Analysis Pages

Syntax in Othello

Syntax Examples in Othello:

Act III - Scene III


"I think my wife be honest, and think she is not; I think that thou art just, and think thou art not...."   (Act III - Scene III)

In this couplet, Othello admits to the nuanced nature of his trust in others. In this moment he cannot decide whether Desdemona is faithful and Iago dishonest, or if Desdemona is faithless and Iago honest. Shakespeare structures this phrase to encompass both realities. The audience, of course, knows well which line of thinking is accurate.

"He's a soldier; and for one to say a soldier lies, is stab- bing...."   (Act III - Scene IV)

As the play’s action escalates, the clown appears again to provide comic relief. In this exchange, he builds puns on the dual definitions of “to lie.” The central idea is that the clown would be lying if he claimed to know Cassio’s location—where Cassio lies. Even in tragedies such as Othello, Shakespeare always includes touches of light humor.

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