What is the explanation of this quotation from 'Othello'?
Yet this is the curse of honorable Prerogativ'd are they less than the base.
Tis destiny unshunnable like death.
Even then this forked plague is fated to us when e do quicken.
Note that this is the modern text of 'Othello'.
These lines appear in Act III scene iii, where Iago has begun to propagate the seeds of doubt as to Desdemona’s fidelity. Othello remains resolute that he will not fall prey to the ‘green-eyed monster’ of jealousy, but already we see that he is disturbed by the insinuations of ‘honest Iago’.
Othello speaks these words in a soliloquy at the end of the scene. He is explaining that men such as himself, with power and influence, are limited in their choices and actions because of the status they have. He is saying that he is fated to be driven down a certain path because of his high birth.
These ideals are part of the expectation of the downfall of a true tragic character in the Greek tradition. Othello is stating that he is in fact a tragic character, and he indicates his awareness of how he will be struck down by his own fatal flaw. He does not wish to think that Desdemona is false, but the audience knows from this point that he will be convinced to believe so-
If she be false, O, then heaven mocks itself!
I'll not believe't.