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Shakespeare: Othello

21. Act 5, Scene 2: Othello Kills Himself

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About this Lecture


In this module, we read through the second half of Act 5, Scene 2, in which Othello kills himself. In particular, we think about: (i) Iago’s famous final line (“From this time forth I never will speak word”, 301) and why he doesn’t die; (ii) the importance of forgiveness (“I do believe it, and I ask your pardon”, 297); and (iii) Othello’s magnificent final speech (“Soft you, a word or two before you go”, 336).


In this twenty-one part course, Professor John McRae (University of Nottingham) explores Shakespeare’s Othello. We begin with a broad introduction to the historical, political and intellectual context of early 17th-century England, before going through the play scene-by-scene, providing close reading and detailed analysis, with commentary on character, plot, themes and motifs, language, symbolism, and more.

Note: We used the Arden edition of the play (Third Series, Revised Edition, ed. E. A. J. Honigmann). Students using a different version of the play may encounter slight differences in both the text and line numbers.


John McRae is Special Professor of Language in Literature Studies and Teaching Associate in the School of English at Nottingham University, and holds Visiting Professorships in China, Malaysia, Spain and the USA. He is co-author of The Routledge History of Literature in English with Ron Carter, and also wrote The Language of Poetry, Literature with a Small 'l' and the first critical edition of Teleny by Oscar Wilde and others.

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Cite this Lecture

APA style

McRae, J. (2019, January 27). Shakespeare: Othello - Act 5, Scene 2: Othello Kills Himself [Video]. MASSOLIT.

MLA style

McRae, J. "Shakespeare: Othello – Act 5, Scene 2: Othello Kills Himself." MASSOLIT, uploaded by MASSOLIT, 27 Jan 2019,

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