These are Othello’s words to Iago in Act 3, Scene 3 of Shakespeare’s Othello. The meaning of this phrase is that Othello is stronger than his jealousy of Desdemona. These words refer to Othello’s belief in Desdemona’s faithfulness.
This is one of the most inspirational quotes about absolute trust in marriage. To understand this quote, we need to know the content of the play Othello. The tragedy tells the reader about credulity and jealousy. Othello, the Venetian Moor and renowned military leader, secretly marries Desdemona. However, there is a conspiracy against Othello. Iago and Rodrigo set an evil plan against Othello. They mislead Othello by making him believe that Desdemona has an affair with Cassio. This rumor pushes Othello to kill Desdemona for what she had done.
It is essential to mention that Othello was a black man. Despite the difference in nationality, courageous Desdemona becomes Othello’s wife. When saying, “for she had eyes and chose me,” Othello refers to this fact.
Othello is a multifaceted person, rather than a madly jealous man. At first, he is entirely foreign to jealousy. Othello is not naturally jealous; on the contrary, he is trusting. He misleads people, which is why he cannot understand the psychology of greed and lies. Iago arouses jealousy in him with slander. However, Othello is not so tormented by jealousy as shaken by a moral tragedy – disappointment in Desdemona.
In this passage, in particular, the reader can see Othello’s moral uncertainty. Absolute faith in Desdemona transforms into doubt. Othello says to Iago:
For she had eyes, and chose me. No, Iago;
I’ll see before I doubt; when I doubt, prove;
And on the proof, there is no more but this,–
Away at once with love or jealousy!
(Act 3, Scene 3)
The quote “for she had eyes and chose me” refers to Othello’s willingness to trust Desdemona. However, further words bring ambiguity. He still intends to prevent jealousy from getting under his skin. At the same time, this passage is the signal of his emergent insecurity. Shakespeare’s tragedy tells the reader about a gradual transformation of the protagonist. From a loving husband and nobleman, he turns into a furious, blinded by torturing jealousy figure:
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 vapour of a dungeon,
Than keep a corner in the thing I love
For others’ uses.
(Act 3, Scene 3)
The whole third act of the tragedy is about the drastic changes in Othello and his ideas. By its end, he is furious, asking for revenge.
This drastic contrast still creates debates among critics about the reasons for such a change in Othello’s character. The root of Othello’s jealousy provokes conflicting comments. Some of them follow racial prejudices distorting Shakespeare’s plan beyond recognition. His savage revealing instincts cannot be removed by education. Others believe that Shakespeare depicted Othello as a black man on purpose. It emphasizes his clean soul, as opposed to Iago’s dark soul and white appearance.