“It is the cause, it is the cause, my soul.” There are the words that Othello says to Desdemona before smothering her for her alleged infidelity. Struggling to bring himself to killing his beloved wife, he reminds himself why he has decided to murder her. “It is the cause” is the reminder of her infidelity, even if he cannot say the word out loud.
Act 5 of Shakespeare’s Othello is, by far, the most intense. Several characters meet their deaths in the act, with Desdemona’s death being the most notorious one. As Othello returns home to his wife, he begins his monologue with the words, “It is the cause, it is the cause, my soul.” These words are his reminder to himself why he has decided to kill Desdemona, his cherished wife. He does not decide to murder her because he no longer loves her. On the contrary, he loves her dearly, and it pains him to kill her.
Othello and Desdemona are victims of Iago’s deceit, and scene 2 captures it perfectly. He believes his friend whole-heartedly, and it costs him everything. Othello cannot bear to let Desdemona live as he believes she will continue to be unfaithful. Undeterred and even insulted by her pleas for mercy, he kills her only to find out minutes later that it was all for nothing. It is not surprising that after Othello killed Desdemona, he chose to end his own life.