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Othello, the Moor of Venice by William Shakespeare

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by William Shakespeare


BRABANTIO, a Senator.
Other Senators.
GRATIANO, Brother to Brabantio.
LODOVICO, Kinsman to Brabantio.
OTHELLO, a noble Moor, in the service of Venice.
CASSIO, his Lieutenant.
IAGO, his Ancient.
RODERIGO, a Venetian Gentleman.
MONTANO, Othello's predecessor in the government of Cyprus.
CLOWN, Servant to Othello.

DESDEMONA, Daughter to Brabantio and Wife to Othello.
EMILIA, Wife to Iago.
BIANCA, Mistress to Cassio.

Officers, Gentlemen, Messenger, Musicians, Herald, Sailor,
Attendants, &c.

SCENE: The First Act in Venice; during the rest of the Play at a
Seaport in Cyprus.


SCENE I. Venice. A street.

[Enter Roderigo and Iago.]

Tush, never tell me; I take it much unkindly
That thou, Iago, who hast had my purse
As if the strings were thine, shouldst know of this,--

'Sblood, but you will not hear me:--
If ever I did dream of such a matter,
Abhor me.

Thou told'st me thou didst hold him in thy hate.

Despise me, if I do not. Three great ones of the city,
In personal suit to make me his lieutenant,
Off-capp'd to him:--and, by the faith of man,
I know my price, I am worth no worse a place:--
But he, as loving his own pride and purposes,
Evades them, with a bumbast circumstance
Horribly stuff'd with epithets of war:
And, in conclusion, nonsuits
My mediators: for, "Certes," says he,
"I have already chose my officer."
And what was he?
Forsooth, a great arithmetician,
One Michael Cassio, a Florentine,
A fellow almost damn'd in a fair wife;
That never set a squadron in the field,
Nor the division of a battle knows
More than a spinster; unless the bookish theoric,
Wherein the toged consuls can propose
As masterly as he: mere prattle, without practice,
Is all his soldiership. But he, sir, had the election:
And I,--of whom his eyes had seen the proof
At Rhodes, at Cyprus, and on other grounds,
Christian and heathen,--must be belee'd and calm'd
By debitor and creditor, this counter-caster;
He, in good time, must his lieutenant be,
And I--God bless the mark! his Moorship's ancient.

By heaven, I rather would have been his hangman.

Why, there's no remedy; 'tis the curse of service,
Preferment goes by letter and affection,
And not by old gradation, where each second
Stood heir to the first. Now, sir, be judge yourself
Whether I in any just term am affin'd
To love the Moor.

I would not follow him, then.

O, sir, content you;
I follow him to serve my turn upon him:
We cannot all be masters, nor all masters
Cannot be truly follow'd. You shall mark
Many a duteous and knee-crooking knave
That, doting on his own obsequious bondage,
Wears out his time, much like his master's ass,
For nought but provender; and when he's old, cashier'd:
Whip me such honest knaves. Others there are
Who, trimm'd in forms and visages of duty,
Keep yet their hearts attending on themselves;
And, throwing but shows of service on their lords,
Do well thrive by them, and when they have lin'd their coats,
Do themselves homage: these fellows have some soul;
And such a one do I profess myself. For, sir,
It is as sure as you are Roderigo,
Were I the Moor, I would not be Iago:
In following him, I follow but myself;
Heaven is my judge, not I for love and duty,
But seeming so for my peculiar end:
For when my outward action doth demonstrate
The native act and figure of my heart
In complement extern, 'tis not long after
But I will wear my heart upon my sleeve
For daws to peck at: I am not what I am.

What a full fortune does the thick lips owe,
If he can carry't thus!

Call up her father,
Rouse him:--make after him, poison his delight,
Proclaim him in the streets; incense her kinsmen,
And, though he in a fertile climate dwell,
Plague him with flies: though that his joy be joy,
Yet throw such changes of vexation on't
As it may lose some color.

Here is her father's house: I'll call aloud.

Do; with like timorous accent and dire yell
As when, by night and negligence, the fire
Is spied in populous cities.

What, ho, Brabantio! Signior Brabantio, ho!

Awake! what, ho, Brabantio! thieves! thieves! thieves!
Look to your house, your daughter, and your bags!
Thieves! thieves!

[Brabantio appears above at a window.]

What is the reason of this terrible summons?
What is the matter there?

Signior, is all your family within?

Are your doors locked?

Why, wherefore ask you this?

Zounds, sir, you're robb'd; for shame, put on your gown;
Your heart is burst, you have lost half your soul;
Even now, now, very now, an old black ram
Is tupping your white ewe. Arise, arise;
Awake the snorting citizens with the bell,
Or else the devil will make a grandsire of you:
Arise, I say.

What, have you lost your wits?

Most reverend signior, do you know my voice?

Not I; what are you?

My name is Roderigo.

The worser welcome:
I have charged thee not to haunt about my doors;
In honest plainness thou hast heard me say
My daughter is not for thee; and now, in madness,
Being full of supper and distempering draughts,
Upon malicious bravery dost thou come
To start my quiet.

Sir, sir, sir,--

But thou must needs be sure
My spirit and my place have in them power
To make this bitter to thee.

Patience, good sir.

What tell'st thou me of robbing? this is Venice;
My house is not a grange.

Most grave Brabantio,
In simple and pure soul I come to you.

Zounds, sir, you are one of those that will not serve God if the
devil bid you. Because we come to do you service, and you think
we are ruffians, you'll have your daughter covered with a Barbary
horse; you'll have your nephews neigh to you; you'll have coursers
for cousins and gennets for germans.

What profane wretch art thou?

I am one, sir, that comes to tell you your daughter and the Moor
are now making the beast with two backs.

Thou art a villain.

You are--a senator.

This thou shalt answer; I know thee, Roderigo.

Sir, I will answer anything. But, I beseech you,
If't be your pleasure and most wise consent,--
As partly I find it is,--that your fair daughter,
At this odd-even and dull watch o' the night,
Transported with no worse nor better guard
But with a knave of common hire, a gondolier,
To the gross clasps of a lascivious Moor,--
If this be known to you, and your allowance,
We then have done you bold and saucy wrongs;
But if you know not this, my manners tell me
We have your wrong rebuke. Do not believe
That, from the sense of all civility,
I thus would play and trifle with your reverence:
Your daughter,--if you have not given her leave,--
I say again, hath made a gross revolt;
Tying her duty, beauty, wit, and fortunes
In an extravagant and wheeling stranger
Of here and everywhere. Straight satisfy yourself:
If she be in her chamber or your house
Let loose on me the justice of the state
For thus deluding you.

Strike on the tinder, ho!
Give me a taper!--Call up all my people!--
This accident is not unlike my dream:
Belief of it oppresses me already.--
Light, I say! light!

[Exit from above.]

Farewell; for I must leave you:
It seems not meet nor wholesome to my place
To be produc'd,--as if I stay I shall,--
Against the Moor: for I do know the state,--
However this may gall him with some check,--
Cannot with safety cast him; for he's embark'd
With such loud reason to the Cyprus wars,--
Which even now stand in act,--that, for their souls,
Another of his fathom they have none
To lead their business: in which regard,
Though I do hate him as I do hell pains,
Yet, for necessity of present life,
I must show out a flag and sign of love,
Which is indeed but sign. That you shall surely find him,
Lead to the Sagittary the raised search;
And there will I be with him. So, farewell.


[Enter, below, Brabantio, and Servants with torches.]

It is too true an evil: gone she is;
And what's to come of my despised time
Is naught but bitterness.--Now, Roderigo,
Where didst thou see her?--O unhappy girl!--
With the Moor, say'st thou?--Who would be a father!
How didst thou know 'twas she?--O, she deceives me
Past thought.--What said she to you?--Get more tapers;
Raise all my kindred.--Are they married, think you?

Truly, I think they are.

O heaven!--How got she out?--O treason of the blood!--
Fathers, from hence trust not your daughters' minds
By what you see them act.--Are there not charms
By which the property of youth and maidhood
May be abused? Have you not read, Roderigo,
Of some such thing?

Yes, sir, I have indeed.

Call up my brother.--O, would you had had her!--
Some one way, some another.--Do you know
Where we may apprehend her and the Moor?

I think I can discover him, if you please
To get good guard, and go along with me.

Pray you, lead on. At every house I'll call;
I may command at most.--Get weapons, ho!
And raise some special officers of night.--
On, good Roderigo:--I'll deserve your pains.


SCENE II. Venice. Another street.

[Enter Othello, Iago, and Attendants with torches.]

Though in the trade of war I have slain men,
Yet do I hold it very stuff o' the conscience
To do no contriv'd murder: I lack iniquity
Sometimes to do me service: nine or ten times
I had thought to have yerk'd him here under the ribs.

'Tis better as it is.

Nay, but he prated,
And spoke such scurvy and provoking terms
Against your honor,
That, with the little godliness I have,
I did full hard forbear him. But, I pray you, sir,
Are you fast married? Be assured of this,
That the magnifico is much beloved;
And hath, in his effect, a voice potential
As double as the duke's: he will divorce you;
Or put upon you what restraint and grievance
The law,--with all his might to enforce it on,--
Will give him cable.

Let him do his spite:
My services which I have done the signiory
Shall out-tongue his complaints. 'Tis yet to know,--
Which, when I know that boasting is an honor,
I shall promulgate,--I fetch my life and being
From men of royal siege; and my demerits
May speak unbonneted to as proud a fortune
As this that I have reach'd: for know, Iago,
But that I love the gentle Desdemona,
I would not my unhoused free condition
Put into circumscription and confine
For the sea's worth. But, look! what lights come yond?

Those are the raised father and his friends:
You were best go in.

Not I; I must be found;
My parts, my title, and my perfect soul
Shall manifest me rightly. Is it they?

By Janus, I think no.

[Enter Cassio and certain Officers with torches.]

The servants of the duke and my lieutenant.--
The goodness of the night upon you, friends!
What is the news?

The duke does greet you, general;
And he requires your haste-post-haste appearance
Even on the instant.

What is the matter, think you?

Something from Cyprus, as I may divine:
It is a business of some heat: the galleys
Have sent a dozen sequent messengers
This very night at one another's heels;
And many of the consuls, rais'd and met,
Are at the duke's already: you have been hotly call'd for;
When, being not at your lodging to be found,
The senate hath sent about three several quests
To search you out.

'Tis well I am found by you.
I will but spend a word here in the house,
And go with you.


Ancient, what makes he here?

Faith, he to-night hath boarded a land carack:
If it prove lawful prize, he's made forever.

I do not understand.

He's married.

To who?

[Re-enter Othello.]

Marry, to--Come, captain, will you go?

Have with you.

Here comes another troop to seek for you.

It is Brabantio.--General, be advis'd;
He comes to bad intent.

[Enter Brabantio, Roderigo, and Officers with torches and

Holla! stand there!

Signior, it is the Moor.

Down with him, thief!

[They draw on both sides.]

You, Roderigo! come, sir, I am for you.

Keep up your bright swords, for the dew will rust them.--
Good signior, you shall more command with years
Than with your weapons.

O thou foul thief, where hast thou stow'd my daughter?
Damn'd as thou art, thou hast enchanted her;
For I'll refer me to all things of sense,
If she in chains of magic were not bound,
Whether a maid so tender, fair, and happy,
So opposite to marriage that she shunn'd
The wealthy curled darlings of our nation,
Would ever have, to incur a general mock,
Run from her guardage to the sooty bosom
Of such a thing as thou,--to fear, not to delight.
Judge me the world, if 'tis not gross in sense
That thou hast practis'd on her with foul charms;
Abus'd her delicate youth with drugs or minerals
That weaken motion:--I'll have't disputed on;
'Tis probable, and palpable to thinking.
I therefore apprehend and do attach thee
For an abuser of the world, a practiser
Of arts inhibited and out of warrant.--
Lay hold upon him: if he do resist,
Subdue him at his peril.

Hold your hands,
Both you of my inclining and the rest:
Were it my cue to fight, I should have known it
Without a prompter.--Where will you that I go
To answer this your charge?

To prison; till fit time
Of law and course of direct session
Call thee to answer.

What if I do obey?
How may the duke be therewith satisfied,
Whose messengers are here about my side,
Upon some present business of the state,
To bring me to him?

'Tis true, most worthy signior;
The duke's in council, and your noble self,
I am sure, is sent for.

How! the duke in council!
In this time of the night!--Bring him away:
Mine's not an idle cause: the duke himself,
Or any of my brothers of the state,
Cannot but feel this wrong as 'twere their own;
For if such actions may have passage free,
Bond slaves and pagans shall our statesmen be.


SCENE III. Venice. A council chamber.

[The Duke and Senators sitting at a table; Officers attending.]

There is no composition in these news
That gives them credit.

Indeed, they are disproportion'd;
My letters say a hundred and seven galleys.

And mine a hundred and forty.

And mine two hundred:
But though they jump not on a just account,--
As in these cases, where the aim reports,
'Tis oft with difference,--yet do they all confirm
A Turkish fleet, and bearing up to Cyprus.

Nay, it is possible enough to judgement:
I do not so secure me in the error,
But the main article I do approve
In fearful sense.

[Within.] What, ho! what, ho! what, ho!

A messenger from the galleys.

[Enter a Sailor.]

Now,--what's the business?

The Turkish preparation makes for Rhodes;
So was I bid report here to the state
By Signior Angelo.

How say you by this change?

This cannot be,
By no assay of reason: 'tis a pageant
To keep us in false gaze. When we consider
The importancy of Cyprus to the Turk;
And let ourselves again but understand
That, as it more concerns the Turk than Rhodes,
So may he with more facile question bear it,
For that it stands not in such warlike brace,
But altogether lacks the abilities
That Rhodes is dress'd in. If we make thought of this,
We must not think the Turk is so unskilful
To leave that latest which concerns him first;
Neglecting an attempt of ease and gain,
To wake and wage a danger profitless.

Nay, in all confidence, he's not for Rhodes.

Here is more news.

[Enter a Messenger.]

The Ottomites, reverend and gracious,
Steering with due course toward the isle of Rhodes,
Have there injointed them with an after fleet.

Ay, so I thought.--How many, as you guess?

Of thirty sail: and now they do re-stem
Their backward course, bearing with frank appearance
Their purposes toward Cyprus.--Signior Montano,
Your trusty and most valiant servitor,
With his free duty recommends you thus,
And prays you to believe him.

'Tis certain, then, for Cyprus.--
Marcus Luccicos, is not he in town?

He's now in Florence.

Write from us to him; post-post-haste despatch.

Here comes Brabantio and the valiant Moor.

[Enter Brabantio, Othello, Iago, Roderigo, and Officers.]

Valiant Othello, we must straight employ you
Against the general enemy Ottoman.--
[To Brabantio.] I did not see you; welcome, gentle signior;
We lack'd your counsel and your help to-night.

So did I yours. Good your grace, pardon me;
Neither my place, nor aught I heard of business
Hath rais'd me from my bed; nor doth the general care
Take hold on me; for my particular grief
Is of so flood-gate and o'erbearing nature
That it engluts and swallows other sorrows,
And it is still itself.

Why, what's the matter?

My daughter! O, my daughter!


Ay, to me;
She is abused, stol'n from me, and corrupted
By spells and medicines bought of mountebanks;
For nature so preposterously to err,
Being not deficient, blind, or lame of sense,
Sans witchcraft could not.

Whoe'er he be that, in this foul proceeding,
Hath thus beguiled your daughter of herself,
And you of her, the bloody book of law
You shall yourself read in the bitter letter
After your own sense; yea, though our proper son
Stood in your action.

Humbly I thank your grace.
Here is the man, this Moor; whom now, it seems,
Your special mandate for the state affairs
Hath hither brought.

We are very sorry for't.

[To Othello.] What, in your own part, can you say to this?

Nothing, but this is so.

Most potent, grave, and reverend signiors,
My very noble and approv'd good masters,--
That I have ta'en away this old man's daughter,
It is most true; true, I have married her:
The very head and front of my offending
Hath this extent, no more. Rude am I in my speech,
And little bless'd with the soft phrase of peace;
For since these arms of mine had seven years' pith,
Till now some nine moons wasted, they have us'd
Their dearest action in the tented field;
And little of this great world can I speak,
More than pertains to feats of broil and battle;
And therefore little shall I grace my cause
In speaking for myself. Yet, by your gracious patience,
I will a round unvarnish'd tale deliver
Of my whole course of love: what drugs, what charms,
What conjuration, and what mighty magic,--
For such proceeding I am charged withal,--
I won his daughter.

A maiden never bold:
Of spirit so still and quiet that her motion
Blush'd at herself; and she,--in spite of nature,
Of years, of country, credit, everything,--
To fall in love with what she fear'd to look on!
It is judgement maim'd and most imperfect
That will confess perfection so could err
Against all rules of nature; and must be driven
To find out practices of cunning hell,
Why this should be. I therefore vouch again,
That with some mixtures powerful o'er the blood,
Or with some dram conjur'd to this effect,
He wrought upon her.

To vouch this is no proof;
Without more wider and more overt test
Than these thin habits and poor likelihoods
Of modern seeming do prefer against him.

But, Othello, speak:
Did you by indirect and forced courses
Subdue and poison this young maid's affections?
Or came it by request, and such fair question
As soul to soul affordeth?

I do beseech you,
Send for the lady to the Sagittary,
And let her speak of me before her father.
If you do find me foul in her report,
The trust, the office I do hold of you,
Not only take away, but let your sentence
Even fall upon my life.

Fetch Desdemona hither.

Ancient, conduct them; you best know the place.--

[Exeunt Iago and Attendants.]

And, till she come, as truly as to heaven
I do confess the vices of my blood,
So justly to your grave ears I'll present
How I did thrive in this fair lady's love,
And she in mine.

Say it, Othello.

Her father lov'd me; oft invited me;
Still question'd me the story of my life,
From year to year,--the battles, sieges, fortunes,
That I have pass'd.
I ran it through, even from my boyish days
To the very moment that he bade me tell it:
Wherein I spake of most disastrous chances,
Of moving accidents by flood and field;
Of hair-breadth scapes i' the imminent deadly breach;
Of being taken by the insolent foe,
And sold to slavery; of my redemption thence,
And portance in my travels' history:
Wherein of antres vast and deserts idle,
Rough quarries, rocks, and hills whose heads touch heaven,
It was my hint to speak,--such was the process;
And of the Cannibals that each other eat,
The Anthropophagi, and men whose heads
Do grow beneath their shoulders. This to hear
Would Desdemona seriously incline:
But still the house affairs would draw her thence;
Which ever as she could with haste despatch,
She'd come again, and with a greedy ear
Devour up my discourse; which I observing,
Took once a pliant hour; and found good means
To draw from her a prayer of earnest heart
That I would all my pilgrimage dilate,
Whereof by parcels she had something heard,
But not intentively; I did consent;
And often did beguile her of her tears,
When I did speak of some distressful stroke
That my youth suffer'd. My story being done,
She gave me for my pains a world of sighs:
She swore,--in faith, 'twas strange, 'twas passing strange;
'Twas pitiful, 'twas wondrous pitiful:
She wish'd she had not heard it, yet she wish'd
That heaven had made her such a man: she thank'd me;
And bade me, if I had a friend that lov'd her,
I should but teach him how to tell my story,
And that would woo her. Upon this hint I spake:
She lov'd me for the dangers I had pass'd;
And I lov'd her that she did pity them.
This only is the witchcraft I have us'd:--
Here comes the lady; let her witness it.

[Enter Desdemona, Iago, and Attendants.]

I think this tale would win my daughter too.--
Good Brabantio,
Take up this mangled matter at the best.
Men do their broken weapons rather use
Than their bare hands.

I pray you, hear her speak:
If she confess that she was half the wooer,
Destruction on my head, if my bad blame
Light on the man!--Come hither, gentle mistress:
Do you perceive in all this noble company
Where most you owe obedience?

My noble father,
I do perceive here a divided duty:
To you I am bound for life and education;
My life and education both do learn me
How to respect you; you are the lord of duty,--
I am hitherto your daughter: but here's my husband;
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.

God be with you!--I have done.--
Please it your grace, on to the state affairs:
I had rather to adopt a child than get it.--
Come hither, Moor:
I here do give thee that with all my heart
Which, but thou hast already, with all my heart
I would keep from thee.--For your sake, jewel,
I am glad at soul I have no other child;
For thy escape would teach me tyranny,
To hang clogs on them.--I have done, my lord.

Let me speak like yourself; and lay a sentence
Which, as a grise or step, may help these lovers
Into your favour.
When remedies are past, the griefs are ended
By seeing the worst, which late on hopes depended.
To mourn a mischief that is past and gone
Is the next way to draw new mischief on.
What cannot be preserved when fortune takes,
Patience her injury a mockery makes.
The robb'd that smiles steals something from the thief;
He robs himself that spends a bootless grief.

So let the Turk of Cyprus us beguile;
We lose it not so long as we can smile;
He bears the sentence well, that nothing bears
But the free comfort which from thence he hears;
But he bears both the sentence and the sorrow
That, to pay grief, must of poor patience borrow.
These sentences, to sugar or to gall,
Being strong on both sides, are equivocal:
But words are words; I never yet did hear
That the bruis'd heart was pierced through the ear.--
I humbly beseech you, proceed to the affairs of state.

The Turk with a most mighty preparation makes for Cyprus.--
Othello, the fortitude of the place is best known to you; and
though we have there a substitute of most allowed sufficiency,
yet opinion, a sovereign mistress of effects, throws a more safer
voice on you: you must therefore be content to slubber the gloss
of your new fortunes with this more stubborn and boisterous

The tyrant custom, most grave senators,
Hath made the flinty and steel couch of war
My thrice-driven bed of down: I do agnize
A natural and prompt alacrity
I find in hardness; and do undertake
These present wars against the Ottomites.
Most humbly, therefore, bending to your state,
I crave fit disposition for my wife;
Due reference of place and exhibition;
With such accommodation and besort
As levels with her breeding.

If you please,
Be't at her father's.

I'll not have it so.

Nor I.

Nor I. I would not there reside,
To put my father in impatient thoughts,
By being in his eye. Most gracious duke,
To my unfolding lend your prosperous ear;
And let me find a charter in your voice
To assist my simpleness.

What would you, Desdemona?

That I did love the Moor to live with him,
My downright violence and storm of fortunes
May trumpet to the world: my heart's subdu'd
Even to the very quality of my lord:
I saw Othello's visage in his mind;
And to his honors and his valiant parts
Did I my soul and fortunes consecrate.
So that, dear lords, if I be left behind,
A moth of peace, and he go to the war,
The rites for which I love him are bereft me,
And I a heavy interim shall support
By his dear absence. Let me go with him.

Let her have your voices.
Vouch with me, heaven, I therefore beg it not
To please the palate of my appetite;
Nor to comply with heat,--the young affects
In me defunct,--and proper satisfaction;
But to be free and bounteous to her mind:
And heaven defend your good souls, that you think
I will your serious and great business scant
For she is with me: no, when light-wing'd toys
Of feather'd Cupid seel with wanton dullness
My speculative and offic'd instruments,
That my disports corrupt and taint my business,
Let housewives make a skillet of my helm,
And all indign and base adversities
Make head against my estimation!

Be it as you shall privately determine,
Either for her stay or going: the affair cries haste,
And speed must answer it.

You must away to-night.

With all my heart.

At nine i' the morning here we'll meet again.--
Othello, leave some officer behind,
And he shall our commission bring to you;
With such things else of quality and respect
As doth import you.

So please your grace, my ancient,--
A man he is of honesty and trust,--
To his conveyance I assign my wife,
With what else needful your good grace shall think
To be sent after me.

Let it be so.--
Good night to everyone.--[To Brabantio.] And, noble signior,
If virtue no delighted beauty lack,
Your son-in-law is far more fair than black.

Adieu, brave Moor; use Desdemona well.

Look to her, Moor, if thou hast eyes to see:
She has deceiv'd her father, and may thee.

[Exeunt Duke, Senators, Officers. &c.]

My life upon her faith!--Honest Iago,
My Desdemona must I leave to thee:
I pr'ythee, let thy wife attend on her;
And bring them after in the best advantage.--
Come, Desdemona, I have but an hour
Of love, of worldly matters and direction,
To spend with thee: we must obey the time.

[Exeunt Othello and Desdemona.]


What say'st thou, noble heart?

What will I do, thinkest thou?

Why, go to bed and sleep.

I will incontinently drown myself.

If thou dost, I shall never love thee after. Why, thou silly

It is silliness to live when to live is torment; and then
have we a prescription to die when death is our physician.

O villainous! I have looked upon the world for four times seven
years, and since I could distinguish betwixt a benefit and an
injury, I never found man that knew how to love himself. Ere I
would say I would drown myself for the love of a Guinea-hen, I
would change my humanity with a baboon.

What should I do? I confess it is my shame to be so fond,
but it is not in my virtue to amend it.

Virtue! a fig! 'Tis in ourselves that we are thus or thus.
Our bodies are gardens, to the which our wills are gardeners;
so that if we will plant nettles or sow lettuce, set hyssop and
weed up thyme, supply it with one gender of herbs or distract it
with many, either to have it sterile with idleness or manured
with industry; why, the power and corrigible authority of this
lies in our wills. If the balance of our lives had not one scale
of reason to poise another of sensuality, the blood and baseness
of our natures would conduct us to most preposterous conclusions:
But we have reason to cool our raging motions, our carnal stings,
our unbitted lusts; whereof I take this, that you call love, to
be a sect or scion.

It cannot be.

It is merely a lust of the blood and a permission of the will.
Come, be a man: drown thyself! drown cats and blind puppies. I
have professed me thy friend, and I confess me knit to
thy deserving with cables of perdurable toughness; I could
never better stead thee than now. Put money in thy purse; follow
thou the wars; defeat thy favour with an usurped beard; I say,
put money in thy purse. It cannot be that Desdemona should long
continue her love to the Moor,--put money in thy purse,--nor he
his to her: it was a violent commencement, and thou shalt see an
answerable sequestration;--put but money in thy purse.--These
Moors are changeable in their wills:--fill thy purse with money:
the food that to him now is as luscious as locusts shall be to
him shortly as acerb as the coloquintida. She must change for
youth: when she is sated with his body, she will find the error
of her choice: she must have change, she must: therefore put
money in thy purse.--If thou wilt needs damn thyself, do it a
more delicate way than drowning. Make all the money thou canst;
if sanctimony and a frail vow betwixt an erring barbarian and a
supersubtle Venetian be not too hard for my wits and all the
tribe of hell, thou shalt enjoy her; therefore make money. A pox
of drowning thyself! it is clean out of the way: seek thou rather
to be hanged in compassing thy joy than to be drowned and go
without her.

Wilt thou be fast to my hopes, if I depend on the issue?

Thou art sure of me:--go, make money:--I have told thee
often, and I re-tell thee again and again, I hate the Moor: my
cause is hearted; thine hath no less reason. Let us be
conjunctive in our revenge against him: if thou canst cuckold
him, thou dost thyself a pleasure, me a sport. There are many
events in the womb of time which will be delivered. Traverse; go;
provide thy money. We will have more of this to-morrow. Adieu.

Where shall we meet i' the morning?

At my lodging.

I'll be with thee betimes.

Go to; farewell. Do you hear, Roderigo?

What say you?

No more of drowning, do you hear?

I am changed: I'll go sell all my land.


Thus do I ever make my fool my purse;
For I mine own gain'd knowledge should profane
If I would time expend with such a snipe
But for my sport and profit. I hate the Moor;
And it is thought abroad that 'twixt my sheets
He has done my office: I know not if't be true;
But I, for mere suspicion in that kind,
Will do as if for surety. He holds me well,
The better shall my purpose work on him.
Cassio's a proper man: let me see now;
To get his place, and to plume up my will
In double knavery,--How, how?--Let's see:--
After some time, to abuse Othello's ear
That he is too familiar with his wife:--
He hath a person, and a smooth dispose,
To be suspected; fram'd to make women false.
The Moor is of a free and open nature,
That thinks men honest that but seem to be so;
And will as tenderly be led by the nose
As asses are.
I have't;--it is engender'd:--hell and night
Must bring this monstrous birth to the world's light.



SCENE I. A seaport in Cyprus. A Platform.

[Enter Montano and two Gentlemen.]

What from the cape can you discern at sea?

Nothing at all: it is a high-wrought flood;
I cannot, 'twixt the heaven and the main,
Descry a sail.

Methinks the wind hath spoke aloud at land;
A fuller blast ne'er shook our battlements:
If it hath ruffian'd so upon the sea,
What ribs of oak, when mountains melt on them,
Can hold the mortise? What shall we hear of this?

A segregation of the Turkish fleet:
For do but stand upon the foaming shore,
The chidden billow seems to pelt the clouds;
The wind-shak'd surge, with high and monstrous main,
Seems to cast water on the burning Bear,
And quench the guards of the ever-fixed pole;
I never did like molestation view
On the enchafed flood.

If that the Turkish fleet
Be not enshelter'd and embay'd, they are drown'd;
It is impossible to bear it out.

[Enter a third Gentleman.]

News, lads! our wars are done.
The desperate tempest hath so bang'd the Turks
That their designment halts; a noble ship of Venice
Hath seen a grievous wreck and sufferance
On most part of their fleet.

How! is this true?

The ship is here put in,
A Veronessa; Michael Cassio,
Lieutenant to the warlike Moor Othello,
Is come on shore: the Moor himself's at sea,
And is in full commission here for Cyprus.

I am glad on't; 'tis a worthy governor.

But this same Cassio,--though he speak of comfort
Touching the Turkish loss,--yet he looks sadly,
And prays the Moor be safe; for they were parted
With foul and violent tempest.

Pray heavens he be;
For I have serv'd him, and the man commands
Like a full soldier. Let's to the sea-side, ho!
As well to see the vessel that's come in
As to throw out our eyes for brave Othello,
Even till we make the main and the aerial blue
An indistinct regard.

Come, let's do so;
For every minute is expectancy
Of more arrivance.

[Enter Cassio.]

Thanks you, the valiant of this warlike isle,
That so approve the Moor! O, let the heavens
Give him defence against the elements,
For I have lost him on a dangerous sea!

Is he well shipp'd?

His bark is stoutly timber'd, and his pilot
Of very expert and approv'd allowance;
Therefore my hopes, not surfeited to death,
Stand in bold cure.

[Within.] A sail, a sail, a sail!

[Enter a fourth Gentleman.]

What noise?

The town is empty; on the brow o' the sea
Stand ranks of people, and they cry, "A sail!"

My hopes do shape him for the governor.

[Guns within.]

They do discharge their shot of courtesy:
Our friends at least.

I pray you, sir, go forth,
And give us truth who 'tis that is arriv'd.

I shall.


But, good lieutenant, is your general wiv'd?

Most fortunately: he hath achiev'd a maid
That paragons description and wild fame,
One that excels the quirks of blazoning pens,
And in the essential vesture of creation
Does tire the ingener.--

[Re-enter second Gentleman.]

How now! who has put in?

'Tis one Iago, ancient to the general.

He has had most favourable and happy speed:
Tempests themselves, high seas, and howling winds,
The gutter'd rocks, and congregated sands,--
Traitors ensteep'd to clog the guiltless keel,--
As having sense of beauty, do omit
Their mortal natures, letting go safely by
The divine Desdemona.

What is she?

She that I spake of, our great captain's captain,
Left in the conduct of the bold Iago;
Whose footing here anticipates our thoughts
A se'nnight's speed.--Great Jove, Othello guard,
And swell his sail with thine own powerful breath,
That he may bless this bay with his tall ship,
Make love's quick pants in Desdemona's arms,
Give renew'd fire to our extincted spirits,
And bring all Cyprus comfort! O, behold,

[Enter Desdemona, Emilia, Iago, Roderigo, and Attendants.]

The riches of the ship is come on shore!
Ye men of Cyprus, let her have your knees.--
Hall to thee, lady! and the grace of heaven,
Before, behind thee, and on every hand,
Enwheel thee round!

I thank you, valiant Cassio.
What tidings can you tell me of my lord?

He is not yet arrived nor know I aught
But that he's well, and will be shortly here.

O, but I fear--How lost you company?

The great contention of the sea and skies
Parted our fellowship:--but, hark! a sail.

[Within.] A sail, a sail!

[Guns within.]

They give their greeting to the citadel:
This likewise is a friend.

See for the news.

[Exit Gentleman.]

Good ancient, you are welcome:--[To Emilia.] Welcome, mistress:--
Let it not gall your patience, good Iago,
That I extend my manners; 'tis my breeding
That gives me this bold show of courtesy.

[Kissing her.]

Sir, would she give you so much of her lips
As of her tongue she oft bestows on me,
You'd have enough.

Alas, she has no speech.

In faith, too much;
I find it still when I have list to sleep:
Marry, before your ladyship, I grant,
She puts her tongue a little in her heart,
And chides with thinking.

You have little cause to say so.

Come on, come on; you are pictures out of doors,
Bells in your parlours, wild cats in your kitchens,
Saints in your injuries, devils being offended,
Players in your housewifery, and housewives in your beds.

O, fie upon thee, slanderer!

Nay, it is true, or else I am a Turk:
You rise to play, and go to bed to work.

You shall not write my praise.

No, let me not.

What wouldst thou write of me, if thou shouldst praise me?

O gentle lady, do not put me to't;
For I am nothing if not critical.

Come on, assay--There's one gone to the harbor?

Ay, madam.

I am not merry; but I do beguile
The thing I am, by seeming otherwise.--
Come, how wouldst thou praise me?

I am about it; but, indeed, my invention
Comes from my pate as birdlime does from frize,--
It plucks out brains and all: but my Muse labours,
And thus she is deliver'd.
If she be fair and wise,--fairness and wit,
The one's for use, the other useth it.

Well prais'd! How if she be black and witty?

If she be black, and thereto have a wit,
She'll find a white that shall her blackness fit.

Worse and worse.

How if fair and foolish?

She never yet was foolish that was fair;
For even her folly help'd her to an heir.

These are old fond paradoxes to make fools laugh i' the
alehouse. What miserable praise hast thou for her that's foul
and foolish?

There's none so foul and foolish thereunto,
But does foul pranks which fair and wise ones do.

O heavy ignorance!--thou praisest the worst best. But what
praise couldst thou bestow on a deserving woman indeed,--one
that, in the authority of her merit, did justly put on the vouch
of very malice itself?

She that was ever fair and never proud;
Had tongue at will and yet was never loud;
Never lack'd gold and yet went never gay;
Fled from her wish, and yet said, "Now I may";
She that, being anger'd, her revenge being nigh,
Bade her wrong stay and her displeasure fly;
She that in wisdom never was so frail
To change the cod's head for the salmon's tail;
She that could think and ne'er disclose her mind;
See suitors following and not look behind;
She was a wight, if ever such wight were;--

To do what?

To suckle fools and chronicle small beer.

O most lame and impotent conclusion!--Do not learn of him,
Emilia, though he be thy husband.--How say you, Cassio? is he
not a most profane and liberal counsellor?

He speaks home, madam: you may relish him more in the
soldier than in the scholar.

[Aside.] He takes her by the palm: ay, well said, whisper:
with as little a web as this will I ensnare as great a fly as
Cassio. Ay, smile upon her, do; I will gyve thee in thine own
courtship. You say true; 'tis so, indeed: if such tricks as
these strip you out of your lieutenantry, it had been better you
had not kissed your three fingers so oft, which now again you are
most apt to play the sir in. Very good; well kissed! an excellent
courtesy! 'tis so, indeed. Yet again your fingers to your lips?
Would they were clyster-pipes for your sake!

[Trumpet within.]--The Moor! I know his trumpet.

'Tis truly so.

Let's meet him, and receive him.

Lo, where he comes!

[Enter Othello and Attendants.]

O my fair warrior!

My dear Othello!

It gives me wonder great as my content
To see you here before me. O my soul's joy!
If after every tempest come such calms,
May the winds blow till they have waken'd death!
And let the laboring bark climb hills of seas
Olympus-high, and duck again as low
As hell's from heaven! If it were now to die,
'Twere now to be most happy; for, I fear,
My soul hath her content so absolute
That not another comfort like to this
Succeeds in unknown fate.

The heavens forbid
But that our loves and comforts should increase
Even as our days do grow!

Amen to that, sweet powers!--
I cannot speak enough of this content;
It stops me here; it is too much of joy:
And this, and this, the greatest discords be

[Kissing her.]

That e'er our hearts shall make!

[Aside.] O, you are well tun'd now!
But I'll set down the pegs that make this music,
As honest as I am.

Come, let us to the castle.--
News, friends; our wars are done, the Turks are drown'd.
How does my old acquaintance of this isle?
Honey, you shall be well desir'd in Cyprus;
I have found great love amongst them. O my sweet,
I prattle out of fashion, and I dote
In mine own comforts.--I pry'thee, good Iago,
Go to the bay and disembark my coffers:
Bring thou the master to the citadel;
He is a good one, and his worthiness
Does challenge much respect.--Come, Desdemona,
Once more well met at Cyprus.

[Exeunt Othello, Desdemona, and Attendants.]

Do thou meet me presently at the harbour. Come hither. If thou
be'st valiant,--as, they say, base men being in love have then a
nobility in their natures more than is native to them,--list me.
The lieutenant to-night watches on the court of guard: first, I
must tell thee this--Desdemona is directly in love with him.

With him! why, 'tis not possible.

Lay thy finger thus, and let thy soul be instructed. Mark me
with what violence she first loved the Moor, but for bragging,
and telling her fantastical lies: and will she love him still for
prating? Let not thy discreet heart think it. Her eye must be
fed; and what delight shall she have to look on the devil? When
the blood is made dull with the act of sport, there should
be,--again to inflame it and to give satiety a fresh appetite,--
loveliness in favour; sympathy in years, manners, and beauties;
all which the Moor is defective in: now, for want of these
required conveniences, her delicate tenderness will find itself
abused, begin to heave the gorge, disrelish and abhor the Moor;
very nature will instruct her in it, and compel her to some
second choice. Now sir, this granted;--as it is a most pregnant
and unforced position,--who stands so eminently in the degree of
this fortune as Cassio does? a knave very voluble; no further
conscionable than in putting on the mere form of civil and
humane seeming, for the better compass of his salt and most
hidden loose affection? why, none; why, none;--a slipper and
subtle knave; a finder out of occasions; that has an eye can
stamp and counterfeit advantages, though true advantage never
present itself: a devilish knave! besides, the knave is
handsome, young, and hath all those requisites in him that folly
and green minds look after: a pestilent complete knave; and the
woman hath found him already.

I cannot believe that in her; she is full of most blessed

Blest fig's end! the wine she drinks is made of grapes: if
she had been blessed, she would never have loved the Moor:
blessed pudding! Didst thou not see her paddle with the palm of
his hand? didst not mark that?

Yes, that I did; but that was but courtesy.

Lechery, by this hand; an index and obscure prologue to the
history of lust and foul thoughts. They met so near with their
lips that their breaths embraced together. Villainous thoughts,
Roderigo! when these mutualities so marshal the way, hard at
hand comes the master and main exercise, the incorporate
conclusion: pish!--But, sir, be you ruled by me: I have brought
you from Venice. Watch you to-night: for the command, I'll lay't
upon you: Cassio knows you not:--I'll not be far from you: do you
find some occasion to anger Cassio, either by speaking too loud,
or tainting his discipline, or from what other course you
please, which the time shall more favourably minister.


Sir, he is rash, and very sudden in choler, and haply with his
truncheon may strike at you: provoke him, that he may; for even
out of that will I cause these of Cyprus to mutiny, whose
qualification shall come into no true taste again but by the
displanting of Cassio. So shall you have a shorter journey to
your desires by the means I shall then have to prefer them; and
the impediment most profitably removed, without the which there
were no expectation of our prosperity.

I will do this, if I can bring it to any opportunity.

I warrant thee. Meet me by and by at the citadel: I must
fetch his necessaries ashore. Farewell.



That Cassio loves her, I do well believe it;
That she loves him, 'tis apt, and of great credit:
The Moor,--howbeit that I endure him not,--
Is of a constant, loving, noble nature;
And, I dare think, he'll prove to Desdemona
A most dear husband. Now, I do love her too;
Not out of absolute lust,--though, peradventure,
I stand accountant for as great a sin,--
But partly led to diet my revenge,
For that I do suspect the lusty Moor
Hath leap'd into my seat: the thought whereof
Doth, like a poisonous mineral, gnaw my inwards;
And nothing can or shall content my soul
Till I am even'd with him, wife for wife;
Or, failing so, yet that I put the Moor
At least into a jealousy so strong
That judgement cannot cure. Which thing to do,--
If this poor trash of Venice, whom I trash
For his quick hunting, stand the putting on,
I'll have our Michael Cassio on the hip;
Abuse him to the Moor in the rank garb,--
For I fear Cassio with my night-cap too;--
Make the Moor thank me, love me, and reward me
For making him egregiously an ass
And practicing upon his peace and quiet
Even to madness. 'Tis here, but yet confus'd:
Knavery's plain face is never seen till us'd.


SCENE II. A street.

[Enter a Herald with a proclamation; People following.]

It is Othello's pleasure, our noble and valiant general,
that upon certain tidings now arrived, importing the mere
perdition of the Turkish fleet, every man put himself into
triumph; some to dance, some to make bonfires, each man to
what sport and revels his addiction leads him: for, besides these
beneficial news, it is the celebration of his nuptial:--so
much was his pleasure should be proclaimed. All offices are open;
and there is full liberty of feasting from this present hour of
five till the bell have told eleven. Heaven bless the isle of
Cyprus and our noble general Othello!


SCENE III. A Hall in the Castle.

[Enter Othello, Desdemona, Cassio, and Attendants.]

Good Michael, look you to the guard to-night:
Let's teach ourselves that honourable stop,
Not to out-sport discretion.

Iago hath direction what to do;
But, notwithstanding, with my personal eye
Will I look to't.

Iago is most honest.
Michael, good night: to-morrow with your earliest
Let me have speech with you.--[To Desdemona] Come, my dear love,--
The purchase made, the fruits are to ensue;
That profit's yet to come 'tween me and you.--

[Exeunt Othello, Desdemona, and Attendants.]

[Enter Iago.]

Welcome, Iago; we must to the watch.

Not this hour, lieutenant; 'tis not yet ten o' the clock.
Our general cast us thus early for the love of his Desdemona; who
let us not therefore blame: he hath not yet made wanton the night
with her; and she is sport for Jove.

She's a most exquisite lady.

And, I'll warrant her, full of game.

Indeed, she is a most fresh and delicate creature.

What an eye she has! methinks it sounds a parley to provocation.

An inviting eye; and yet methinks right modest.

And when she speaks, is it not an alarm to love?

She is, indeed, perfection.

Well, happiness to their sheets! Come, lieutenant, I have a
stoup of wine; and here without are a brace of Cyprus gallants
that would fain have a measure to the health of black Othello.

Not to-night, good Iago: I have very poor and unhappy
brains for drinking: I could well wish courtesy would invent some
other custom of entertainment.

O, they are our friends; but one cup: I'll drink for you.

I have drunk but one cup to-night, and that was craftily
qualified too, and behold, what innovation it makes here: I am
unfortunate in the infirmity, and dare not task my weakness
with any more.

What, man! 'tis a night of revels: the gallants desire it.

Where are they?

Here at the door; I pray you, call them in.

I'll do't; but it dislikes me.


If I can fasten but one cup upon him,
With that which he hath drunk to-night already,
He'll be as full of quarrel and offense
As my young mistress' dog. Now, my sick fool Roderigo,
Whom love hath turn'd almost the wrong side out,
To Desdemona hath to-night carous'd
Potations pottle-deep; and he's to watch:
Three lads of Cyprus,--noble swelling spirits,
That hold their honours in a wary distance,
The very elements of this warlike isle,--
Have I to-night fluster'd with flowing cups,
And they watch too. Now, 'mongst this flock of drunkards,
Am I to put our Cassio in some action
That may offend the isle:--but here they come:
If consequence do but approve my dream,
My boat sails freely, both with wind and stream.

[Re-enter Cassio; with him Montano and Gentlemen; followed by
Servant with wine.]

'Fore heaven, they have given me a rouse already.

Good faith, a little one; not past a pint, as I am a soldier.

Some wine, ho!

"And let me the canakin clink, clink;
And let me the canakin clink.
A soldier's a man;
O, man's life's but a span;
Why then let a soldier drink."

Some wine, boys!

'Fore God, an excellent song.

I learned it in England, where, indeed, they are most
potent in potting: your Dane, your German, and your swag-bellied
Hollander,--Drink, ho!--are nothing to your English.

Is your Englishman so expert in his drinking?

Why, he drinks you, with facility, your Dane dead drunk; he
sweats not to overthrow your Almain; he gives your Hollander
a vomit ere the next pottle can be filled.

To the health of our general!

I am for it, lieutenant; and I'll do you justice.

O sweet England!

"King Stephen was and a worthy peer,
His breeches cost him but a crown;
He held them sixpence all too dear,
With that he call'd the tailor lown.
He was a wight of high renown,
And thou art but of low degree:
'Tis pride that pulls the country down;
Then take thine auld cloak about thee."

Some wine, ho!

Why, this is a more exquisite song than the other.

Will you hear it again?

No; for I hold him to be unworthy of his place that does
those things.--Well,--God's above all, and there be souls must
be saved, and there be souls must not be saved.

It's true, good lieutenant.

For mine own part,--no offence to the general, nor any
man of quality,--I hope to be saved.

And so do I too, lieutenant.

Ay, but, by your leave, not before me; the lieutenant is to
be saved before the ancient. Let's have no more of this;
let's to our affairs.--Forgive us our sins!--Gentlemen, let's
look to our business. Do not think, gentlemen, I am drunk: this
is my ancient; this is my right hand, and this is my left:--I am
not drunk now; I can stand well enough, and I speak well enough.

Excellent well.

Why, very well then: you must not think, then, that I am drunk.


To the platform, masters; come, let's set the watch.

You see this fellow that is gone before;--
He is a soldier fit to stand by Caesar
And give direction: and do but see his vice;
'Tis to his virtue a just equinox,
The one as long as the other: 'tis pity of him.
I fear the trust Othello puts him in,
On some odd time of his infirmity,
Will shake this island.

But is he often thus?

'Tis evermore the prologue to his sleep:
He'll watch the horologe a double set
If drink rock not his cradle.

It were well
The general were put in mind of it.
Perhaps he sees it not, or his good nature
Prizes the virtue that appears in Cassio,
And looks not on his evils: is not this true?

[Enter Roderigo.]

[Aside to him.] How now, Roderigo!
I pray you, after the lieutenant; go.

[Exit Roderigo.]

And 'tis great pity that the noble Moor
Should hazard such a place as his own second
With one of an ingraft infirmity:
It were an honest action to say
So to the Moor.

Not I, for this fair island;
I do love Cassio well; and would do much
To cure him of this evil.--But, hark! What noise?

[Cry within,--"Help! help!"]

[Re-enter Cassio, driving in Roderigo.]

You rogue! you rascal!

What's the matter, lieutenant?

A knave teach me my duty! I'll beat the knave into
a twiggen bottle.

Beat me!

Dost thou prate, rogue? [Striking Roderigo.]

Nay, good lieutenant; I pray you, sir, hold your hand.

Let me go, sir, or I'll knock you o'er the mazard.

Come, come, you're drunk.


[They fight.]

[Aside to Roderigo.] Away, I say! go out and cry a mutiny.

[Exit Roderigo.]

Nay, good lieutenant,--alas,, gentlemen:--
Help, ho!--Lieutenant,--sir,--Montano,--sir:--
Help, masters!--Here's a goodly watch indeed!

[Bell rings.]

Who's that that rings the bell?--Diablo, ho!
The town will rise: God's will, lieutenant, hold;
You will be sham'd forever.

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