FIVE OTHELLO-INSPIRED POPULAR PHRASES
“The green-eyed monster” (3.3.189-91),
Iago gives Othello very true advice in a sarcastic vein. Jealousy is compared to a “green-eyed monster.” In the modern sense, the phrase is “green with envy.”
“I will wear my heart upon my sleeve”(1.1.66),
What does it mean? In this opening scene, we see Roderigo and Iago talking about Desdemona and Othello. The ever cunning Iago is revealing an important fact about himself; he will manipulate and act deceptively if it suits his motives. The audience should understand that Iago is not to be trusted. This scene also shows how naive Roderigo can be. Roderigo doesn’t take Iago’s words to heart. Roderigo dies later in the play because of Iago.
‘Tis neither here nor there”(4.3.62)
What does it mean? In this short, but pivotal, scene Emilia and Desdemona discuss marriage, husbands, and fidelity. After her Willow Song, Desdemona asks if Emilia minds Desdemona’s crying. Emilia’s response means that it doesn’t matter to her.
“A foregone conclusion”(3.3.474)
To Shakespeare, this phrase meant “a previous experiment.” In the modern sense, it refers to something that has already been decided.
“Who steals my purse steals trash” (3.3.157)
Iago has gotten Cassio drunk, and Cassio has gotten himself fired as Othello’s lieutenant. He mourns the loss of his reputation, which, if compared to the theft of a purse, is more valuable than gold.