Shakespeare Quotes

So sweet was never so fatal

Othello:
One more, one more.
Be thus when thou art dead, and I will kill thee
And love thee after. One more, and that's the last.
So sweet was ne'er so fatal. I must weep,
But they are cruel tears. This sorrow's heavenly,
It strikes where it doth love.

Othello Act 5, scene 2, 17–22

In this gruesome scene, Othello smothers his wife with kisses as he prepares to smother her—for real—in her sleep. Though he imagines himself as an agent of heaven, he still has trouble bringing himself to avenge his wife's supposed adulteries. As it turns out, Othello has been massively deluded by the scheming Iago, who has built up a circumstantial case against the chaste Desdemona, a case the guileless and sexually anxious Moor has all too willingly swallowed.

What Othello means by "So sweet was never so fatal" is not entirely clear. Perhaps he thinks that Desdemona's very sweetness has brought about her own destruction, because it has led her into amatory affairs. Or perhaps he refers to his own kisses, full of tenderness yet at the same time a prelude to murder. In either case, a living Desdemona is too "sweet" for Othello to handle. He would prefer a motionless, statuelike Desdemona—fixed, passive, completely in his possession.

Themes: jealousy, misogyny

Speakers: Othello