William Shakespeare's Othello


Brought to you by The Educational Company of Ireland
With annotations, analysis and commentary by Patrick Murray
Podcasts read by actors Simon Coury and Niamh Daly

Act 4 Scene 3 Plot summary

‘The formal supper in honour of the Venetian ambassador and his attendants is over. Othello orders Desdemona to go to bed and to dismiss Emilia. Emilia expresses strong disapproval of Othello, but Desdemona defends him. The effects of her ill-treatment by Othello now begin to show. Her mind lingers on thoughts of death and on a far-off song of tragic love like her own, learned from an ill-fated maid who died singing it. She wonders aloud whether there can really be women capable of the kind of infidelity that Othello has accused her of. Emilia tells her that there are, and declares that female infidelity is a response to the inadequacies and misdeeds of husbands. Desdemona cannot see why one evil deed should be repaid with another one.’