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This content is taken from the University of Birmingham & Royal Shakespeare Company's online course, Othello: In Performance. Join the course to learn more.

Skip to 0 minutes and 7 seconds EMILIA: How goes it now? He looks gentler than he did.

Skip to 0 minutes and 11 seconds DESDEMONA: He says he will return– he says he will return incontinent and has commanded me to go to bed and bid me to dismiss you.

Skip to 0 minutes and 22 seconds EMILIA: Dismiss me?

Skip to 0 minutes and 23 seconds DESDEMONA: It was his bidding. Therefore, good Emilia, give me my nightly wearing and adieu. We must, not now, displease him.

Skip to 0 minutes and 34 seconds EMILIA: I would have never seen him.

Skip to 0 minutes and 36 seconds DESDEMONA: So would not I. My love does so approve him that even his stubbornness, his cheques, his frowns– prithee, unpin me– have grace and favour in them.

Skip to 0 minutes and 53 seconds EMILIA: I’ve made those sheets you bade me on the bed.

Skip to 0 minutes and 55 seconds DESDEMONA: All’s one. Good faith, how foolish are our minds? If I should die before thee, prithee shroud me in one of those same sheets.

Skip to 1 minute and 9 seconds EMILIA: Come, come, you talk.

Skip to 1 minute and 14 seconds [LAUGHING]

Skip to 1 minute and 21 seconds DESDEMONA: My mother had a maid called Barbary. She was in love. And he she loved proved mad and did forsake her. She had a song of willow. An old thing ‘twas, but it expressed her fortune and she died singing it. That song, tonight, will not go from my mind. I have much to do but to go hang my head all at one side and sing it like poor Barbary. Prithee, dispatch!

Skip to 1 minute and 54 seconds EMILIA: Shall I go fetch your nightgown.

Skip to 1 minute and 56 seconds DESDEMONA: No. No. Unpin me here.

Performing Act 4 Scene 3

In this video you will see the RSC 2015 acting company performing part of Act 4 Scene 3 on stage.

As you watch consider:

  • The staging choices and setting being used and what these add to the interaction between Emilia and Desdemona.

  • What choices have been made and what impact those have on your perception of these characters.

Having watched the video, share your thoughts on the following questions in the Comments:

  • Does this interpretation change the way in which you see Emilia or Desdemona?

  • Does anything about the interpretation of the characters in this scene surprise you?

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This video is from the free online course:

Othello: In Performance

University of Birmingham