Considering that the play is set approximately in the late sixteenth century, Desdemona's defense of her actions is remarkably forthright, spirited, and courageous. Her ten brief lines are models of concise rationale. Hers, she says, was and is a "divided duty": She remains bound to her noble father for her "life and education"; he remains her "lord of duty," and she will always honor him as such. Now, however, she has a husband, and she will give all her loyalty to her husband, just as her mother gave her loyalty to Brabantio. "And so much duty as my mother show'd / To you, preferring you before her father, / So much I challenge, that I may profess, / Due to the Moor my lord" (186–188). In other words, fathers must give way to husbands.Desdemona's argument, which sweeps personal matters into general principles, carries the day, and Brabantio abandons his accusation. He does not concede that he was wrong, only that he cannot
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