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Othello, the Moor of Venice by William Shakespeare

Part 2 out of 4

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[Re-enter Othello and Attendants.]

What is the matter here?

Zounds, I bleed still; I am hurt to the death.

Hold, for your lives!

Hold, ho! lieutenant,--sir,--Montano,--gentlemen,--
Have you forgot all sense of place and duty?
Hold! the general speaks to you; hold, hold, for shame!

Why, how now, ho! from whence ariseth this?
Are we turn'd Turks, and to ourselves do that
Which Heaven hath forbid the Ottomites?
For Christian shame, put by this barbarous brawl:
He that stirs next to carve for his own rage
Holds his soul light; he dies upon his motion.--
Silence that dreadful bell; it frights the isle
From her propriety.--What is the matter, masters?--
Honest Iago, that look'st dead with grieving,
Speak, who began this? on thy love, I charge thee.

I do not know:--friends all but now, even now,
In quarter, and in terms like bride and groom
Devesting them for bed; and then, but now--
As if some planet had unwitted men,--
Swords out, and tilting one at other's breast
In opposition bloody. I cannot speak
Any beginning to this peevish odds;
And would in action glorious I had lost
Those legs that brought me to a part of it!

How comes it, Michael, you are thus forgot?

I pray you, pardon me; I cannot speak.

Worthy Montano, you were wont be civil;
The gravity and stillness of your youth
The world hath noted, and your name is great
In mouths of wisest censure: what's the matter,
That you unlace your reputation thus,
And spend your rich opinion for the name
Of a night-brawler? give me answer to it.

Worthy Othello, I am hurt to danger:
Your officer, Iago, can inform you,--
While I spare speech, which something now offends me,--
Of all that I do know: nor know I aught
By me that's said or done amiss this night:
Unless self-charity be sometimes a vice,
And to defend ourselves it be a sin
When violence assails us.

Now, by heaven,
My blood begins my safer guides to rule;
And passion, having my best judgement collied,
Assays to lead the way. If I once stir,
Or do but lift this arm, the best of you
Shall sink in my rebuke. Give me to know
How this foul rout began, who set it on;
And he that is approv'd in this offense,
Though he had twinn'd with me, both at a birth,
Shall lose me.--What! in a town of war
Yet wild, the people's hearts brimful of fear,
To manage private and domestic quarrel,
In night, and on the court and guard of safety!
'Tis monstrous.--Iago, who began't?

If partially affin'd, or leagu'd in office,
Thou dost deliver more or less than truth,
Thou art no soldier.

Touch me not so near:
I had rather have this tongue cut from my mouth
Than it should do offence to Michael Cassio;
Yet, I persuade myself, to speak the truth
Shall nothing wrong him.--Thus it is, general.
Montano and myself being in speech,
There comes a fellow crying out for help;
And Cassio following him with determin'd sword,
To execute upon him. Sir, this gentleman
Steps in to Cassio and entreats his pause:
Myself the crying fellow did pursue,
Lest by his clamour,--as it so fell out,--
The town might fall in fright: he, swift of foot,
Outran my purpose; and I return'd the rather
For that I heard the clink and fall of swords,
And Cassio high in oath; which till to-night
I ne'er might say before. When I came back,--
For this was brief,--I found them close together,
At blow and thrust; even as again they were
When you yourself did part them.
More of this matter cannot I report;--
But men are men; the best sometimes forget:--
Though Cassio did some little wrong to him,--
As men in rage strike those that wish them best,--
Yet surely Cassio, I believe, receiv'd
From him that fled some strange indignity,
Which patience could not pass.

I know, Iago,
Thy honesty and love doth mince this matter,
Making it light to Cassio. Cassio, I love thee;
But never more be officer of mine.--

[Re-enter Desdemona, attended.]

Look, if my gentle love be not rais'd up!--
I'll make thee an example.

What's the matter?

All's well now, sweeting; come away to bed.
[To Montano, who is led off.]
Sir, for your hurts, myself will be your surgeon:
Lead him off.
Iago, look with care about the town,
And silence those whom this vile brawl distracted.--
Come, Desdemona: 'tis the soldiers' life
To have their balmy slumbers wak'd with strife.

[Exeunt all but Iago and Cassio.]

What, are you hurt, lieutenant?

Ay, past all surgery.

Marry, heaven forbid!

Reputation, reputation, reputation! O, I have lost my
reputation! I have lost the immortal part of myself, and what
remains is bestial.--My reputation, Iago, my reputation!

As I am an honest man, I thought you had received some
bodily wound; there is more sense in that than in reputation.
Reputation is an idle and most false imposition; oft got without
merit and lost without deserving: you have lost no reputation at
all, unless you repute yourself such a loser. What, man! there
are ways to recover the general again: you are but now cast in
his mood, a punishment more in policy than in malice; even so as
one would beat his offenceless dog to affright an imperious lion:
sue to him again, and he is yours.

I will rather sue to be despised than to deceive so good a
commander with so slight, so drunken, and so indiscreet an
officer. Drunk? and speak parrot? and squabble? swagger?
swear? and discourse fustian with one's own shadow?--O thou
invisible spirit of wine, if thou hast no name to be known by,
let us call thee devil!

What was he that you followed with your sword? What had he done
to you?

I know not.

Is't possible?

I remember a mass of things, but nothing distinctly; a quarrel,
but nothing wherefore.--O God, that men should put an enemy in
their mouths to steal away their brains! that we should, with
joy, pleasance, revel, and applause, transform ourselves into

Why, but you are now well enough: how came you thus recovered?

It hath pleased the devil drunkenness to give place to the
devil wrath: one unperfectness shows me another, to make me
frankly despise myself.

Come, you are too severe a moraler: as the time, the place, and
the condition of this country stands, I could heartily wish
this had not befallen; but since it is as it is, mend it for
your own good.

I will ask him for my place again;--he shall tell me I am a
drunkard! Had I as many mouths as Hydra, such an answer would
stop them all. To be now a sensible man, by and by a fool,
and presently a beast! O strange!--Every inordinate cup is
unbless'd, and the ingredient is a devil.

Come, come, good wine is a good familiar creature, if it be
well used: exclaim no more against it. And, good lieutenant,
I think you think I love you.

I have well approved it, sir.--I drunk!

You, or any man living, may be drunk at a time, man. I'll tell
you what you shall do. Our general's wife is now the general;--
I may say so in this respect, for that he hath devoted and
given up himself to the contemplation, mark, and denotement
of her parts and graces:--confess yourself freely to her;
importune her help to put you in your place again: she is of
so free, so kind, so apt, so blessed a disposition, she holds
it a vice in her goodness not to do more than she is requested:
this broken joint between you and her husband entreat her to
splinter; and, my fortunes against any lay worth naming, this
crack of your love shall grow stronger than it was before.

You advise me well.

I protest, in the sincerity of love and honest kindness.

I think it freely; and betimes in the morning I will beseech
the virtuous Desdemona to undertake for me; I am desperate
of my fortunes if they check me here.

You are in the right. Good-night, lieutenant; I must to the

Good night, honest Iago.


And what's he, then, that says I play the villain?
When this advice is free I give and honest,
Probal to thinking, and, indeed, the course
To win the Moor again? For 'tis most easy
The inclining Desdemona to subdue
In any honest suit: she's fram'd as fruitful
As the free elements. And then for her
To win the Moor,--were't to renounce his baptism,
All seals and symbols of redeemed sin,--
His soul is so enfetter'd to her love
That she may make, unmake, do what she list,
Even as her appetite shall play the god
With his weak function. How am I, then, a villain
To counsel Cassio to this parallel course,
Directly to his good? Divinity of hell!
When devils will the blackest sins put on,
They do suggest at first with heavenly shows,
As I do now: for whiles this honest fool
Plies Desdemona to repair his fortune,
And she for him pleads strongly to the Moor,
I'll pour this pestilence into his ear,--
That she repeals him for her body's lust;
And by how much she strives to do him good,
She shall undo her credit with the Moor.
So will I turn her virtue into pitch;
And out of her own goodness make the net
That shall enmesh them all.

[Enter Roderigo.]

How now, Roderigo!

I do follow here in the chase, not like a hound that hunts,
but one that fills up the cry. My money is almost spent; I
have been to-night exceedingly well cudgelled; and I think
the issue will be--I shall have so much experience for my
pains: and so, with no money at all and a little more wit,
return again to Venice.

How poor are they that have not patience!
What wound did ever heal but by degrees?
Thou know'st we work by wit, and not by witchcraft;
And wit depends on dilatory time.
Does't not go well? Cassio hath beaten thee,
And thou, by that small hurt, hast cashier'd Cassio;
Though other things grow fair against the sun,
Yet fruits that blossom first will first be ripe:
Content thyself awhile.--By the mass, 'tis morning;
Pleasure and action make the hours seem short.--
Retire thee; go where thou art billeted:
Away, I say; thou shalt know more hereafter;
Nay, get thee gone.

[Exit Roderigo.]

Two things are to be done,--
My wife must move for Cassio to her mistress;
I'll set her on;
Myself the while to draw the Moor apart,
And bring him jump when he may Cassio find
Soliciting his wife. Ay, that's the way;
Dull not device by coldness and delay.



SCENE I. Cyprus. Before the Castle.

[Enter Cassio and some Musicians.]

Masters, play here,--I will content your pains,
Something that's brief; and bid "Good-morrow, general."


[Enter Clown.]

Why, masters, have your instruments been in Naples, that they
speak i' the nose thus?

How, sir, how!

Are these, I pray you, wind instruments?

Ay, marry, are they, sir.

O, thereby hangs a tale.

Whereby hangs a tale, sir?

Marry, sir, by many a wind instrument that I know. But, masters,
here's money for you: and the general so likes your music, that
he desires you, for love's sake, to make no more noise with it.

Well, sir, we will not.

If you have any music that may not be heard, to't again: but,
as they say, to hear music the general does not greatly care.

We have none such, sir.

Then put up your pipes in your bag, for I'll away: go, vanish
into air, away!

[Exeunt Musicians.]

Dost thou hear, mine honest friend?

No, I hear not your honest friend; I hear you.

Pr'ythee, keep up thy quillets. There's a poor piece of gold
for thee: if the gentlewoman that attends the general's wife
be stirring, tell her there's one Cassio entreats her a little
favour of speech: wilt thou do this?

She is stirring, sir; if she will stir hither I shall
seem to notify unto her.

Do, good my friend.

[Exit Clown.]

[Enter Iago.]

In happy time, Iago.

You have not been a-bed, then?

Why, no; the day had broke
Before we parted. I have made bold, Iago,
To send in to your wife: my suit to her
Is, that she will to virtuous Desdemona
Procure me some access.

I'll send her to you presently;
And I'll devise a mean to draw the Moor
Out of the way, that your converse and business
May be more free.

I humbly thank you for't. [Exit Iago.] I never knew
A Florentine more kind and honest.

[Enter Emilia.]

Good-morrow, good lieutenant; I am sorry
For your displeasure; but all will sure be well.
The general and his wife are talking of it;
And she speaks for you stoutly: the Moor replies
That he you hurt is of great fame in Cyprus
And great affinity, and that, in wholesome wisdom,
He might not but refuse you; but he protests he loves you
And needs no other suitor but his likings
To take the safest occasion by the front
To bring you in again.

Yet, I beseech you,--
If you think fit, or that it may be done,--
Give me advantage of some brief discourse
With Desdemona alone.

Pray you, come in:
I will bestow you where you shall have time
To speak your bosom freely.

I am much bound to you.


SCENE II. Cyprus. A Room in the Castle.

[Enter Othello, Iago, and Gentlemen.]

These letters give, Iago, to the pilot;
And by him do my duties to the senate:
That done, I will be walking on the works;
Repair there to me.

Well, my good lord, I'll do't.

This fortification, gentlemen,--shall we see't?

We'll wait upon your lordship.


SCENE III. Cyprus. The Garden of the Castle.

[Enter Desdemona, Cassio, and Emilia.]

Be thou assured, good Cassio, I will do
All my abilities in thy behalf.

Good madam, do: I warrant it grieves my husband
As if the cause were his.

O, that's an honest fellow.--Do not doubt, Cassio,
But I will have my lord and you again
As friendly as you were.

Bounteous madam,
Whatever shall become of Michael Cassio,
He's never anything but your true servant.

I know't,--I thank you. You do love my lord:
You have known him long; and be you well assur'd
He shall in strangeness stand no farther off
Than in a politic distance.

Ay, but, lady,
That policy may either last so long,
Or feed upon such nice and waterish diet,
Or breed itself so out of circumstance,
That, I being absent, and my place supplied,
My general will forget my love and service.

Do not doubt that; before Emilia here
I give thee warrant of thy place: assure thee,
If I do vow a friendship, I'll perform it
To the last article: my lord shall never rest;
I'll watch him tame, and talk him out of patience;
His bed shall seem a school, his board a shrift;
I'll intermingle everything he does
With Cassio's suit: therefore be merry, Cassio;
For thy solicitor shall rather die
Than give thy cause away.

Madam, here comes my lord.

Madam, I'll take my leave.

Why, stay, and hear me speak.

Madam, not now. I am very ill at ease,
Unfit for mine own purposes.

Well, do your discretion.

[Exit Cassio.]

[Enter Othello and Iago.]

Ha! I like not that.

What dost thou say?

Nothing, my lord: or if--I know not what.

Was not that Cassio parted from my wife?

Cassio, my lord! No, sure, I cannot think it,
That he would steal away so guilty-like,
Seeing you coming.

I do believe 'twas he.

How now, my lord!
I have been talking with a suitor here,
A man that languishes in your displeasure.

Who is't you mean?

Why, your lieutenant, Cassio. Good my lord,
If I have any grace or power to move you,
His present reconciliation take;
For if he be not one that truly loves you,
That errs in ignorance and not in cunning,
I have no judgement in an honest face:
I pr'ythee, call him back.

Went he hence now?

Ay, sooth; so humbled
That he hath left part of his grief with me
To suffer with him. Good love, call him back.

Not now, sweet Desdemon; some other time.

But shall't be shortly?

The sooner, sweet, for you.

Shall't be to-night at supper?

No, not to-night.

To-morrow dinner then?

I shall not dine at home;
I meet the captains at the citadel.

Why then to-morrow night; or Tuesday morn;
On Tuesday noon, or night; on Wednesday morn:--
I pr'ythee, name the time; but let it not
Exceed three days: in faith, he's penitent;
And yet his trespass, in our common reason,--
Save that, they say, the wars must make examples
Out of their best,--is not almost a fault
To incur a private check. When shall he come?
Tell me, Othello: I wonder in my soul,
What you would ask me, that I should deny,
Or stand so mammering on. What! Michael Cassio,
That came awooing with you; and so many a time,
When I have spoke of you dispraisingly,
Hath ta'en your part;--to have so much to do
To bring him in! Trust me, I could do much,--

Pr'ythee, no more; let him come when he will;
I will deny thee nothing.

Why, this is not a boon;
'Tis as I should entreat you wear your gloves,
Or feed on nourishing dishes, or keep you warm,
Or sue to you to do a peculiar profit
To your own person: nay, when I have a suit
Wherein I mean to touch your love indeed,
It shall be full of poise and difficult weight,
And fearful to be granted.

I will deny thee nothing:
Whereon, I do beseech thee, grant me this,
To leave me but a little to myself.

Shall I deny you? no: farewell, my lord.

Farewell, my Desdemona: I'll come to thee straight.

Emilia, come.--Be as your fancies teach you;
Whate'er you be, I am obedient.

[Exit with Emilia.]

Excellent wretch! Perdition catch my soul,
But I do love thee! and when I love thee not,
Chaos is come again.

My noble lord,--

What dost thou say, Iago?

Did Michael Cassio, when you woo'd my lady,
Know of your love?

He did, from first to last: why dost thou ask?

But for a satisfaction of my thought;
No further harm.

Why of thy thought, Iago?

I did not think he had been acquainted with her.

O, yes; and went between us very oft.


Indeed! ay, indeed:--discern'st thou aught in that?
Is he not honest?

Honest, my lord!

Honest! ay, honest.

My lord, for aught I know.

What dost thou think?

Think, my lord!

Think, my lord! By heaven, he echoes me,
As if there were some monster in his thought
Too hideous to be shown.--Thou dost mean something:
I heard thee say even now,--thou lik'dst not that,
When Cassio left my wife. What didst not like?
And when I told thee he was of my counsel
In my whole course of wooing, thou criedst, "Indeed!"
And didst contract and purse thy brow together,
As if thou then hadst shut up in thy brain
Some horrible conceit: if thou dost love me,
Show me thy thought.

My lord, you know I love you.

I think thou dost;
And,--for I know thou'rt full of love and honesty
And weigh'st thy words before thou giv'st them breath,--
Therefore these stops of thine fright me the more:
For such things in a false disloyal knave
Are tricks of custom; but in a man that's just
They're close delations, working from the heart,
That passion cannot rule.

For Michael Cassio,
I dare be sworn I think that he is honest.

I think so too.

Men should be what they seem;
Or those that be not, would they might seem none!

Certain, men should be what they seem.

Why, then, I think Cassio's an honest man.

Nay, yet there's more in this:
I pr'ythee, speak to me as to thy thinkings,
As thou dost ruminate; and give thy worst of thoughts
The worst of words.

Good my lord, pardon me:
Though I am bound to every act of duty,
I am not bound to that all slaves are free to.
Utter my thoughts? Why, say they are vile and false;--
As where's that palace whereinto foul things
Sometimes intrude not? who has a breast so pure
But some uncleanly apprehensions
Keep leets and law-days, and in session sit
With meditations lawful?

Thou dost conspire against thy friend, Iago,
If thou but think'st him wrong'd and mak'st his ear
A stranger to thy thoughts.

I do beseech you,--
Though I perchance am vicious in my guess,
As, I confess, it is my nature's plague
To spy into abuses, and of my jealousy
Shape faults that are not,--that your wisdom yet,
From one that so imperfectly conceits,
Would take no notice; nor build yourself a trouble
Out of his scattering and unsure observance:--
It were not for your quiet nor your good,
Nor for my manhood, honesty, or wisdom,
To let you know my thoughts.

What dost thou mean?

Good name in man and woman, dear my lord,
Is the immediate jewel of their souls:
Who steals my purse steals trash; 'tis something, nothing;
'Twas mine, 'tis his, and has been slave to thousands;
But he that filches from me my good name
Robs me of that which not enriches him
And makes me poor indeed.

By heaven, I'll know thy thoughts.

You cannot, if my heart were in your hand;
Nor shall not, whilst 'tis in my custody.


O, beware, my lord, of jealousy;
It is the green-ey'd monster which doth mock
The meat it feeds on: that cuckold lives in bliss
Who, certain of his fate, loves not his wronger;
But O, what damned minutes tells he o'er
Who dotes, yet doubts, suspects, yet strongly loves!

O misery!

Poor and content is rich, and rich enough;
But riches fineless is as poor as winter
To him that ever fears he shall be poor;--
Good heaven, the souls of all my tribe defend
From jealousy!

Why, why is this?
Think'st thou I'd make a life of jealousy,
To follow still the changes of the moon
With fresh suspicions? No; to be once in doubt
Is once to be resolv'd: exchange me for a goat
When I shall turn the business of my soul
To such exsufflicate and blown surmises,
Matching thy inference. 'Tis not to make me jealous,
To say my wife is fair, feeds well, loves company,
Is free of speech, sings, plays, and dances well;
Where virtue is, these are more virtuous:
Nor from mine own weak merits will I draw
The smallest fear or doubt of her revolt;
For she had eyes and chose me. No, Iago;
I'll see before I doubt; when I doubt, prove;
And on the proof, there is no more but this,--
Away at once with love or jealousy!

I am glad of it; for now I shall have reason
To show the love and duty that I bear you
With franker spirit: therefore, as I am bound,
Receive it from me:--I speak not yet of proof.
Look to your wife; observe her well with Cassio;
Wear your eye thus, not jealous nor secure:
I would not have your free and noble nature,
Out of self-bounty, be abus'd; look to't.
I know our country disposition well;
In Venice they do let heaven see the pranks
They dare not show their husbands; their best conscience
Is not to leave undone, but keep unknown.

Dost thou say so?

She did deceive her father, marrying you;
And when she seem'd to shake and fear your looks,
She loved them most.

And so she did.

Why, go to then;
She that, so young, could give out such a seeming,
To seal her father's eyes up close as oak,--
He thought 'twas witchcraft,--but I am much to blame;
I humbly do beseech you of your pardon
For too much loving you.

I am bound to thee for ever.

I see this hath a little dash'd your spirits.

Not a jot, not a jot.

Trust me, I fear it has.
I hope you will consider what is spoke
Comes from my love; but I do see you're mov'd:--
I am to pray you not to strain my speech
To grosser issues nor to larger reach
Than to suspicion.

I will not.

Should you do so, my lord,
My speech should fall into such vile success
Which my thoughts aim'd not. Cassio's my worthy friend:--
My lord, I see you're mov'd.

No, not much mov'd.
I do not think but Desdemona's honest.

Long live she so! and long live you to think so!

And yet, how nature erring from itself,--

Ay, there's the point:--as,--to be bold with you,--
Not to affect many proposed matches,
Of her own clime, complexion, and degree,
Whereto we see in all things nature tends,--
Foh! one may smell in such a will most rank,
Foul disproportion, thoughts unnatural:--
But pardon me: I do not in position
Distinctly speak of her; though I may fear,
Her will, recoiling to her better judgement,
May fall to match you with her country forms,
And happily repent.

Farewell, farewell:
If more thou dost perceive, let me know more;
Set on thy wife to observe: leave me, Iago.

[Going.] My lord, I take my leave.

Why did I marry?--This honest creature doubtless
Sees and knows more, much more, than he unfolds.

[Returning.] My lord, I would I might entreat your honour
To scan this thing no further; leave it to time:
Though it be fit that Cassio have his place,--
For sure he fills it up with great ability,--
Yet, if you please to hold him off awhile,
You shall by that perceive him and his means:
Note if your lady strain his entertainment
With any strong or vehement importunity;
Much will be seen in that. In the meantime,
Let me be thought too busy in my fears,--
As worthy cause I have to fear I am,--
And hold her free, I do beseech your honour.

Fear not my government.

I once more take my leave.


This fellow's of exceeding honesty,
And knows all qualities, with a learned spirit,
Of human dealings. If I do prove her haggard,
Though that her jesses were my dear heartstrings,
I'd whistle her off, and let her down the wind
To prey at fortune. Haply, for I am black,
And have not those soft parts of conversation
That chamberers have; or for I am declin'd
Into the vale of years,--yet that's not much,--
She's gone; I am abus'd, and my relief
Must be to loathe her. O curse of marriage,
That we can call these delicate creatures ours,
And not their appetites! I had rather be a toad,
And live upon the vapor of a dungeon,
Than keep a corner in the thing I love
For others' uses. Yet, 'tis the plague of great ones:
Prerogativ'd are they less than the base;
'Tis destiny unshunnable, like death:
Even then this forked plague is fated to us
When we do quicken. Desdemona comes:
If she be false, O, then heaven mocks itself!--
I'll not believe't.

[Re-enter Desdemona and Emilia.]

How now, my dear Othello!
Your dinner, and the generous islanders
By you invited, do attend your presence.

I am to blame.

Why do you speak so faintly?
Are you not well?

I have a pain upon my forehead here.

Faith, that's with watching; 'twill away again;
Let me but bind it hard, within this hour
It will be well.

Your napkin is too little;

[He puts the handkerchief from him, and she drops it.]

Let it alone. Come, I'll go in with you.

I am very sorry that you are not well.

[Exeunt Othello and Desdemona.]

I am glad I have found this napkin;
This was her first remembrance from the Moor.
My wayward husband hath a hundred times
Woo'd me to steal it; but she so loves the token,--
For he conjur'd her she should ever keep it,--
That she reserves it evermore about her
To kiss and talk to. I'll have the work ta'en out,
And give't Iago:
What he will do with it heaven knows, not I;
I nothing but to please his fantasy.

[Re-enter Iago.]

How now! what do you here alone?

Do not you chide; I have a thing for you.

A thing for me!--it is a common thing.


To have a foolish wife.

O, is that all? What will you give me now
For that same handkerchief?

What handkerchief?

What handkerchief!
Why, that the Moor first gave to Desdemona;
That which so often you did bid me steal.

Hast stol'n it from her?

No, faith; she let it drop by negligence,
And, to the advantage, I being here, took't up.
Look, here it is.

A good wench; give it me.

What will you do with't, that you have been so earnest
To have me filch it?

[Snatching it.] Why, what's that to you?

If it be not for some purpose of import,
Give't me again: poor lady, she'll run mad
When she shall lack it.

Be not acknown on't; I have use for it.
Go, leave me.

[Exit Emilia.]

I will in Cassio's lodging lose this napkin,
And let him find it. Trifles light as air
Are to the jealous confirmations strong
As proofs of holy writ: this may do something.
The Moor already changes with my poison:
Dangerous conceits are in their natures poisons,
Which at the first are scarce found to distaste,
But, with a little act upon the blood,
Burn like the mines of sulphur.--I did say so:--
Look, where he comes!
Not poppy, nor mandragora,
Nor all the drowsy syrups of the world,
Shall ever medicine thee to that sweet sleep
Which thou ow'dst yesterday.

[Re-enter Othello.]

Ha! ha! false to me?

Why, how now, general! no more of that.

Avaunt! be gone! thou hast set me on the rack:--
I swear 'tis better to be much abus'd
Than but to know't a little.

How now, my lord!

What sense had I of her stol'n hours of lust?
I saw't not, thought it not, it harm'd not me:
I slept the next night well, was free and merry;
I found not Cassio's kisses on her lips:
He that is robb'd, not wanting what is stol'n,
Let him not know't and he's not robb'd at all.

I am sorry to hear this.

I had been happy if the general camp,
Pioners and all, had tasted her sweet body,
So I had nothing known. O, now, for ever
Farewell the tranquil mind! farewell content!
Farewell the plumed troop and the big wars
That make ambition virtue! O, farewell,
Farewell the neighing steed and the shrill trump,
The spirit-stirring drum, the ear-piercing fife,
The royal banner, and all quality,
Pride, pomp, and circumstance of glorious war!
And, O you mortal engines, whose rude throats
The immortal Jove's dread clamors counterfeit,
Farewell! Othello's occupation's gone!

Is't possible, my lord?--

Villain, be sure thou prove my love a whore;--
[Taking him by the throat.]
Be sure of it. Give me the ocular proof;
Or, by the worth of man's eternal soul,
Thou hadst been better have been born a dog
Than answer my wak'd wrath!

Is't come to this?

Make me to see't; or at the least so prove it,
That the probation bear no hinge nor loop
To hang a doubt on; or woe upon thy life!

My noble lord,--

If thou dost slander her and torture me,
Never pray more; abandon all remorse;
On horror's head horrors accumulate;
Do deeds to make heaven weep, all earth amaz'd;
For nothing canst thou to damnation add
Greater than that.

O grace! O heaven defend me!
Are you a man? have you a soul or sense?--
God be wi' you; take mine office.--O wretched fool,
That liv'st to make thine honesty a vice!--
O monstrous world! Take note, take note, O world,
To be direct and honest is not safe.--
I thank you for this profit; and from hence
I'll love no friend, sith love breeds such offense.

Nay, stay:--thou shouldst be honest.

I should be wise; for honesty's a fool,
And loses that it works for.

By the world,
I think my wife be honest, and think she is not;
I think that thou art just, and think thou art not:
I'll have some proof: her name, that was as fresh
As Dian's visage, is now begrim'd and black
As mine own face.--If there be cords or knives,
Poison or fire, or suffocating streams,
I'll not endure 't.--Would I were satisfied!

I see, sir, you are eaten up with passion:
I do repent me that I put it to you.
You would be satisfied?

Would! nay, I will.

And may: but how? how satisfied, my lord?
Would you, the supervisor, grossly gape on,--
Behold her tupp'd?

Death and damnation! O!

It were a tedious difficulty, I think,
To bring them to that prospect: damn them then,
If ever mortal eyes do see them bolster
More than their own! What then? how then?
What shall I say? Where's satisfaction?
It is impossible you should see this
Were they as prime as goats, as hot as monkeys,
As salt as wolves in pride, and fools as gross
As ignorance made drunk. But yet, I say,
If imputation and strong circumstances,--
Which lead directly to the door of truth,--
Will give you satisfaction, you may have't.

Give me a living reason she's disloyal.

I do not like the office;
But, sith I am enter'd in this cause so far,--
Prick'd to it by foolish honesty and love,--
I will go on. I lay with Cassio lately;
And, being troubled with a raging tooth,
I could not sleep.
There are a kind of men so loose of soul,
That in their sleeps will mutter their affairs:
One of this kind is Cassio:
In sleep I heard him say, "Sweet Desdemona,
Let us be wary, let us hide our loves";
And then, sir, would he gripe and wring my hand,
Cry, "O sweet creature!" and then kiss me hard,
As if he pluck'd up kisses by the roots,
That grew upon my lips: then laid his leg
Over my thigh, and sigh'd and kiss'd; and then
Cried, "Cursed fate that gave thee to the Moor!"

O monstrous! monstrous!

Nay, this was but his dream.

But this denoted a foregone conclusion:
'Tis a shrewd doubt, though it be but a dream.

And this may help to thicken other proofs
That do demonstrate thinly.

I'll tear her all to pieces.

Nay, but be wise: yet we see nothing done;
She may be honest yet. Tell me but this,--
Have you not sometimes seen a handkerchief
Spotted with strawberries in your wife's hand?

I gave her such a one; 'twas my first gift.

I know not that: but such a handkerchief,--
I am sure it was your wife's,--did I today
See Cassio wipe his beard with.

If it be that,--

If it be that, or any that was hers,
It speaks against her with the other proofs.

O, that the slave had forty thousand lives,--
One is too poor, too weak for my revenge!
Now do I see 'tis true.--Look here, Iago;
All my fond love thus do I blow to heaven:
'Tis gone.--
Arise, black vengeance, from thy hollow hell!
Yield up, O love, thy crown and hearted throne
To tyrannous hate! swell, bosom, with thy fraught,
For 'tis of aspics' tongues!

Yet be content.

O, blood, Iago, blood!

Patience, I say; your mind perhaps may change.

Never, Iago. Like to the Pontic Sea,
Whose icy current and compulsive course
Ne'er feels retiring ebb, but keeps due on
To the Propontic and the Hellespont;
Even so my bloody thoughts, with violent pace,
Shall ne'er look back, ne'er ebb to humble love,
Till that a capable and wide revenge
Swallow them up.--Now, by yond marble heaven,
In the due reverence of a sacred vow [Kneels.]
I here engage my words.

Do not rise yet.-- [Kneels.]
Witness, you ever-burning lights above,
You elements that clip us round about,--
Witness that here Iago doth give up
The execution of his wit, hands, heart,
To wrong'd Othello's service! Let him command,
And to obey shall be in me remorse,
What bloody business ever. [They rise.]

I greet thy love,
Not with vain thanks, but with acceptance bounteous,
And will upon the instant put thee to't:
Within these three days let me hear thee say
That Cassio's not alive.

My friend is dead; 'tis done at your request:
But let her live.

Damn her, lewd minx! O, damn her!
Come, go with me apart; I will withdraw
To furnish me with some swift means of death
For the fair devil. Now art thou my lieutenant.

I am your own for ever.


SCENE IV. Cyprus. Before the Castle.

[Enter Desdemona, Emilia, and Clown.]

Do you know, sirrah, where Lieutenant Cassio lies?

I dare not say he lies anywhere.

Why, man?

He's a soldier; and for one to say a soldier lies is stabbing.

Go to: where lodges he?

To tell you where he lodges is to tell you where I lie.

Can anything be made of this?

I know not where he lodges; and for me to devise a lodging,
and say he lies here or he lies there were to lie in mine
own throat.

Can you inquire him out, and be edified by report?

I will catechize the world for him; that is, make questions
and by them answer.

Seek him, bid him come hither: tell him I have moved my lord
on his behalf, and hope all will be well.

To do this is within the compass of man's wit; and therefore
I will attempt the doing it.


Where should I lose that handkerchief, Emilia?

I know not, madam.

Believe me, I had rather have lost my purse
Full of crusadoes: and, but my noble Moor
Is true of mind and made of no such baseness
As jealous creatures are, it were enough
To put him to ill thinking.

Is he not jealous?

Who, he? I think the sun where he was born
Drew all such humours from him.

Look, where he comes.

I will not leave him now till Cassio
Be call'd to him.

[Enter Othello.]

How is't with you, my lord?

Well, my good lady.--[Aside.] O, hardness to dissemble!--
How do you, Desdemona?

Well, my good lord.

Give me your hand: this hand is moist, my lady.

It yet hath felt no age nor known no sorrow.

This argues fruitfulness and liberal heart:--
Hot, hot, and moist: this hand of yours requires
A sequester from liberty, fasting, and prayer,
Much castigation, exercise devout;
For here's a young and sweating devil here
That commonly rebels. 'Tis a good hand,
A frank one.

You may, indeed, say so;
For 'twas that hand that gave away my heart.

A liberal hand: the hearts of old gave hands;
But our new heraldry is hands, not hearts.

I cannot speak of this. Come now, your promise.

What promise, chuck?

I have sent to bid Cassio come speak with you.

I have a salt and sorry rheum offends me;
Lend me thy handkerchief.

Here, my lord.

That which I gave you.

I have it not about me.


No, faith, my lord.

That is a fault. That handkerchief
Did an Egyptian to my mother give;
She was a charmer, and could almost read
The thoughts of people: she told her, while she kept it,
'Twould make her amiable and subdue my father
Entirely to her love; but if she lost it
Or made a gift of it, my father's eye
Should hold her loathed, and his spirits should hunt
After new fancies: she, dying, gave it me;
And bid me, when my fate would have me wive,
To give it her. I did so: and take heed on't;
Make it a darling like your precious eye;
To lose't or give't away were such perdition
As nothing else could match.

Is't possible?

'Tis true: there's magic in the web of it:
A sibyl, that had number'd in the world
The sun to course two hundred compasses,
In her prophetic fury sew'd the work;
The worms were hallow'd that did breed the silk;
And it was dy'd in mummy which the skillful
Conserv'd of maiden's hearts.

Indeed! is't true?

Most veritable; therefore look to't well.

Then would to God that I had never seen't!

Ha! wherefore?

Why do you speak so startingly and rash?

Is't lost? is't gone? speak, is it out of the way?

Heaven bless us!

Say you?

It is not lost; but what an if it were?


I say, it is not lost.

Fetch't, let me see't.

Why, so I can, sir, but I will not now.
This is a trick to put me from my suit:
Pray you, let Cassio be receiv'd again.

Fetch me the handkerchief: my mind misgives.

Come, come;
You'll never meet a more sufficient man.

The handkerchief!

I pray, talk me of Cassio.

The handkerchief!

A man that all his time
Hath founded his good fortunes on your love,
Shar'd dangers with you,--

The handkerchief!

In sooth, you are to blame.



Is not this man jealous?

I ne'er saw this before.
Sure there's some wonder in this handkerchief;
I am most unhappy in the loss of it.

'Tis not a year or two shows us a man:
They are all but stomachs and we all but food:
They eat us hungerly, and when they are full,
They belch us.--Look you,--Cassio and my husband.

[Enter Cassio and Iago.]

There is no other way; 'tis she must do't:
And, lo, the happiness! go and importune her.

How now, good Cassio! what's the news with you?

Madam, my former suit: I do beseech you
That by your virtuous means I may again
Exist, and be a member of his love,
Whom I, with all the office of my heart,
Entirely honour: I would not be delay'd.
If my offence be of such mortal kind
That nor my service past, nor present sorrows,
Nor purpos'd merit in futurity,
Can ransom me into his love again,
But to know so must be my benefit;
So shall I clothe me in a forc'd content,
And shut myself up in some other course,
To fortune's alms.

Alas, thrice-gentle Cassio!
My advocation is not now in tune;
My lord is not my lord; nor should I know him
Were he in favour as in humour alter'd.
So help me every spirit sanctified,
As I have spoken for you all my best,
And stood within the blank of his displeasure
For my free speech! You must awhile be patient:
What I can do I will; and more I will
Than for myself I dare: let that suffice you.

Is my lord angry?

He went hence but now,
And certainly in strange unquietness.

Can he be angry? I have seen the cannon,
When it hath blown his ranks into the air
And, like the devil, from his very arm
Puff'd his own brother;--and can he be angry?
Something of moment, then: I will go meet him:
There's matter in't indeed if he be angry.

I pr'ythee, do so.

[Exit Iago.]

Something sure of state,--
Either from Venice or some unhatch'd practice
Made demonstrable here in Cyprus to him,--
Hath puddled his clear spirit, and in such cases
Men's natures wrangle with inferior things,
Though great ones are their object. 'Tis even so;
For let our finger ache, and it indues
Our other healthful members even to that sense
Of pain: nay, we must think men are not gods,
Nor of them look for such observancy
As fits the bridal.--Beshrew me much, Emilia,
I was,--unhandsome warrior as I am,--
Arraigning his unkindness with my soul;
But now I find I had suborn'd the witness,
And he's indicted falsely.

Pray heaven it be state matters, as you think,
And no conception nor no jealous toy
Concerning you.

Alas the day, I never gave him cause!

But jealous souls will not be answer'd so;
They are not ever jealous for the cause,
But jealous for they are jealous: 'tis a monster
Begot upon itself, born on itself.

Heaven keep that monster from Othello's mind!

Lady, amen.

I will go seek him.--Cassio, walk hereabout:
If I do find him fit, I'll move your suit,
And seek to effect it to my uttermost.

I humbly thank your ladyship.

[Exeunt Desdemona and Emilia.]

[Enter Bianca.]

Save you, friend Cassio!

What make you from home?
How is it with you, my most fair Bianca?
I'faith, sweet love, I was coming to your house.

And I was going to your lodging, Cassio.
What, keep a week away? seven days and nights?
Eight score eight hours? and lovers' absent hours,
More tedious than the dial eight score times?
O weary reckoning!

Pardon me, Bianca:
I have this while with leaden thoughts been press'd;
But I shall in a more continuate time
Strike off this score of absence. Sweet Bianca,

[Giving her Desdemona's handkerchief.]

Take me this work out.

O Cassio, whence came this?
This is some token from a newer friend.
To the felt absence now I feel a cause:
Is't come to this? Well, well.

Go to, woman!
Throw your vile guesses in the devil's teeth,
From whence you have them. You are jealous now
That this is from some mistress, some remembrance:
No, in good troth, Bianca.

Why, whose is it?

I know not neither: I found it in my chamber.
I like the work well: ere it be demanded,--
As like enough it will,--I'd have it copied:
Take it, and do't; and leave me for this time.

Leave you! wherefore?

I do attend here on the general;
And think it no addition, nor my wish,
To have him see me woman'd.

Why, I pray you?

Not that I love you not.

But that you do not love me.
I pray you, bring me on the way a little;
And say if I shall see you soon at night.

'Tis but a little way that I can bring you,
For I attend here: but I'll see you soon.

'Tis very good; I must be circumstanc'd.



SCENE I. Cyprus. Before the Castle.

[Enter Othello and Iago.]

Will you think so?

Think so, Iago?

To kiss in private?

An unauthoriz'd kiss.

Or to be naked with her friend in bed
An hour or more, not meaning any harm?

Naked in bed, Iago, and not mean harm!
It is hypocrisy against the devil:
They that mean virtuously and yet do so,
The devil their virtue tempts, and they tempt heaven.

So they do nothing, 'tis a venial slip:
But if I give my wife a handkerchief,--

What then?

Why, then, 'tis hers, my lord, and being hers,
She may, I think, bestow't on any man.

She is protectress of her honour too:
May she give that?

Her honour is an essence that's not seen;
They have it very oft that have it not:
But, for the handkerchief,--

By heaven, I would most gladly have forgot it:--
Thou said'st,--O, it comes o'er my memory,
As doth the raven o'er the infected house,
Boding to all,--he had my handkerchief.

Ay, what of that?

That's not so good now.

If I had said I had seen him do you wrong?
Or heard him say,--as knaves be such abroad,
Who having, by their own importunate suit,
Or voluntary dotage of some mistress,
Convinced or supplied them, cannot choose
But they must blab,--

Hath he said anything?

He hath, my lord; but be you well assur'd,
No more than he'll unswear.

What hath he said?

Faith, that he did,--I know not what he did.

What? what?


With her?

With her, on her, what you will.

Lie with her! lie on her!--We say lie on her when they belie
her.--Lie with her! that's fulsome.--Handkerchief--confessions--
handkerchief!--To confess, and be hanged for his labour,--first,
to be hanged, and then to confess.--I tremble at it. Nature
would not invest herself in such shadowing passion without some
instruction. It is not words that shake me thus:--pish!--noses,
ears, and lips.--Is't possible?--Confess,--handkerchief!--O

[Falls in a trance.]

Work on,
My medicine, work! Thus credulous fools are caught;
And many worthy and chaste dames even thus,
All guiltless, meet reproach.--What, ho! my lord!
My lord, I say! Othello!

[Enter Cassio.]

How now, Cassio!

What's the matter?

My lord is fallen into an epilepsy:
This is his second fit; he had one yesterday.

Rub him about the temples.

No, forbear;
The lethargy must have his quiet course:
If not, he foams at mouth, and by and by
Breaks out to savage madness. Look, he stirs:
Do you withdraw yourself a little while,
He will recover straight: when he is gone,
I would on great occasion speak with you.

[Exit Cassio.]

How is it, general? have you not hurt your head?

Dost thou mock me?

I mock you! no, by heaven.
Would you would bear your fortune like a man!

A horned man's a monster and a beast.

There's many a beast, then, in a populous city,
And many a civil monster.

Did he confess it?

Good sir, be a man;
Think every bearded fellow that's but yok'd
May draw with you: there's millions now alive
That nightly lie in those unproper beds
Which they dare swear peculiar: your case is better.
O, 'tis the spite of hell, the fiend's arch-mock,
To lip a wanton in a secure couch,
And to suppose her chaste! No, let me know;
And knowing what I am, I know what she shall be.

O, thou art wise; 'tis certain.

Stand you awhile apart;
Confine yourself but in a patient list.
Whilst you were here o'erwhelmed with your grief,--
A passion most unsuiting such a man,--
Cassio came hither: I shifted him away,
And laid good 'scuse upon your ecstasy;
Bade him anon return, and here speak with me;
The which he promis'd. Do but encave yourself,
And mark the fleers, the gibes, and notable scorns,
That dwell in every region of his face;
For I will make him tell the tale anew,--
Where, how, how oft, how long ago, and when
He hath, and is again to cope your wife:
I say, but mark his gesture. Marry, patience;
Or I shall say you are all in all in spleen,
And nothing of a man.

Dost thou hear, Iago?
I will be found most cunning in my patience;
But,--dost thou hear?--most bloody.

That's not amiss;
But yet keep time in all. Will you withdraw?

[Othello withdraws.]

Now will I question Cassio of Bianca,
A housewife that, by selling her desires,
Buys herself bread and clothes: it is a creature
That dotes on Cassio,--as 'tis the strumpet's plague

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