that knocks?

EMILIA

It’s the wind.

DESDEMONA

Singing I call’d my love false love; but what said he then?

Sing willow, willow, willow:

If I court moe women, you’ll couch with moe men!

So, get thee gone; good night Ate eyes do itch;

Doth that bode weeping?

EMILIA

‘Tis neither here nor there.

DESDEMONA

I have heard it said so. O, these men, these men!

Dost thou in conscience think, — tell me, Emilia,

That there be women do abuse their husbands

In such gross kind?

EMILIA

There be some such, no question.

DESDEMONA

Wouldst thou do such a deed for all the world?

EMILIA

Why, would not you?

DESDEMONA

No, by this heavenly light!

EMILIA

Nor I neither by this heavenly light;

I might do’t as well i’ the dark.

DESDEMONA

Wouldst thou do such a deed for all the world?

EMILIA

The world’s a huge thing: it is a great price.

For a small vice.

DESDEMONA

In troth, I think thou wouldst not.

EMILIA

In troth, I think I should; and undo’t when I had done. Marry, I would not do such a thing for a joint-ring, nor for measures of lawn, nor for gowns, petticoats, nor caps, nor any petty exhibition; but for the whole world, — why, who would not make her husband a cuckold to make him a monarch? I should venture purgatory for’t.

DESDEMONA

Beshrew me, if I would do such a wrong

For the whole world.

EMILIA

Why the wrong is but a wrong i’ the world: and having the world for your labour, tis a wrong in your own world, and you might quickly make it right.

DESDEMONA

I do not think there is any such woman.

EMILIA

Yes, a dozen; and as many to the vantage as would store the world they played for.

But I do think it is their husbands’ faults

If wives do fall: say that they slack their duties,

And pour our treasures into foreign laps,

Or else break out in peevish jealousies,

Throwing restraint upon us; or say they strike us,

Or scant our former having in despite;

Why, we have galls, and though we have some grace,

Yet have we some revenge. Let husbands know

Their wives have sense like them: they see and smell

And have their palates both for sweet and sour,

As husbands have. What is it that they do

When they change us for others? Is it sport?

I think it is: and doth affection breed it?

I think it doth: is’t frailty that thus errs?

It is so too: and have not we affections,

Desires for sport, and frailty, as men have?

Then let them use us well: else let them know,

The ills we do, their ills instruct us so.

DESDEMONA

Good night, good night: heaven me such uses send,

Not to pick bad from bad, but by bad mend!

Exeunt

Source:http://shakespeare.mit.edu/othello/full.html

Summary:

After dinner, Othello proposes to walk with Lodovico, and sends Desdemona to bed, telling her that he will be with her shortly and that she should dismiss Emilia. Desdemona seems aware of her imminent fate as she prepares for bed. She says that if she dies before Emilia, Emilia should use one of the wedding sheets for her shroud. As Emilia helps her mistress to undress, Desdemona sings a song, called “Willow,” about a woman whose love forsook her. She says she learned the song from her mother’s maid, Barbary, who died singing the song after she had been deserted by her lover. The song makes Desdemona think about adultery, and she asks Emilia whether she would cheat on her husband “for all the world” (IV.iii.62). Emilia says that she would not deceive her husband for jewels or rich clothes, but that the whole world is a huge prize and would outweigh the offense. This leads Emilia to speak about the fact that women have appetites for sex and infidelity just as men do, and that men who deceive their wives have only themselves to blame if their wives cheat on them. Desdemona replies that she prefers to answer bad deeds with good deeds rather than with more bad deeds. She readies herself for bed.

Source:http://www.sparknotes.com/shakespeare/othello/section8.rhtml

Analysis

Emilia clearly recognizes that something is very wrong, but Desdemona’s mind is consumed with the issue of her husband’s love. She is so much in love with him that she is incapable of telling if his love is lost or is yet to be recovered. Desdemona has responded to this disaster with the submissiveness to grief, as was the tradition of the deserted women. On the other hand, Othello, having thoughts that he no longer has the love and fidelity of Desdemona, responds with hostile passions of claims and hostility.

Desdemona narrates the tale of Barbary, maid to her mother, and her sad destiny. “She was in love, and he/she lov’dprov’d mad, / And did forsake her: she had a song of ‘willow,’ / An old thing @’twas, but it express’d her fortune, / And she died singing it” (27-30). Barbary and Desdemona are quite alike in various ways; the maid of her mother is something like her mother’s daughter, a girl under the safety and care of her mother. This is actually only instant when Desdemona talks of her mother, and she does this in a far-away pat, as if she were no more. Her mother does not contribute in the story of the courtship and eventual marriage to Othello. Desdemona acts and speaks like an independent woman, who assumes full responsibility of her choices.

Not only are Barbary and Desdemona not alone in their grief, but are both connected with strangers. The name “Barbary” stands for “foreigner.” Desdemona got married to a stranger that was referred to some as a barbarian, which is an uncivilized stranger. The marriage is expressed by Iago as that between “an erring barbarian and a super-subtle Venetian”(I.3, 355-356).

The “Willow Song” is sang by Desdemona, and in this indirect manner, she encounters the actual likelihood that Othello is going insane and shall abandon her, leaving her to die with heart break. The “Willow Song” is an old song, present in numerous versions before its inclusion in the play by Shakespeare. In the song, it is the male lover that is wrong and the reason behind the crying of the poor woman. The mood absolutely…

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