Othello Excerpt Translation

Enter DESDEMONA, IAGO, and Attendants

DUKE OF VENICE
I think this tale would win my daughter too.
Good Brabantio,
Take up this mangled matter at the best:
Men do their broken weapons rather use
Than their bare hands.

BRABANTIO
I pray you, hear her speak:
If she confess that she was half the wooer,
Destruction on my head, if my bad blame
Light on the man! Come hither, gentle mistress:
Do you perceive in all this noble company
Where most you owe obedience?

DESDEMONA
My noble father,
I do perceive here a divided duty:
To you I am bound for life and education;
My life and education both do learn me
How to respect you; you are the lord of duty;
I am hitherto your daughter: but here’s my husband,
And so much duty as my mother show’d
To you, preferring you before her father,
So much I challenge that I may profess
Due to the Moor my lord.

BRABANTIO
God be wi’ you! I have done.
Please it your grace, on to the state-affairs:
I had rather to adopt a child than get it.
Come hither, Moor:
I here do give thee that with all my heart
Which, but thou hast already, with all my heart
I would keep from thee. For your sake, jewel,
I am glad at soul I have no other child:
For thy escape would teach me tyranny,
To hang clogs on them. I have done, my lord.

Unfamiliar words-
1. Mangled matter- this confusing, unpleasant situation
2. The wooer- to seek the affection, favor, or love of
3. For thy escape- if they were to leave me
4. Clogs- an encumbrance or impediment

Contemporary English translation-

DESDEMONA, IAGO, and attendants enter

DUKE OF VENICE
I think a story like this would win my daughter also
Brabantio,
Try to make the best out of this unpleasant situation
Men often use broken weapons, instead of useful things

BRABANTIO
Please, let her speak:
If she says she wanted this also
Then blame me,
I won’t blame Othello! Come here, my child.
Who do you follow?

DESDEMONA
Father,
I’m torn on my duty:
I’m bound to you because you provided me life and education
Those things have taught me
How to respect you; you’re the one I have to obey;
I am your daughter: but he is my husband,
And like my mother decided to follow you
Choosing you, over her own father,
I have to give my obedience
To the Moor, my husband.

BRABANTIO
I’m done, then.
Duke, please continue with your business
I would rather adopt a child, then be handed one
Come here, Moor:
I am going to give you my blessing on this marriage,
Which you already have, but with all of me
I would try and keep it from you. Desdemona,
I am glad you are my only child:
If I had others and they tried to leave, I would become a tyrant
And try to lock them up. I’m done here.

Figures of speech:
“Men do their broken weapons rather use, then their bare hands”
– Men often fight against what they can’t fix with useless things instead of choosing an obvious alternative
“You are the lord of duty”
– Your my father, I should respect you and follow you
“I had rather to adopt a child then get it”
– I would rather choose my own children then be forcefully given one through my daughters marriage

I like how the figurative language (metaphors, etc.) added an extra meaning to the characters speech. Most were an underlying insult- very passive aggressive phrases. They all added a subtle humor to a pretty serious situation. Instead, of characters saying mean things outright (especially in front of the governing people in that town) there speech would have slightly subtle message within it. I enjoyed the humor it added to this scene.

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