Certainly, Othello’s final speech is not all that one might wish for his claim to be “one not easily jealous” is open to question, and his claim that he “loved not wisely but too well” seems both an understatement and an exaggeration (V.ii. 354, 353 ). Further, Othello’s invocation of his own military triumphs might be seen as another example of Othello dangerously misordering his priorities. He seems to position his political reputation as his biggest concern, as he did in Act III, scene iii, lines 353–355 , when, having decided that Desdemona does not love him, he exclaimed, “Farewell the tranquil mind, farewell content, / Farewell the plumed troop and the big wars / That make ambition virtue.”
At the same time, however, Othello’s final speech does seem to restore to him somewhat the nobility that characterized him at the beginning of the play. From almost the first time he opens his mouth, Othello demonstrates and the other characters confirm his hypnotic eloquence when he speaks about his exploits in battle. Othello’s final speech puts us in mind of his long speech in Act I, scene iii, so that we see him, even if only for a moment, as we saw him then. This process of conflating two different times and views of Othello is similar to the rhetorical effect achieved by Othello’s dying words, where he makes his suicide seem a noble and heroic deed by conflating it with the killing of a Turk in service of the state.