Othello, Act 4, Scene 3

This scene is setting us up or the dramatic climax in Act 5. The rising action has built up to an ominous crescendo, and this scene is full of foreshadowing.  It begins after Othello invites Lodovico for a walk, but not before ordering Desdemona to bed. Pay attention to the conversation between Desdemona and Emilia on marriage and fidelity.

  • How do their views differ?
  • What is the dramatic irony of Desdemona's idealistic stance?
  • What does the Willow song foreshadow?

To listen to the Willow song, visit the site below.

Literary Term: Dramatic irony, in literature, a plot device in which the audience’s or reader’s knowledge of events or individuals surpasses that of the characters.

Key Vocabulary:

1. beshrew [bih SHROO] - v. - to curse

I would beshrew anyone who is untrue to his word.

2. cuckold [KUH keld] - n. - a man whose wife is unfaithful

"You've made a cuckold of me," Raleigh said to his cheating wife.

3. palate [palət] - n. - the sense of taste; an intellectual taste or liking

The restaurant serves Korean food adapted for the American palate.