Haply for I am black,
And have not those soft parts of conversation
That chamberers have; or for I am declined
Into the vale of years—yet that’s not much—
She’s gone. I am abused, and my relief
Must be to loathe her. O curse of marriage,
That we can call these delicate creatures ours
And not their appetites! I had rather be a toad
And live upon the vapor of a dungeon
Than keep a corner in the thing I love
For others’ uses. Yet ’tis the plague of great ones;
Prerogatived are they less than the base.
’Tis destiny unshunnable, like death. (III.iii.
When, in Act I, scene iii, Othello says
that he is “rude” in speech, he shows that he does not really believe
his own claim by going on to deliver a lengthy and very convincing
speech about how he won Desdemona over with his wonderful storytelling
The ugly imagery that follows this declaration of abandonment—Othello
finds Desdemona to be a mere “creature” of “appetite” and imagines
himself as a “toad” in a “dungeon”—anticipates his later speech
in Act IV, scene ii, in which he compares Desdemona to a “cistern
for foul toads / To knot and gender in,” and says that she is as
honest “as summer flies are in the shambles [slaughterhouses], /
That quicken even with blowing” (IV.ii.