Explain this part of this quotation from Othello?
Emilia:But he protests that he cares about you and needs no other plea than his regard for you-and
only the smallest excuse- to reinstate you.
note that this is the modern text of othello.
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Emilia speaks these likes to Cassio in Act III scene i. She is clarifying what she believes to be Othello’s opinion on the dismissal of Cassio, after his drunken antics caused Othello great embarrassment as the designated peacekeeper and defender of Cyprus. The original lines from the text are as follows-
The general and his wife are talking of it,
And she speaks for you stoutly. The Moor replies
That he you hurt is of great fame in Cyprus
And great affinity, and that in wholesome wisdom
He might not but refuse you; but he protests he loves you,
And needs no other suitor but his likings
To take the safest occasion by the front
To bring you in again.
Emilia explains that Othello’s decision to dismiss Cassio was really a diplomatic exercise, as he needed to show the authorities in Cyprus that he was firm in his command. She explains that the matter of his reinstatement was already being discussed between Desdemona and Othello, and she has spoken up for Cassio (which is of course part of Iago’s plan to discredit both Desdemona and Cassio). Emilia is also saying that Othello is simply looking for an appropriate occasion to recall Cassio when the political climate allows.
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