Please analyse Othello's final speech from Othello: "Soft you, a word..."

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durbanville eNotes educator| Certified Educator

The theme of honor and how appearances can be deceiving is emphasized during Othello's final speech in Othello. Believing himself "an honorable murderer" (V.ii.298)because he killed Desdemona believing he was saving her from herself and able to "they former light restore"(9), Othello is desperate to ensure that his efforts are not misunderstood.

Othello is proud of his military achievements and the state knows he has served it well and this must be taken into consideration when relating "these unlucky deeds." Othello blames his passion as he loves "too well" and now understands that his jealousy, "being wrought," is responsible for his inability to think rationally. There is no need, he feels to lie and he does recognize that, especially as a foreigner, he has behaved like a "base Indian" not worthy of his status and he has discarded "a pearl...richer than all his tribe."

The remorse Othello feels is reflected in his crying "tears as fast as the Arabian trees" but, for him there is no cure or "med'cinable gum." The best he can do, having basically betrayed  or "traduc'd" the state is to have "beat a Venetian" (Iago) and ultimately to kill himself to preserve his honor.

The fact that he refers to himself in the third person reinforces  Othello's belief that this end and this behavior is not reflective of his real self but, due to being "perplexed in the extreme" by Iago's lies, reveals Othello's confused concept of honor and the "code" by which he had thought all military men - including Iago - would live by.