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In Othello’s soliloquy to the Duke and council, through his shift into verse, he is able to portray his sincerity and sureness in his love for Desdemona, and persuade the council that he won Brabantio’s daughter fairly and truly. Othello begins by addressing the council before which he is accused, graciously calling them “potent, grave, reverend…noble…masters” (1/2). This submissive diction clearly emphasizes Othello’s position in the discussion, as he places his judges above him. However, this is also an example of Othello’s masterful speech work, as he shows his reverence we also understand that he wishes to sway them in his favor. In order to further achieve this, he consents to the claims made by Brabantio saying “that I have ta’en away this old man’s daughter / It is most true” (4/5). Although it may seem that Othello is confessing to the crime, he is actually stringing on the council and winning them over to his side of the argument by then claiming that “my offending / Hath this extent, no more” (5/6). In this manner, Othello disregards Brabantio’s claims, saying that he has simply wed his daughter, and in that he has stolen her, but he has not used any tricks or magic to get her.
Othello’s next part of the speech further develops his masterful display of language as he claims that he cannot speak beautifully because he only knows war and battle. He claims that his language is “rude” and “little bless’d with the soft phrase” (6/7) yet the reader can clearly see that he is manipulating language in a masterful way in order to win over the council. Othello then discusses his war prowess, yet in a way that doesn’t boast his actions, but instead makes it seem as if it was a curse-for because of it, he cannot speak much about “this great world” (11). Through his battle and war diction, Othello manages to slyly bring up that he is indeed a war veteran, and perhaps cause an idea of heroism and bravery to come up within the council, which oppose the idea that Brabantio wants to cause with his attack against Othello. Overall, he manages to use his war-time as a way to show that he does not possess the knowledge to sway Desdemona with anything except pure love, and to sway the council into his favor by making them remember that he is a war hero.
Othello ends by slandering Brabantio’s claim as he says that he will “deliver / of my whole course of love; what drugs, what charms, / what conjuration and what mighty magic, (15-17). Thus Othello rebounds Brabantio’s attack against him, for he has just explained that he has no way of being able to truly do those things, but instead, he has only used what he does know-war, battle, and his stories to win Desdemona.
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