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Welcome to The Folger Shakespeare


From the Director of the Folger ShakespeareLibraryTextual IntroductionSynopsisCharacters in the Play

ACT 1Scene 1Scene 2Scene 3

ACT 2Scene 1Scene 2Scene 3


Scene 1Scene 2Scene 3Scene 4

ACT 4Scene 1Scene 2Scene 3

ACT 5 Scene 1Scene 2


Michael WitmoreDirector, Folger Shakespeare Library

It is hard to imagine a world without Shakespeare. Since theircomposition four hundred years ago, Shakespeare’s plays and poemshave traveled the globe, inviting those who see and read his works tomake them their own.

Readers of the New Folger Editions are part of this ongoing processof “taking up Shakespeare,” finding our own thoughts and feelingsin language that strikes us as old or unusual and, for that very reason,new. We still struggle to keep up with a writer who could think amile a minute, whose words paint pictures that shift like clouds.These expertly edited texts are presented to the public as a resourcefor study, artistic adaptation, and enjoyment. By making the classictexts of the New Folger Editions available in electronic form as TheFolger Shakespeare (formerly Folger Digital Texts), we place atrusted resource in the hands of anyone who wants them.

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I want to express my deep thanks to editors Barbara Mowat and PaulWerstine for creating these indispensable editions of Shakespeare’sworks, which incorporate the best of textual scholarship with arichness of commentary that is both inspired and engaging. Readerswho want to know more about Shakespeare and his plays can followthe paths these distinguished scholars have tread by visiting theFolger either in-person or online, where a range of physical anddigital resources exists to supplement the material in these texts. Icommend to you these words, and hope that they inspire.

From the Director of the Folger ShakespeareLibrary

Until now, with the release of The Folger Shakespeare (formerlyFolger Digital Texts), readers in search of a free online text ofShakespeare’s plays had to be content primarily with using theMoby™ Text, which reproduces a late-nineteenth century version ofthe plays. What is the difference? Many ordinary readers assume thatthere is a single text for the plays: what Shakespeare wrote. ButShakespeare’s plays were not published the way modern novels orplays are published today: as a single, authoritative text. In somecases, the plays have come down to us in multiple publishedversions, represented by various Quartos (Qq) and by the greatcollection put together by his colleagues in 1623, called the FirstFolio (F). There are, for example, three very different versions ofHamlet, two of King Lear, Henry V, Romeo and Juliet, and others.Editors choose which version to use as their base text, and thenamend that text with words, lines or speech prefixes from the otherversions that, in their judgment, make for a better or more accuratetext.

Other editorial decisions involve choices about whether anunfamiliar word could be understood in light of other writings of theperiod or whether it should be changed; decisions about words thatmade it into Shakespeare’s text by accident through four hundredyears of printings and misprinting; and even decisions based oncultural preference and taste. When the Moby™ Text was created,for example, it was deemed “improper” and “indecent” for Mirandato chastise Caliban for having attempted to rape her. (See TheTempest, 1.2: “Abhorred slave,/Which any print of goodness wilt nottake,/Being capable of all ill! I pitied thee…”). All Shakespeareeditors at the time took the speech away from her and gave it to herfather, Prospero.

The editors of the Moby™ Shakespeare produced their text longbefore scholars fully understood the proper grounds on which tomake the thousands of decisions that Shakespeare editors face. TheFolger Library Shakespeare Editions, on which the FolgerShakespeare texts depend, make this editorial process as nearlytransparent as is possible, in contrast to older texts, like the Moby™,which hide editorial interventions. The reader of the FolgerShakespeare knows where the text has been altered because editorialinterventions are signaled by square brackets (for example, fromOthello: “ If she in chains of magic were not bound, ”), half-squarebrackets (for example, from Henry V: “With blood and sword andfire to win your right,”), or angle brackets (for example, from

Textual IntroductionBy Barbara Mowat and Paul Werstine

Hamlet: “O farewell, honest soldier. Who hath relieved/you?”). Atany point in the text, you can hover your cursor over a bracket formore information.

Because the Folger Shakespeare texts are edited in accord withtwenty-first century knowledge about Shakespeare’s texts, the Folgerhere provides them to readers, scholars, teachers, actors, directors,and students, free of charge, confident of their quality as texts of theplays and pleased to be able to make this contribution to the studyand enjoyment of Shakespeare.

In Venice, at the start of Othello, the soldier Iago announces hishatred for his commander, Othello, a Moor. Othello has promotedCassio, not Iago, to be his lieutenant.

Iago crudely informs Brabantio, Desdemona’s father, that Othelloand Desdemona have eloped. Before the Venetian Senate, Brabantioaccuses Othello of bewitching Desdemona. The Senators wish tosend Othello to Cyprus, which is under threat from Turkey. Theybring Desdemona before them. She tells of her love for Othello, andthe marriage stands. The Senate agrees to let her join Othello inCyprus.

In Cyprus, Iago continues to plot against Othello and Cassio. Helures Cassio into a drunken fight, for which Cassio loses his newrank; Cassio, at Iago’s urging, then begs Desdemona to intervene.Iago uses this and other ploys—misinterpreted conversations,insinuations, and a lost handkerchief—to convince Othello thatDesdemona and Cassio are lovers. Othello goes mad with jealousyand later smothers Desdemona on their marriage bed, only to learnof Iago’s treachery. He then kills himself.


OTHELLO, a Moorish general in the Venetian armyDESDEMONA, a Venetian ladyBRABANTIO, a Venetian senator, father to Desdemona

IAGO, Othello’s standard-bearer, or “ancient”EMILIA, Iago’s wife and Desdemona’s attendant

CASSIO, Othello’s second-in-command, or lieutenantRODERIGO, a Venetian gentleman

Duke of Venice

Venetian senators

MONTANO, an official in CyprusBIANCA, a woman in Cyprus in love with CassioClown, a comic servant to Othello and DesdemonaGentlemen of CyprusSailors

Servants, Attendants, Officers, Messengers, Herald, Musicians,Torchbearers.

Characters in the Play

Venetian gentlemen, kinsmen to BrabantioLODOVICOGRATIANO





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’ll not hear me! If ever I did dream of such a matter, Abhor me.

Thou toldst 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-capped 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 bombast circumstance, Horribly stuffed 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 damned in a fair wife,



Scene 1

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9 Othello ACT 1. SC. 1





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 togèd consuls can propose As masterly as he. Mere prattle without practice Is all his soldiership. But he, sir, had th’ election; And I, of whom his eyes had seen the proof At Rhodes, at Cyprus, and on other grounds Christened and heathen, must be beleed and

calmed By debitor and creditor. This countercaster, 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 th’ first. Now, sir, be judge yourself Whether I in any just term am affined 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 followed. 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 naught but provender, and when he’s old,

cashiered. Whip me such honest knaves! Others there are Who, trimmed in forms and visages of duty, Keep yet their hearts attending on themselves,

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11 Othello ACT 1. SC. 1







And, throwing but shows of service on their lords, Do well thrive by them; and when they have lined

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 chances 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!

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Look to your house, your daughter, and your bags! Thieves, thieves!

Enter Brabantio, above.

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 robbed. 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 distemp’ring draughts, Upon malicious bravery dost thou come To start my quiet.

Sir, sir, sir— But thou must needs be sure

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15 Othello ACT 1. SC. 1








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 jennets 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’ th’ 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.

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17 Othello ACT 1. SC. 1


He exits.IAGO

He exits.


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!

, to Roderigo Farewell, for I must leave you. It seems not meet nor wholesome to my place To be producted, 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 embarked With such loud reason to the Cyprus wars, Which even now stands 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 raisèd search, And there will I be with him. So, farewell.

Enter Brabantio in his nightgown, with Servants andTorches.

It is too true an evil. Gone she is, And what’s to come of my despisèd time

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19 Othello ACT 1. SC. 1





They exit.

Is naught but bitterness.—Now, Roderigo, Where didst thou see her?—O, unhappy girl!— With the Moor, sayst 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.—Is 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 will deserve your pains.

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21 Othello ACT 1. SC. 2





Enter Othello, Iago, Attendants, with Torches.

Though in the trade of war I have slain men, Yet do I hold it very stuff o’ th’ conscience To do no contrived murder. I lack iniquity Sometimes to do me service. Nine or ten times I had thought t’ have yerked him here under the


’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 or 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 reached. For know, Iago, But that I love the gentle Desdemona, I would not my unhousèd free condition Put into circumscription and confine For the sea’s worth. But look, what lights come


Scene 2

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23 Othello ACT 1. SC. 2










Those are the raisèd 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, with Officers, and 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, raised and met, Are at the Duke’s already. You have been hotly

called 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 tonight hath boarded a land carrack. If it prove lawful prize, he’s made forever.

I do not understand.

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25 Othello ACT 1. SC. 2






They draw their swords.IAGO



He’s married. To who?

Marry, to—

Reenter Othello.

Come, captain, will you go? Have with you.

Here comes another troop to seek for you.

Enter Brabantio, Roderigo, with Officers, and Torches.

It is Brabantio. General, be advised, He comes to bad intent.

Holla, stand there!

Signior, it is the Moor. Down with him,


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 stowed my

daughter? Damned 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 shunned The wealthy curlèd darlings of our nation, Would ever have, t’ incur a general mock,

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27 Othello ACT 1. SC. 2






They exit.

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 practiced on her with foul charms, Abused her delicate youth with drugs or minerals That weakens 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 practicer 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.—Whither 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, Bondslaves and pagans shall our statesmen be.

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29 Othello ACT 1. SC. 3








He exits.DUKE


Enter Duke, Senators, and Officers.

, reading a paper There’s no composition in these news That gives them credit.

, reading a paper Indeed, they are disproportioned. My letters say a hundred and seven galleys.

And mine, a hundred forty.

, reading a paper 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 judgment. 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!

Enter Sailor.

A messenger from the galleys. 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 Th’ importancy of Cyprus to the Turk,

Scene 3

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31 Othello ACT 1. SC. 3






He exits.DUKE



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 th’ abilities That Rhodes is dressed in—if we make thought of

this, We must not think the Turk is so unskillful 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 restem 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. Dispatch.

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33 Othello ACT 1. SC. 3







Here comes Brabantio and the valiant Moor.

Enter Brabantio, Othello, Cassio, Iago, Roderigo, andOfficers.

Valiant Othello, we must straight employ you Against the general enemy Ottoman. To Brabantio. I did not see you. Welcome, gentle

signior. We lacked your counsel and your help tonight.

So did I yours. Good your Grace, pardon me. Neither my place nor aught I heard of business Hath raised me from my bed, nor doth the general

care Take hold on me, for my particular grief Is of so floodgate 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! Dead?

Ay, to me. She is abused, stol’n from me, and corrupted By spells and medicines bought of mountebanks; For nature so prepost’rously 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.

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35 Othello ACT 1. SC. 3





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 approved 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 blessed with the soft phrase of peace; For since these arms of mine had seven years’ pith, Till now some nine moons wasted, they have used 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 unvarnished 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 Blushed at herself. And she, in spite of nature, Of years, of country, credit, everything, To fall in love with what she feared to look on! It is a judgment maimed and most imperfect

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37 Othello ACT 1. SC. 3





Iago and Attendants exit.


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 conjured 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 forcèd 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.

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 loved me, oft invited me, Still questioned me the story of my life

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39 Othello ACT 1. SC. 3

From year to year—the battles, sieges, fortunes That I have passed. I ran it through, even from my boyish days To th’ very moment that he bade me tell it, Wherein I spoke of most disastrous chances: Of moving accidents by flood and field, Of hairbreadth ’scapes i’ th’ imminent deadly

breach, Of being taken by the insolent foe And sold to slavery, of my redemption thence, And portance in my traveler’s 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 my process— And of the cannibals that each other eat, The Anthropophagi, and men whose heads Do grow beneath their shoulders. These things to

hear Would Desdemona seriously incline. But still the house affairs would draw her thence, Which ever as she could with haste dispatch 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 suffered. 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.

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41 Othello ACT 1. SC. 3





She wished she had not heard it, yet she wished That heaven had made her such a man. She thanked

me, And bade me, if I had a friend that loved her, I should but teach him how to tell my story, And that would woo her. Upon this hint I spake. She loved me for the dangers I had passed, And I loved her that she did pity them. This only is the witchcraft I have used. Here comes the lady. Let her witness it.

Enter Desdemona, Iago, 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 showed 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.

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43 Othello ACT 1. SC. 3



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 favor. 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 mock’ry makes. The robbed 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 bruised heart was piercèd through the

ear. I humbly beseech you, proceed to th’ affairs of


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45 Othello ACT 1. SC. 3






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 boist’rous expedition.

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 This 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.

Why, at her father’s.

I will not have it so. Nor I.

Nor would I 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 T’ assist my simpleness.

What would you, Desdemona?

That I love the Moor to live with him My downright violence and storm of fortunes May trumpet to the world. My heart’s subdued Even to the very quality of my lord.

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47 Othello ACT 1. SC. 3






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 why 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 voice. 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-winged toys Of feathered Cupid seel with wanton dullness My speculative and officed 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. Th’ affair cries haste, And speed must answer it.

You must away tonight.

With all my heart.

At nine i’ th’ 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.

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49 Othello ACT 1. SC. 3





He exits.OTHELLO

The Duke, the Senators, Cassio, and Officers exit.



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 deceived her father, and may thee.

My life upon her faith!

Honest Iago, My Desdemona must I leave to thee. I prithee 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.

Iago— What sayst thou, noble heart?

What will I do, think’st thou? Why, go to bed and sleep.

I will incontinently drown myself. If thou dost, I shall never love thee after. Why,

thou silly gentleman! It is silliness to live, when to live is torment,

and then have we a prescription to die when death is our physician.

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51 Othello ACT 1. SC. 3





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 our 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 prepost’rous 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 favor 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 in her, and thou shalt see an answerable sequestration

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53 Othello ACT 1. SC. 3





—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 bitter as coloquintida. She must change for youth. When she is sated with his body she will find the error of her choice. 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 retell 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 tomorrow. Adieu.

Where shall we meet i’ th’ 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. Go to, farewell. Put money enough in your


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55 Othello ACT 1. SC. 3


He exits.

I’ll sell all my land.

Thus do I ever make my fool my purse. For I mine own gained 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 ’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, framed 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 th’ nose As asses are. I have ’t. It is engendered. Hell and night Must bring this monstrous birth to the world’s light.

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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 ruffianed 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-shaked surge, with high and monstrous

mane, Seems to cast water on the burning Bear And quench the guards of th’ ever-fixèd pole. I never did like molestation view On the enchafèd flood.

If that the Turkish fleet Be not ensheltered and embayed, they are drowned. It is impossible to bear it out.



Scene 1

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61 Othello ACT 2. SC. 1









Enter a third Gentleman.

News, lads! Our wars are done. The desperate tempest hath so banged the Turks That their designment halts. A noble ship of Venice Hath seen a grievous wrack and sufferance On most part of their fleet.

How? Is this true?

The ship is here put in, A Veronesa. Michael Cassio, Lieutenant to the warlike Moor Othello, Is come on shore; the Moor himself 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 heaven he be; For I have served him, and the man commands Like a full soldier. Let’s to the seaside, 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 th’ 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

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63 Othello ACT 2. SC. 1


Voices cry within. “A sail, a sail, a sail!”








Give him defense against the elements, For I have lost him on a dangerous sea.

Is he well shipped?

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

Enter a Messenger.

What noise?

The town is empty; on the brow o’ th’ sea Stand ranks of people, and they cry “A sail!”

My hopes do shape him for the Governor.

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 arrived.

I shall.

But, good lieutenant, is your general wived?

Most fortunately. He hath achieved a maid That paragons description and wild fame, One that excels the quirks of blazoning pens, And in th’ essential vesture of creation Does tire the ingener.

Enter Second Gentleman.

How now? Who has put in?

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65 Othello ACT 2. SC. 1




He kneels.




’Tis one Iago, ancient to the General.

’Has had most favorable and happy speed! Tempests themselves, high seas, and howling winds, The guttered rocks and congregated sands (Traitors ensteeped 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 sennight’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 renewed fire to our extincted spirits, And bring all Cyprus comfort!

Enter Desdemona, Iago, Roderigo, and Emilia.

O, behold, The riches of the ship is come on shore! You men of Cyprus, let her have your knees.

Hail 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 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?

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67 Othello ACT 2. SC. 1


Within “A sail, a sail!” A shot.



Second Gentleman exits.

He kisses Emilia.







The great contention of sea and skies Parted our fellowship.

But hark, a sail!

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

See for the news.

Good ancient, you are welcome. 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.

Sir, would she give you so much of her lips As of her tongue she oft bestows on me, You would 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 door,

bells in your parlors, wildcats in your kitchens, saints in your injuries, devils being offended, players in your huswifery, and huswives in your beds.

Oh, 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.

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69 Othello ACT 2. SC. 1












No, let me not.

What wouldst 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., aside

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 frieze: it plucks out brains and all. But my muse labors, and thus she is delivered:

If she be fair and wise, fairness and wit, The one’s for use, the other useth it.

Well praised! 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 hit.

Worse and worse.

How if fair and foolish?

She never yet was foolish that was fair, For even her folly helped her to an heir.

These are old fond paradoxes to make fools laugh i’ th’ 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.

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71 Othello ACT 2. SC. 1






Cassio takes Desdemona’s hand.IAGO

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 lacked gold and yet went never gay, Fled from her wish, and yet said “Now I may,” She that being angered, 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 counselor?

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

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73 Othello ACT 2. SC. 1

Trumpets within.






They kiss.



again your fingers to your lips? Would they were clyster pipes for your sake! 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 wakened 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 That e’er our hearts shall make!

, aside O, you are well tuned 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


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75 Othello ACT 2. SC. 1

All but Iago and Roderigo exit.IAGO


How does my old acquaintance of this isle?— Honey, you shall be well desired 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 prithee, 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.

, to a departing Attendant Do thou meet me presently at the harbor. To Roderigo. 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 tonight 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 favor, 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 eminent in the degree of

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77 Othello ACT 2. SC. 1





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 compassing 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’s full of most blessed condition.

Blessed 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, th’ incorporate conclusion. Pish! But, sir, be you ruled by me. I have brought you from Venice. Watch you tonight. 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 favorably minister.

Well. Sir, he’s rash and very sudden in choler, and

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79 Othello ACT 2. SC. 1




haply 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 you 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 ’t. 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 leaped 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 evened with him, wife for wife, Or, failing so, yet that I put the Moor At least into a jealousy so strong That judgment cannot cure. Which thing to do, If this poor trash of Venice, whom I trace 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 nightcap too),

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81 Othello ACT 2. SC. 2/3

He exits.


He exits.



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 confused. Knavery’s plain face is never seen till used.

Enter Othello’s Herald with a proclamation.

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 addition 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!

Enter Othello, Desdemona, Cassio, and Attendants.

Good Michael, look you to the guard tonight. Let’s teach ourselves that honorable stop Not to outsport discretion.

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

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83 Othello ACT 2. SC. 3


Othello and Desdemona exit, with Attendants.









Iago is most honest. Michael, goodnight. Tomorrow 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.— Goodnight.

Enter Iago.

Welcome, Iago. We must to the watch.

Not this hour, lieutenant. ’Tis not yet ten o’ th’ 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’s 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 alarum 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 tonight, 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.

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85 Othello ACT 2. SC. 3







I have drunk but one cup tonight, 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 tonight already, He’ll be as full of quarrel and offense As my young mistress’ dog. Now my sick fool

Roderigo, Whom love hath turned almost the wrong side out, To Desdemona hath tonight caroused Potations pottle-deep; and he’s to watch. Three else of Cyprus, noble swelling spirits That hold their honors in a wary distance, The very elements of this warlike isle, Have I tonight flustered 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.

Enter Cassio, Montano, and Gentlemen, followed byServants with wine.

’Fore God, they have given me a rouse already.

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

Some wine, ho!

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87 Othello ACT 2. SC. 3








Sings. And let me the cannikin clink, clink, And let me the cannikin 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 exquisite 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!

Sings. King Stephen was and-a worthy peer, His breeches cost him but a crown; He held them sixpence all too dear; With that he called 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 thy auld cloak about thee.

Some wine, ho! ’Fore God, this is a more exquisite song than

the other! Will you hear ’t 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.

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89 Othello ACT 2. SC. 3




He exits.MONTANO

Gentlemen exit.IAGO



It’s true, good lieutenant. For mine own part—no offense 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. God 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 th’ platform, masters. Come, let’s set the watch.

, to Montano You see this fellow that is gone before? He’s 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 th’ 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?

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91 Othello ACT 2. SC. 3


Roderigo exits.MONTANO


“Help, help!” within.





They fight.IAGO

Roderigo exits.

A bell is rung.

Enter Roderigo.

, aside to Roderigo How now, Roderigo? I pray you, after the Lieutenant, go.

And ’tis great pity that the noble Moor Should hazard such a place as his own second With one of an engraffed 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?

Enter Cassio, pursuing Roderigo.

Zounds, 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?

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. Drunk?

, aside to Roderigo Away, I say! Go out and cry a mutiny.

Nay, good lieutenant.— God’s will, gentlemen!— Help, ho! Lieutenant—sir—Montano— sir — Help, masters!—Here’s a goodly watch indeed!

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93 Othello ACT 2. SC. 3



He attacks Cassio.OTHELLOIAGO



Who’s that which rings the bell? Diablo, ho! The town will rise. God’s will, lieutenant, hold! You will be shamed forever.

Enter Othello and Attendants.

What is the matter here?

Zounds, I bleed still.

I am hurt to th’ death. He dies! 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, for shame!

Why, how now, ho! From whence ariseth this? Are we turned 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 looks 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 Divesting 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!

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95 Othello ACT 2. SC. 3






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 judgment collied, Assays to lead the way. Zounds, if I 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 approved in this offense, Though he had twinned 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?

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If partially affined, or leagued 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 offense 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 determined sword To execute upon him. Sir, this gentlemanPointing to Montano.

Steps in to Cassio and entreats his pause. Myself the crying fellow did pursue, Lest by his clamor—as it so fell out— The town might fall in fright. He, swift of foot, Outran my purpose, and I returned the rather For that I heard the clink and fall of swords And Cassio high in oath, which till tonight 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, received 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 nevermore be officer of mine.

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99 Othello ACT 2. SC. 3



Montano is led off.

All but Iago and Cassio exit.IAGOCASSIOIAGOCASSIO



Enter Desdemona attended.

Look if my gentle love be not raised up! I’ll make thee an example.

What is the matter, dear?

All’s well now, sweeting.

Come away to bed. To Montano. 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 soldier’s life To have their balmy slumbers waked with strife.

What, are you hurt, lieutenant? Ay, past all surgery.

Marry, God 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 offenseless dog to affright an imperious lion. Sue to him again and he’s yours.

I will rather sue to be despised than to deceive so good a commander with so slight, so drunken,

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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 beasts!

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 so 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 unblessed, 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

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103 Othello ACT 2. SC. 3




CASSIO Cassio exits.IAGO

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 watch.

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 Th’ inclining Desdemona to subdue In any honest suit. She’s framed 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 redeemèd sin— His soul is so enfettered 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

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105 Othello ACT 2. SC. 3



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 tonight exceedingly well cudgeled, 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 cashiered Cassio. Though other things grow fair against the sun, Yet fruits that blossom first will first be ripe. Content thyself awhile. By th’ Mass, ’tis morning! Pleasure and action make the hours seem short. Retire thee; go where thou art billeted.

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107 Othello ACT 2. SC. 3

Roderigo exits.

He exits.

Away, I say! Thou shalt know more hereafter. Nay, get thee gone.

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.

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They play.





Enter Cassio with Musicians.

Masters, play here (I will content your pains) Something that’s brief; and bid “Good morrow,


Enter the Clown.

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

How, sir, how? Are these, I pray you, wind instruments?

Ay, marry, are they, sir. O, thereby hangs a tail.

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!111


Scene 1

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113 Othello ACT 3. SC. 1

Musicians exit.CASSIOCLOWNCASSIO Giving money.


CASSIOClown exits.





Dost thou hear, mine honest friend? No, I hear not your honest friend. I hear you. Prithee, 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 favor 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.

Enter Iago.

In happy time, Iago. You have not been abed, 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. Iago exits. 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

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They exit.


He gives Iago some papers.



They exit.

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 Desdemon 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.

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 wait upon your Lordship.

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117 Othello ACT 3. SC. 3








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 assured 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,

Scene 3

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For thy solicitor shall rather die Than give thy cause away.

Enter Othello and Iago.

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.

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 guiltylike, Seeing your 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 judgment in an honest face. I prithee call him back.

Went he hence now?

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Yes, faith, 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 tonight at supper? No, not tonight.

Tomorrow dinner, then? I shall not dine at home;

I meet the captains at the citadel.

Why then tomorrow night, or Tuesday morn, On Tuesday noon or night; on Wednesday morn. I prithee 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 example Out of her best—is not almost a fault T’ 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 mamm’ring on? What? Michael Cassio, That came a-wooing 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! By ’r Lady, I could do much—

Prithee, 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,

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123 Othello ACT 3. SC. 3





Desdemona and Emilia exit.OTHELLO








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.

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 wooed 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?

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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, thou echo’st me As if there were some monster in thy thought Too hideous to be shown. Thou dost mean

something. I heard thee say even now, thou lik’st 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 cried’st

“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 dilations 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.

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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 prithee 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 that breast so

pure But some uncleanly apprehensions Keep leets and law days and in sessions sit With meditations lawful?

Thou dost conspire against thy friend, Iago, If thou but think’st him wronged 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 oft my jealousy Shapes faults that are not—that your wisdom 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, and wisdom, To let you know my thoughts.

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129 Othello ACT 3. SC. 3







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-eyed 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 damnèd 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 God, 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 resolved. Exchange me for a goat When I shall turn the business of my soul

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131 Othello ACT 3. SC. 3




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 this, 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 eyes thus, not jealous nor secure. I would not have your free and noble nature, Out of self-bounty, be abused. Look to ’t. I know our country disposition well. In Venice they do let God see the pranks They dare not show their husbands. Their best

conscience Is not to leave ’t undone, but keep ’t unknown.

Dost thou say so?

She did deceive her father, marrying you, And when she seemed 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 seel her father’s eyes up close as oak, He thought ’twas witchcraft! But I am much to


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133 Othello ACT 3. SC. 3









I humbly do beseech you of your pardon For too much loving you.

I am bound to thee forever.

I see this hath a little dashed your spirits.

Not a jot, not a jot. I’ faith, I fear it has.

I hope you will consider what is spoke Comes from my love. But I do see you’re moved. 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 As my thoughts aim not at. Cassio’s my worthy

friend. My lord, I see you’re moved.

No, not much moved. 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 proposèd 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 judgment, May fall to match you with her country forms And happily repent.

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135 Othello ACT 3. SC. 3





Farewell, farewell! If more thou dost perceive, let me know more. Set on thy wife to observe. Leave me, Iago.

, beginning to exit 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 Honor To scan this thing no farther. Leave it to time. Although ’tis 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 Honor.

Fear not my government. I once more take my leave.

This fellow’s of exceeding honesty, And knows all qualities with a learnèd 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 declined Into the vale of years—yet that’s not much— She’s gone, I am abused, 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

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137 Othello ACT 3. SC. 3






The handkerchief falls, unnoticed.


Othello and Desdemona exit.EMILIA

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; Prerogatived are they less than the base. ’Tis destiny unshunnable, like death. Even then this forkèd plague is fated to us When we do quicken. Look where she comes.

Enter Desdemona and Emilia.

If she be false, heaven mocks itself! I’ll not believe ’t.

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. Let it alone.

Come, I’ll go in with you.

I am very sorry that you are not well.

, picking up the handkerchief I am glad I have found this napkin. This was her first remembrance from the Moor. My wayward husband hath a hundred times Wooed me to steal it. But she so loves the token (For he conjured her she should ever keep it) That she reserves it evermore about her

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139 Othello ACT 3. SC. 3








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.

Enter Iago.

How now? What do you here alone?

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

You have a thing for me? It is a common thing— Ha?

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 th’ advantage I, being here, took ’t up. Look, here ’tis.

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 is 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.

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141 Othello ACT 3. SC. 3

IAGOEmilia exits.





Be not acknown on ’t. I have use for it. Go, leave me. 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 sulfur.

Enter Othello.

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 owedst yesterday.

Ha, ha, false to me?

Why, how now, general? No more of that!

Avaunt! Begone! Thou hast set me on the rack. I swear ’tis better to be much abused 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 harmed not me. I slept the next night well, fed well, was free and

merry. I found not Cassio’s kisses on her lips. He that is robbed, not wanting what is stol’n, Let him not know ’t, and he’s not robbed at all.

I am sorry to hear this.

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143 Othello ACT 3. SC. 3






I had been happy if the general camp, Pioners and all, had tasted her sweet body, So I had nothing known. O, now, forever Farewell the tranquil mind! Farewell content! Farewell the plumèd troops and the big wars That makes ambition virtue! O, farewell! Farewell the neighing steed and the shrill trump, The spirit-stirring drum, th’ ear-piercing fife, The royal banner, and all quality, Pride, pomp, and circumstance of glorious war! And O you mortal engines, whose rude throats Th’ 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! Be sure of it. Give me the ocular proof, Or, by the worth of mine eternal soul, Thou hadst been better have been born a dog Than answer my waked 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 amazed; For nothing canst thou to damnation add Greater than that.

O grace! O heaven forgive me! Are you a man? Have you a soul or sense?

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145 Othello ACT 3. SC. 3






God b’ 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 begrimed and black As mine own face. If there be cords, or knives, Poison, or fire, or suffocating streams, I’ll not endure it. Would I were satisfied!

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

Would? Nay, and I will.

And may; but how? How satisfied, my lord? Would you, the supervisor, grossly gape on, Behold her topped?

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,

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147 Othello ACT 3. SC. 3








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 might have ’t.

Give me a living reason she’s disloyal.

I do not like the office, But sith I am entered in this cause so far, Pricked to ’t 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!” then kiss me hard, As if he plucked up kisses by the roots That grew upon my lips; then laid his leg O’er my thigh, and sighed, and kissed, and then Cried “Cursèd 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.

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149 Othello ACT 3. SC. 3







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 the 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, blood, 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. He kneels. Now by yond marble


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151 Othello ACT 3. SC. 4

IAGO Iago kneels.

They rise.OTHELLO



IAGOThey exit.



In the due reverence of a sacred vow, I here engage my words.

Do not rise yet. 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 wronged Othello’s service! Let him command, And to obey shall be in me remorse, What bloody business ever.

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, 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 forever.

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 me to say a soldier lies, ’tis stabbing.

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153 Othello ACT 3. SC. 4








Clown exits.DESDEMONA





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 humors from him.

Look where he comes.

Enter Othello.

I will not leave him now till Cassio Be called to him.—How is ’t with you, my lord?

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155 Othello ACT 3. SC. 4












Well, my good lady. Aside. O, hardness to

dissemble!— How do you, Desdemona?

Well, my good lord.

Give me your hand. He takes her hand. This hand is moist, my lady.

It yet has 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.


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157 Othello ACT 3. SC. 4








No, faith, my lord. That’s 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 loathèd, and his spirits should hunt After new fancies. She, dying, gave it me, And bid me, when my fate would have me wived, 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 sybil that had numbered in the world The sun to course two hundred compasses, In her prophetic fury sewed the work. The worms were hallowed that did breed the silk, And it was dyed in mummy, which the skillful Conserved of maidens’ hearts.

I’ faith, 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 ’t out o’ th’ way?

Heaven bless us! Say you?

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159 Othello ACT 3. SC. 4










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

How? I say it is not lost.

Fetch ’t. Let me see ’t!

Why, so I can. But I will not now. This is a trick to put me from my suit. Pray you, let Cassio be received again.

Fetch me the handkerchief! Aside. 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; Shared dangers with you—

The handkerchief!

I’ faith, you are to blame. Zounds!

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.

Enter Iago and Cassio.

Look you—Cassio and my husband.

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161 Othello ACT 3. SC. 4








, to Cassio 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 honor. I would not be delayed. If my offense be of such mortal kind That nor my service past nor present sorrows Nor purposed 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 forced 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 favor as in humor altered. 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

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163 Othello ACT 3. SC. 4







When it hath blown his ranks into the air And, like the devil, from his very arm Puffed his own brother—and is he angry? Something of moment then. I will go meet him. There’s matter in ’t indeed if he be angry.

I prithee do so.

Something, sure, of state, Either from Venice, or some unhatched 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 endues Our other healthful members even to a 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 suborned 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 answered so. They are not ever jealous for the cause, But jealous for they’re jealous. It is a monster Begot upon itself, born on itself.

Heaven keep that monster from Othello’s mind!

Lady, amen.

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165 Othello ACT 3. SC. 4



Desdemona and Emilia exit.





Giving her Desdemona’s handkerchief.



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.

Enter Bianca.

’Save you, friend Cassio!

What make you from home?

How is ’t 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, Eightscore eight hours, and lovers’ absent hours More tedious than the dial eightscore times? O weary reck’ning!

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

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, by my faith, Bianca.

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167 Othello ACT 3. SC. 4






They exit.

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 would 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 womaned.

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 circumstanced.

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Enter Othello and Iago.

Will you think so?

Think so, Iago? What,

To kiss in private? An unauthorized 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


If 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 honor, too. May she give that?



Scene 1

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173 Othello ACT 4. SC. 1









Her honor 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 saidst—O, it comes o’er my memory As doth the raven o’er the infectious house, Boding to all—he had my handkerchief.

Ay, what of that?

That’s not so good now. What

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, Convincèd or supplied them, cannot choose But they must blab)—

Hath he said anything?

He hath, my lord, but be you well assured, 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— Zounds, that’s fulsome! Handkerchief—confessions—handkerchief. To confess and be hanged for his labor. 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

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175 Othello ACT 4. SC. 1

He falls in a trance.IAGO




Cassio exits.





words that shakes me thus. Pish! Noses, ears, and lips—is ’t possible? Confess—handkerchief—O, devil!

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 fall’n 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.

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

Dost thou mock me? I mock you not, by heaven!

Would you would bear your fortune like a man!

A hornèd man’s a monster and a beast.

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

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177 Othello ACT 4. SC. 1






Othello withdraws.

Did he confess it?

Good sir, be a man! Think every bearded fellow that’s but yoked 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’erwhelmèd with your grief— A passion most unsuiting such a man— Cassio came hither. I shifted him away And laid good ’scuses upon your ecstasy, Bade him anon return and here speak with me, The which he promised. 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’re 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?

Now will I question Cassio of Bianca, A huswife that by selling her desires Buys herself bread and clothes. It is a creature

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179 Othello ACT 4. SC. 1










That dotes on Cassio—as ’tis the strumpet’s plague To beguile many and be beguiled by one. He, when he hears of her, cannot restrain From the excess of laughter. Here he comes.

Enter Cassio.

As he shall smile, Othello shall go mad, And his unbookish jealousy must construe Poor Cassio’s smiles, gestures, and light behaviors Quite in the wrong.—How do you, lieutenant?

The worser that you give me the addition Whose want even kills me.

Ply Desdemona well, and you are sure on ’t. Now, if this suit lay in Bianca’s power, How quickly should you speed!

, laughing Alas, poor caitiff! Look how he laughs already!

I never knew woman love man so.

Alas, poor rogue, I think i’ faith she loves me.

Now he denies it faintly and laughs it out.

Do you hear, Cassio? Now he importunes him

To tell it o’er. Go to, well said, well said.

She gives it out that you shall marry her. Do you intend it?

Ha, ha, ha!

Do you triumph, Roman? Do you triumph? I marry her? What, a customer? Prithee bear

some charity to my wit! Do not think it so unwholesome. Ha, ha, ha!

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181 Othello ACT 4. SC. 1











So, so, so, so. They laugh that wins.

Faith, the cry goes that you marry her. Prithee say true!

I am a very villain else. Have you scored me? Well.

This is the monkey’s own giving out. She is persuaded I will marry her out of her own love and flattery, not out of my promise.

Iago beckons me. Now he begins the story.

She was here even now. She haunts me in every place. I was the other day talking on the sea-bank with certain Venetians, and thither comes the bauble. By this hand, she falls thus about my neck!

Crying, “O dear Cassio,” as it were; his gesture imports it.

So hangs and lolls and weeps upon me, so shakes and pulls me. Ha, ha, ha!

Now he tells how she plucked him to my chamber.—O, I see that nose of yours, but not that dog I shall throw it to.

Well, I must leave her company. Before me, look where she comes.

Enter Bianca.

’Tis such another fitchew—marry, a perfumed one!—What do you mean by this haunting of me?

Let the devil and his dam haunt you! What did you mean by that same handkerchief you gave me even now? I was a fine fool to take it! I must take out the work? A likely piece of work, that you should find it in your chamber and know not who

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183 Othello ACT 4. SC. 1










left it there! This is some minx’s token, and I must take out the work! There, give it your hobbyhorse. Wheresoever you had it, I’ll take out no work on ’t.

How now, my sweet Bianca? How now? How now?

By heaven, that should be my handkerchief!

If you’ll come to supper tonight you may. If you will not, come when you are next prepared for.

After her, after her! Faith, I must. She’ll rail in the streets else.

Will you sup there? Faith, I intend so.

Well, I may chance to see you, for I would very fain speak with you.

Prithee come. Will you? Go to; say no more.

, coming forward How shall I murder him, Iago?

Did you perceive how he laughed at his vice? O Iago!

And did you see the handkerchief? Was that mine?

Yours, by this hand! And to see how he prizes the foolish woman your wife! She gave it him, and he hath giv’n it his whore.

I would have him nine years a-killing! A fine woman, a fair woman, a sweet woman!

Nay, you must forget that. Ay, let her rot and perish and be damned

tonight, for she shall not live. No, my heart is turned to stone. I strike it, and it hurts my hand. O, the world hath not a sweeter creature! She might lie by an emperor’s side and command him tasks.

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185 Othello ACT 4. SC. 1










A trumpet sounds.



Nay, that’s not your way. Hang her, I do but say what she is! So

delicate with her needle, an admirable musician— O, she will sing the savageness out of a bear! Of so high and plenteous wit and invention!

She’s the worse for all this. O, a thousand, a thousand times!—And then

of so gentle a condition! Ay, too gentle.

Nay, that’s certain. But yet the pity of it, Iago! O, Iago, the pity of it, Iago!

If you are so fond over her iniquity, give her patent to offend, for if it touch not you, it comes near nobody.

I will chop her into messes! Cuckold me? O, ’tis foul in her.

With mine officer! That’s fouler.

Get me some poison, Iago, this night. I’ll not expostulate with her lest her body and beauty unprovide my mind again. This night, Iago.

Do it not with poison. Strangle her in her bed, even the bed she hath contaminated.

Good, good. The justice of it pleases. Very good.

And for Cassio, let me be his undertaker. You shall hear more by midnight.

Excellent good.

What trumpet is that same? I warrant something from Venice.

Enter Lodovico, Desdemona, and Attendants.

’Tis Lodovico. This comes from the Duke. See, your wife’s with him.

God save you, worthy general.

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187 Othello ACT 4. SC. 1


He hands Othello a paper.OTHELLO











With all my heart, sir.

The Duke and the Senators of Venice greet you.

I kiss the instrument of their pleasures.

And what’s the news, good cousin Lodovico?

I am very glad to see you, signior. Welcome to Cyprus.

I thank you. How does Lieutenant Cassio?

Lives, sir.

Cousin, there’s fall’n between him and my lord An unkind breach, but you shall make all well.

Are you sure of that? My lord?

, reading “This fail you not to do, as you will”—

He did not call; he’s busy in the paper. Is there division ’twixt my lord and Cassio?

A most unhappy one. I would do much T’ atone them, for the love I bear to Cassio.

Fire and brimstone! My lord?

Are you wise?

What, is he angry? May be the letter moved him.

For, as I think, they do command him home, Deputing Cassio in his government.

By my troth, I am glad on ’t.

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189 Othello ACT 4. SC. 1




She begins to leave.LODOVICO


Desdemona exits.

Indeed? My lord?

I am glad to see you mad. Why, sweet Othello!

, striking her Devil! I have not deserved this.

My lord, this would not be believed in Venice, Though I should swear I saw ’t. ’Tis very much. Make her amends. She weeps.

O, devil, devil! If that the Earth could teem with woman’s tears, Each drop she falls would prove a crocodile. Out of my sight!

I will not stay to offend you.

Truly an obedient lady. I do beseech your Lordship call her back.

Mistress., turning back My lord?

What would you with her, sir? Who, I, my lord?

Ay, you did wish that I would make her turn. Sir, she can turn, and turn, and yet go on, And turn again. And she can weep, sir, weep. And she’s obedient, as you say, obedient. Very obedient.—Proceed you in your tears.— Concerning this, sir—O, well-painted passion!— I am commanded home.—Get you away. I’ll send for you anon.—Sir, I obey the mandate And will return to Venice.—Hence, avaunt!

Cassio shall have my place. And, sir, tonight I do entreat that we may sup together.

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191 Othello ACT 4. SC. 1









They exit.

You are welcome, sir, to Cyprus. Goats and monkeys!

Is this the noble Moor, whom our full senate Call all in all sufficient? Is this the nature Whom passion could not shake, whose solid virtue The shot of accident nor dart of chance Could neither graze nor pierce?

He is much changed.

Are his wits safe? Is he not light of brain?

He’s that he is. I may not breathe my censure What he might be. If what he might he is not, I would to heaven he were.

What? Strike his wife?

’Faith, that was not so well. Yet would I knew That stroke would prove the worst.

Is it his use? Or did the letters work upon his blood And new-create this fault?

Alas, alas! It is not honesty in me to speak What I have seen and known. You shall observe

him, And his own courses will denote him so That I may save my speech. Do but go after And mark how he continues.

I am sorry that I am deceived in him.

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193 Othello ACT 4. SC. 2







OTHELLOEmilia exits.

Enter Othello and Emilia.

You have seen nothing then?

Nor ever heard, nor ever did suspect.

Yes, you have seen Cassio and she together.

But then I saw no harm, and then I heard Each syllable that breath made up between them.

What, did they never whisper?

Never, my lord. Nor send you out o’ th’ way?


To fetch her fan, her gloves, her mask, nor nothing? Never, my lord.

That’s strange.

I durst, my lord, to wager she is honest, Lay down my soul at stake. If you think other, Remove your thought. It doth abuse your bosom. If any wretch have put this in your head, Let heaven requite it with the serpent’s curse, For if she be not honest, chaste, and true, There’s no man happy. The purest of their wives Is foul as slander.

Bid her come hither. Go.

She says enough. Yet she’s a simple bawd That cannot say as much. This is a subtle whore, A closet lock and key of villainous secrets. And yet she’ll kneel and pray. I have seen her do ’t.

Scene 2

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195 Othello ACT 4. SC. 2





Emilia exits.DESDEMONA







Enter Desdemona and Emilia.

My lord, what is your will?

Pray you, chuck, come hither. What is your


Let me see your eyes. Look in my face. What horrible fancy’s this?

, to Emilia Some of your function, mistress.

Leave procreants alone, and shut the door. Cough, or cry “hem,” if anybody come. Your mystery, your mystery! Nay, dispatch.

, kneeling Upon my knees, what doth your speech import? I understand a fury in your words, But not the words.

Why? What art thou?

Your wife, my lord, your true and loyal wife. Come, swear it. Damn thyself,

Lest, being like one of heaven, the devils themselves Should fear to seize thee. Therefore be double

damned. Swear thou art honest.

Heaven doth truly know it.

Heaven truly knows that thou art false as hell., standing

To whom, my lord? With whom? How am I false?

Ah, Desdemon, away, away, away!

Alas the heavy day, why do you weep?

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Am I the motive of these tears, my lord? If haply you my father do suspect An instrument of this your calling back, Lay not your blame on me. If you have lost him, I have lost him too.

Had it pleased heaven To try me with affliction, had they rained All kind of sores and shames on my bare head, Steeped me in poverty to the very lips, Given to captivity me and my utmost hopes, I should have found in some place of my soul A drop of patience. But alas, to make me A fixèd figure for the time of scorn To point his slow unmoving finger at— Yet could I bear that too, well, very well. But there where I have garnered up my heart, Where either I must live or bear no life, The fountain from the which my current runs Or else dries up—to be discarded thence, Or keep it as a cistern for foul toads To knot and gender in—turn thy complexion there, Patience, thou young and rose-lipped cherubin, Ay, there look grim as hell.

I hope my noble lord esteems me honest.

O, ay, as summer flies are in the shambles, That quicken even with blowing! O thou weed, Who art so lovely fair, and smell’st so sweet That the sense aches at thee, would thou hadst

ne’er been born!

Alas, what ignorant sin have I committed?

Was this fair paper, this most goodly book, Made to write “whore” upon? What committed? Committed? O thou public commoner,

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199 Othello ACT 4. SC. 2




He gives her money.

He exits.EMILIA


I should make very forges of my cheeks That would to cinders burn up modesty, Did I but speak thy deeds. What committed? Heaven stops the nose at it, and the moon winks; The bawdy wind that kisses all it meets Is hushed within the hollow mine of earth And will not hear ’t. What committed? Impudent strumpet!

By heaven, you do me wrong! Are not you a strumpet?

No, as I am a Christian! If to preserve this vessel for my lord From any other foul unlawful touch Be not to be a strumpet, I am none.

What, not a whore? No, as I shall be saved.

Is ’t possible?

O, heaven forgive us! I cry you mercy, then.

I took you for that cunning whore of Venice That married with Othello.—You, mistress,

Enter Emilia.

That have the office opposite to Saint Peter And keeps the gate of hell—you, you, ay, you! We have done our course. There’s money for your

pains. I pray you turn the key and keep our counsel.

Alas, what does this gentleman conceive? How do you, madam? How do you, my good lady?

Faith, half asleep.

Good madam, what’s the matter with my lord?

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201 Othello ACT 4. SC. 2












With who? Why, with my lord, madam.

Who is thy lord?

He that is yours, sweet lady.

I have none. Do not talk to me, Emilia. I cannot weep, nor answers have I none But what should go by water. Prithee, tonight Lay on my bed my wedding sheets. Remember. And call thy husband hither.

Here’s a change indeed.

’Tis meet I should be used so, very meet. How have I been behaved that he might stick The small’st opinion on my least misuse?

Enter Iago and Emilia.

What is your pleasure, madam? How is ’t with you?

I cannot tell. Those that do teach young babes Do it with gentle means and easy tasks. He might have chid me so, for, in good faith, I am a child to chiding.

What is the matter, lady?

Alas, Iago, my lord hath so bewhored her, Thrown such despite and heavy terms upon her As true hearts cannot bear.

Am I that name, Iago?

What name, fair lady?

Such as she said my lord did say I was.

He called her “whore.” A beggar in his drink Could not have laid such terms upon his callet.

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203 Othello ACT 4. SC. 2










Why did he so?

I do not know. I am sure I am none such.

Do not weep, do not weep! Alas the day!

Hath she forsook so many noble matches, Her father and her country and her friends, To be called “whore”? Would it not make one

weep? It is my wretched fortune.

Beshrew him for ’t! How comes this trick upon him?

Nay, heaven doth know.

I will be hanged if some eternal villain, Some busy and insinuating rogue, Some cogging, cozening slave, to get some office, Have not devised this slander. I will be hanged else.

Fie, there is no such man. It is impossible.

If any such there be, heaven pardon him.

A halter pardon him, and hell gnaw his bones! Why should he call her “whore”? Who keeps her

company? What place? What time? What form? What

likelihood? The Moor’s abused by some most villainous knave, Some base notorious knave, some scurvy fellow. O heaven, that such companions thou ’dst unfold, And put in every honest hand a whip To lash the rascals naked through the world, Even from the east to th’ west!

Speak within door.

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205 Othello ACT 4. SC. 2







Trumpets sound.

Desdemona and Emilia exit.

O, fie upon them! Some such squire he was That turned your wit the seamy side without And made you to suspect me with the Moor.

You are a fool. Go to!

Alas, Iago, What shall I do to win my lord again? Good friend, go to him. For by this light of heaven, I know not how I lost him. She kneels. Here I

kneel. If e’er my will did trespass ’gainst his love, Either in discourse of thought or actual deed, Or that mine eyes, mine ears, or any sense Delighted them in any other form, Or that I do not yet, and ever did, And ever will—though he do shake me off To beggarly divorcement—love him dearly, Comfort forswear me! She stands. Unkindness may

do much, And his unkindness may defeat my life, But never taint my love. I cannot say “whore”— It does abhor me now I speak the word. To do the act that might the addition earn, Not the world’s mass of vanity could make me.

I pray you be content. ’Tis but his humor. The business of the state does him offense, And he does chide with you.

If ’twere no other—

It is but so, I warrant.

Hark how these instruments summon to supper. The messengers of Venice stays the meat. Go in and weep not. All things shall be well.

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207 Othello ACT 4. SC. 2








Enter Roderigo.

How now, Roderigo? I do not find

That thou deal’st justly with me. What in the contrary?

Every day thou daff’st me with some device, Iago, and rather, as it seems to me now, keep’st from me all conveniency than suppliest me with the least advantage of hope. I will indeed no longer endure it. Nor am I yet persuaded to put up in peace what already I have foolishly suffered.

Will you hear me, Roderigo? Faith, I have heard too much, and your

words and performances are no kin together. You charge me most unjustly.

With naught but truth. I have wasted myself out of my means. The jewels you have had from me to deliver to Desdemona would half have corrupted a votaress. You have told me she hath received them, and returned me expectations and comforts of sudden respect and acquaintance, but I find none.

Well, go to! Very well. “Very well.” “Go to!” I cannot go to, man,

nor ’tis not very well! By this hand, I say ’tis very scurvy, and begin to find myself fopped in it.

Very well. I tell you ’tis not very well! I will make

myself known to Desdemona. If she will return me my jewels, I will give over my suit and repent my unlawful solicitation. If not, assure yourself I will seek satisfaction of you.

You have said now. Ay, and said nothing but what I protest

intendment of doing.

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209 Othello ACT 4. SC. 2









Why, now I see there’s mettle in thee, and even from this instant do build on thee a better opinion than ever before. Give me thy hand, Roderigo. Thou hast taken against me a most just exception, but yet I protest I have dealt most directly in thy affair.

It hath not appeared. I grant indeed it hath not appeared, and your

suspicion is not without wit and judgment. But, Roderigo, if thou hast that in thee indeed which I have greater reason to believe now than ever—I mean purpose, courage, and valor—this night show it. If thou the next night following enjoy not Desdemona, take me from this world with treachery and devise engines for my life.

Well, what is it? Is it within reason and compass?

Sir, there is especial commission come from Venice to depute Cassio in Othello’s place.

Is that true? Why, then, Othello and Desdemona return again to Venice.

O, no. He goes into Mauritania and takes away with him the fair Desdemona, unless his abode be lingered here by some accident—wherein none can be so determinate as the removing of Cassio.

How do you mean, removing him? Why, by making him uncapable of Othello’s

place: knocking out his brains. And that you would have me to do?

Ay, if you dare do yourself a profit and a right. He sups tonight with a harlotry, and thither will I go to him. He knows not yet of his honorable fortune. If you will watch his going thence (which I will fashion to fall out between twelve and one), you may take him at your pleasure. I will be near to second your attempt, and he shall fall between us. Come,

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211 Othello ACT 4. SC. 3


They exit.







All but Desdemona and Emilia exit.EMILIA



stand not amazed at it, but go along with me. I will show you such a necessity in his death that you shall think yourself bound to put it on him. It is now high supper time, and the night grows to waste. About it!

I will hear further reason for this. And you shall be satisfied.

Enter Othello, Lodovico, Desdemona, Emilia, andAttendants.

I do beseech you, sir, trouble yourself no further.

O, pardon me, ’twill do me good to walk.

Madam, good night. I humbly thank your Ladyship.

Your Honor is most welcome.

Will you walk, sir?—O, Desdemona— My lord?

Get you to bed on th’ instant. I will be returned forthwith. Dismiss your attendant there. Look ’t be done.

I will, my lord.

How goes it now? He looks gentler than he did.

He says he will return incontinent, And hath commanded me to go to bed, And bade me to dismiss you.

Dismiss me?

It was his bidding. Therefore, good Emilia,

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Scene 3

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213 Othello ACT 4. SC. 3








Give me my nightly wearing, and adieu. We must not now displease him.

I would you had never seen him.

So would not I. My love doth so approve him That even his stubbornness, his checks, his frowns— Prithee, unpin me—have grace and favor in them.

I have laid those sheets you bade me on the bed.

All’s one. Good faith, how foolish are our minds! If I do die before thee, prithee, shroud me In one of those same sheets.

Come, come, you talk!

My mother had a maid called Barbary. She was in love, and he she loved proved mad And did forsake her. She had a song of willow, An old thing ’twas, but it expressed her fortune, And she died singing it. That song tonight Will not go from my mind. I have much to do But to go hang my head all at one side And sing it like poor Barbary. Prithee, dispatch.

Shall I go fetch your nightgown? No, unpin me here.

This Lodovico is a proper man. A very handsome man.

He speaks well. I know a lady in Venice would have walked

barefoot to Palestine for a touch of his nether lip., singing

The poor soul sat sighing by a sycamore tree, Sing all a green willow. Her hand on her bosom, her head on her knee, Sing willow, willow, willow.

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215 Othello ACT 4. SC. 3









The fresh streams ran by her and murmured her moans, Sing willow, willow, willow; Her salt tears fell from her, and softened the stones—

Lay by these. Sing willow, willow, willow.

Prithee hie thee! He’ll come anon. Sing all a green willow must be my garland. Let nobody blame him, his scorn I approve.

Nay, that’s not next. Hark, who is ’t that knocks? It’s the wind.

I called my love false love, but what said he then? Sing willow, willow, willow. If I court more women, you’ll couch with more men. —

So, get thee gone. Good night. Mine eyes do itch; Doth that bode weeping?

’Tis neither here nor there.

I have heard it said so. O these men, these men! Dost thou in conscience think—tell me, Emilia— That there be women do abuse their husbands In such gross kind?

There be some such, no question.

Wouldst thou do such a deed for all the world?

Why, would not you?

No, by this heavenly light!

Nor I neither, by this heavenly light. I might do ’t as well i’ th’ dark.

Wouldst thou do such a deed for all the world?

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217 Othello ACT 4. SC. 3






The world’s a huge thing. It is a great price for a small vice.

In troth, I think thou wouldst not. In troth, I think I should, and undo ’t when I

had done it. Marry, I would not do such a thing for a joint ring, nor for measures of lawn, nor for gowns, petticoats, nor caps, nor any petty exhibition. But for the whole world— ’Uds pity! Who would not make her husband a cuckold to make him a monarch? I should venture purgatory for ’t.

Beshrew me if I would do such a wrong for the whole world!

Why, the wrong is but a wrong i’ th’ world; and, having the world for your labor, ’tis a wrong in your own world, and you might quickly make it right.

I do not think there is any such woman. Yes, a dozen; and as many to th’ vantage as

would store the world they played for. But I do think it is their husbands’ faults If wives do fall. Say that they slack their duties, And pour our treasures into foreign laps; Or else break out in peevish jealousies, Throwing restraint upon us. Or say they strike us, Or scant our former having in despite. Why, we have galls, and though we have some grace, Yet have we some revenge. Let husbands know Their wives have sense like them. They see, and

smell, And have their palates both for sweet and sour, As husbands have. What is it that they do When they change us for others? Is it sport? I think it is. And doth affection breed it? I think it doth. Is ’t frailty that thus errs? It is so too. And have not we affections, Desires for sport, and frailty, as men have?

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219 Othello ACT 4. SC. 3


They exit.

Then let them use us well. Else let them know, The ills we do, their ills instruct us so.

Good night, good night. God me such uses send, Not to pick bad from bad, but by bad mend.

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He moves aside.RODERIGO

He draws his sword.IAGO

Enter Iago and Roderigo.

Here, stand behind this bulk. Straight will he

come. Wear thy good rapier bare, and put it home. Quick, quick! Fear nothing. I’ll be at thy elbow. It makes us or it mars us—think on that, And fix most firm thy resolution.

Be near at hand. I may miscarry in ’t.

Here, at thy hand. Be bold and take thy stand.

I have no great devotion to the deed, And yet he hath given me satisfying reasons. ’Tis but a man gone. Forth, my sword! He dies.

, aside I have rubbed this young quat almost to the sense, And he grows angry. Now, whether he kill Cassio, Or Cassio him, or each do kill the other, Every way makes my gain. Live Roderigo, He calls me to a restitution large Of gold and jewels that I bobbed from him



Scene 1

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225 Othello ACT 5. SC. 1


He thrusts at Cassio.CASSIO

He draws, and stabs Roderigo.RODERIGO

Roderigo falls.Iago stabs Cassio in the leg, and exits.




As gifts to Desdemona. It must not be. If Cassio do remain, He hath a daily beauty in his life That makes me ugly. And besides, the Moor May unfold me to him. There stand I in much peril. No, he must die. Be ’t so. I hear him coming.

Enter Cassio.

I know his gait. ’Tis he!—Villain, thou diest!

That thrust had been mine enemy indeed But that my coat is better than thou know’st. I will make proof of thine.

O, I am slain!

I am maimed forever! Help, ho! Murder, murder!

Enter Othello.

The voice of Cassio! Iago keeps his word.

O, villain that I am!, aside It is even so. O, help ho! Light! A surgeon!, aside

’Tis he! O brave Iago, honest and just, That hast such noble sense of thy friend’s wrong! Thou teachest me.—Minion, your dear lies dead, And your unblest fate hies. Strumpet, I come. Forth of my heart those charms, thine eyes, are


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227 Othello ACT 5. SC. 1

Othello exits.












Thy bed, lust-stained, shall with lust’s blood be spotted.

Enter Lodovico and Gratiano.

What ho! No watch? No passage? Murder, murder!

’Tis some mischance. The voice is very direful.

O, help! Hark! O wretched villain!

Two or three groan. ’Tis heavy night. These may be counterfeits. Let’s think ’t unsafe To come in to the cry without more help.

Nobody come? Then shall I bleed to death.

Enter Iago with a light.


Here’s one comes in his shirt, with light and weapons.

Who’s there? Whose noise is this that cries on


We do not know. Did not you hear a cry?

Here, here! For heaven’s sake, help me!

What’s the matter?, to Lodovico

This is Othello’s ancient, as I take it.

The same indeed, a very valiant fellow., to Cassio

What are you here that cry so grievously?

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229 Othello ACT 5. SC. 1







He stabs Roderigo.RODERIGO






Iago? O, I am spoiled, undone by villains. Give me some help!

O me, lieutenant! What villains have done this?

I think that one of them is hereabout And cannot make away.

O treacherous villains! To Lodovico and Gratiano. What are you there? Come in, and give some help.

O, help me here!

That’s one of them., to Roderigo O murd’rous slave! O villain!

O damned Iago! O inhuman dog!

Kill men i’ th’ dark?—Where be these bloody

thieves? How silent is this town! Ho, murder, murder!— What may you be? Are you of good or evil?

As you shall prove us, praise us.

Signior Lodovico? He, sir.

I cry you mercy. Here’s Cassio hurt by villains.


How is ’t, brother? My leg is cut in two.

Marry, heaven forbid! Light, gentlemen. I’ll bind it with my shirt.

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231 Othello ACT 5. SC. 1











Enter Bianca.

What is the matter, ho? Who is ’t that cried?

Who is ’t that cried?

O, my dear Cassio, My sweet Cassio! O Cassio, Cassio, Cassio!

O notable strumpet! Cassio, may you suspect Who they should be that have thus mangled you?


I am sorry to find you thus; I have been to seek you.

Lend me a garter. So.—O for a chair To bear him easily hence!

Alas, he faints. O, Cassio, Cassio, Cassio!

Gentlemen all, I do suspect this trash To be a party in this injury.— Patience awhile, good Cassio.—Come, come; Lend me a light. Peering at Roderigo. Know we this

face or no? Alas, my friend and my dear countryman Roderigo? No! Yes, sure. O heaven, Roderigo!

What, of Venice? Even he, sir. Did you know him?

Know him? Ay.

Signior Gratiano? I cry your gentle pardon. These bloody accidents must excuse my manners That so neglected you.

I am glad to see you.

How do you, Cassio?—O, a chair, a chair!

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233 Othello ACT 5. SC. 1




Cassio, in the chair, and Roderigo are carried off.






He, he, ’tis he! A chair is brought in. O, that’s well said; the chair.—

Some good man bear him carefully from hence. I’ll fetch the General’s surgeon.— For you, mistress, Save you your labor.—He that lies slain here,

Cassio, Was my dear friend. What malice was between you?

None in the world. Nor do I know the man.

, to Bianca What, look you pale?—O, bear him out o’ th’ air.

To Gratiano and Lodovico. Stay you, good gentlemen.—Look you pale, mistress?—

Do you perceive the gastness of her eye?— Nay, if you stare, we shall hear more anon.— Behold her well. I pray you, look upon her. Do you see, gentlemen? Nay, guiltiness will speak Though tongues were out of use.

Enter Emilia.

Alas, what is the matter? What is the matter,


Cassio hath here been set on in the dark By Roderigo and fellows that are scaped. He’s almost slain, and Roderigo dead.

Alas, good gentleman! Alas, good Cassio!

This is the fruits of whoring. Prithee, Emilia, Go know of Cassio where he supped tonight. To Bianca. What, do you shake at that?

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235 Othello ACT 5. SC. 2





They exit in different directions.


He supped at my house, but I therefore shake not.

O, did he so? I charge you go with me.

O fie upon thee, strumpet!

I am no strumpet, but of life as honest As you that thus abuse me.

As I? Faugh! Fie upon thee!

Kind gentlemen, let’s go see poor Cassio dressed.— Come, mistress, you must tell ’s another tale.— Emilia, run you to the citadel And tell my lord and lady what hath happed.— Will you go on afore? Aside. This is the night That either makes me or fordoes me quite.

Enter Othello with a light, and Desdemona in her bed.

It is the cause, it is the cause, my soul. Let me not name it to you, you chaste stars. It is the cause. Yet I’ll not shed her blood, Nor scar that whiter skin of hers than snow, And smooth as monumental alabaster. Yet she must die, else she’ll betray more men. Put out the light, and then put out the light. If I quench thee, thou flaming minister, I can again thy former light restore Should I repent me. But once put out thy light, Thou cunning’st pattern of excelling nature, I know not where is that Promethean heat That can thy light relume. When I have plucked the


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Scene 2

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237 Othello ACT 5. SC. 2

He kisses her.









I cannot give it vital growth again. It needs must wither. I’ll smell it on the tree. O balmy breath, that dost almost persuade Justice to break her sword! He kisses her. One

more, one more. Be thus when thou art dead, and I will kill thee And love thee after. One more, and this the last.

So sweet was ne’er so fatal. I must weep, But they are cruel tears. This sorrow’s heavenly: It strikes where it doth love. She wakes.

Who’s there? Othello?

Ay, Desdemona. Will you come to bed, my lord?

Have you prayed tonight, Desdemon?

Ay, my lord.

If you bethink yourself of any crime Unreconciled as yet to heaven and grace, Solicit for it straight.

Alack, my lord, What may you mean by that?

Well, do it, and be brief. I will walk by. I would not kill thy unpreparèd spirit. No, heaven forfend! I would not kill thy soul.

Talk you of killing?

Ay, I do. Then heaven have mercy on me.

Amen, with all my heart.

If you say so, I hope you will not kill me. Humh.

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239 Othello ACT 5. SC. 2











And yet I fear you, for you’re fatal then When your eyes roll so. Why I should fear I know

not, Since guiltiness I know not, but yet I feel I fear.

Think on thy sins.

They are loves I bear to you. Ay, and for that thou diest.

That death’s unnatural that kills for loving. Alas, why gnaw you so your nether lip? Some bloody passion shakes your very frame. These are portents, but yet I hope, I hope They do not point on me.

Peace, and be still.

I will so. What’s the matter? That handkerchief

Which I so loved, and gave thee, thou gav’st to Cassio.

No, by my life and soul! Send for the man And ask him.

Sweet soul, take heed, take heed of perjury. Thou art on thy deathbed.

Ay, but not yet to die.

Yes, presently. Therefore confess thee freely of thy sin. For to deny each article with oath Cannot remove nor choke the strong conception That I do groan withal. Thou art to die.

Then Lord have mercy on me!

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241 Othello ACT 5. SC. 2










She weeps.OTHELLO


I say “Amen.”

And have you mercy, too. I never did Offend you in my life, never loved Cassio But with such general warranty of heaven As I might love. I never gave him token.

By heaven, I saw my handkerchief in ’s hand! O perjured woman, thou dost stone my heart And mak’st me call what I intend to do A murder, which I thought a sacrifice! I saw the handkerchief!

He found it, then. I never gave it him. Send for him hither. Let him confess a truth.

He hath confessed. What, my lord?

That he hath used thee.

How? Unlawfully? Ay.

He will not say so.

No. His mouth is stopped. Honest Iago hath ta’en order for ’t.

O, my fear interprets. What, is he dead?

Had all his hairs been lives, my great revenge Had stomach for them all.

Alas, he is betrayed, and I undone.

Out, strumpet! Weep’st thou for him to my face?

O banish me, my lord, but kill me not!

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243 Othello ACT 5. SC. 2





He smothers her.EMILIA






Down, strumpet!

Kill me tomorrow, let me live tonight. Nay, if you strive—

But half an hour!

Being done, there is no pause.

But while I say one prayer! It is too late.

, within My lord, my lord? What ho! My lord, my lord!

What noise is this?—Not dead? Not yet quite dead? I that am cruel am yet merciful. I would not have thee linger in thy pain. So, so.

, within What, ho! My lord, my lord! Who’s

there?, within

O, good my lord, I would speak a word with you.

Yes. ’Tis Emilia.—By and by.—She’s dead. ’Tis like she comes to speak of Cassio’s death. The noise was here. Ha, no more moving? Still as the grave. Shall she come in? Were ’t good? I think she stirs again. No. What’s best to do? If she come in, she’ll sure speak to my wife. My wife, my wife! What wife? I have no wife. O insupportable! O heavy hour! Methinks it should be now a huge eclipse Of sun and moon, and that th’ affrighted globe Should yawn at alteration.

, within I do beseech you That I may speak with you. O, good my lord—

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245 Othello ACT 5. SC. 2










She dies.

I had forgot thee. O, come in, Emilia.— Soft, by and by, let me the curtains draw.— Where art thou?

Enter Emilia.

What’s the matter with thee now?

O, my good lord, yonder’s foul murders done. What? Now?

But now, my lord.

It is the very error of the moon. She comes more nearer Earth than she was wont And makes men mad.

Cassio, my lord, hath killed A young Venetian called Roderigo.

Roderigo killed? And Cassio killed?

No, Cassio is not killed.

Not Cassio killed? Then murder’s out of tune, And sweet revenge grows harsh.

O falsely, falsely murdered.

O Lord, what cry is that? That? What?

Out, and alas, that was my lady’s voice! Help! Help ho! Help! O lady, speak again! Sweet Desdemona, O sweet mistress, speak!

A guiltless death I die. O, who hath done this deed?

Nobody. I myself. Farewell. Commend me to my kind lord. O, farewell.

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247 Othello ACT 5. SC. 2













Why, how should she be murdered?

Alas, who knows?

You heard her say herself, it was not I.

She said so. I must needs report the truth.

She’s like a liar gone to burning hell! ’Twas I that killed her.

O, the more angel she, and you the blacker devil!

She turned to folly, and she was a whore.

Thou dost belie her, and thou art a devil!

She was false as water. Thou art rash as fire to say

That she was false. O, she was heavenly true!

Cassio did top her. Ask thy husband else. O, I were damned beneath all depth in hell But that I did proceed upon just grounds To this extremity. Thy husband knew it all.

My husband? Thy husband.

That she was false to wedlock?

Ay, with Cassio. Had she been true, If heaven would make me such another world Of one entire and perfect chrysolite, I’d not have sold her for it.

My husband?

Ay, ’twas he that told me on her first.

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249 Othello ACT 5. SC. 2





He draws his sword.OTHELLOEMILIA




An honest man he is, and hates the slime That sticks on filthy deeds.

My husband?

What needs this iterance, woman? I say, thy husband.

O mistress, villainy hath made mocks with love!— My husband say she was false?

He, woman. I say thy husband. Dost understand the word? My friend, thy husband; honest, honest Iago.

If he say so, may his pernicious soul Rot half a grain a day! He lies to th’ heart! She was too fond of her most filthy bargain.

Hah? Do thy worst!

This deed of thine is no more worthy heaven Than thou wast worthy her.

Peace, you were best!

Thou hast not half that power to do me harm As I have to be hurt. O gull! O dolt, As ignorant as dirt! Thou hast done a deed— I care not for thy sword. I’ll make thee known, Though I lost twenty lives. Help! Help, ho! Help! The Moor hath killed my mistress! Murder, murder!

Enter Montano, Gratiano, and Iago.

What is the matter? How now, general?

O, are you come, Iago? You have done well, That men must lay their murders on your neck.

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251 Othello ACT 5. SC. 2












What is the matter?, to Iago

Disprove this villain, if thou be’st a man. He says thou told’st him that his wife was false. I know thou didst not. Thou ’rt not such a villain. Speak, for my heart is full.

I told him what I thought, and told no more Than what he found himself was apt and true.

But did you ever tell him she was false?

I did.

You told a lie, an odious, damnèd lie! Upon my soul, a lie, a wicked lie! She false with Cassio? Did you say with Cassio?

With Cassio, mistress. Go to! Charm your tongue.

I will not charm my tongue. I am bound to speak. My mistress here lies murdered in her bed.

O heavens forfend!, to Iago

And your reports have set the murder on!

Nay, stare not, masters; it is true indeed. ’Tis a strange truth.

O monstrous act! Villainy, villainy, villainy!

I think upon ’t, I think! I smell ’t! O villainy! I thought so then. I’ll kill myself for grief! O villainy! Villainy!

What, are you mad? I charge you get you home.

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253 Othello ACT 5. SC. 2



Othello falls on the bed.EMILIA







He draws his sword.

Good gentlemen, let me have leave to speak. ’Tis proper I obey him, but not now. Perchance, Iago, I will ne’er go home.

O, O, O!

Nay, lay thee down, and roar! For thou hast killed the sweetest innocent That e’er did lift up eye.

, standing O, she was foul!— I scarce did know you, uncle. There lies your niece, Whose breath indeed these hands have newly

stopped. I know this act shows horrible and grim.

Poor Desdemon, I am glad thy father’s dead. Thy match was mortal to him, and pure grief Shore his old thread in twain. Did he live now, This sight would make him do a desperate turn, Yea, curse his better angel from his side, And fall to reprobance.

’Tis pitiful. But yet Iago knows That she with Cassio hath the act of shame A thousand times committed. Cassio confessed it, And she did gratify his amorous works With that recognizance and pledge of love Which I first gave her. I saw it in his hand. It was a handkerchief, an antique token My father gave my mother.

O God! O heavenly God!

Zounds, hold your peace! ’Twill out, ’twill out. I peace?

No, I will speak as liberal as the north. Let heaven and men and devils, let them all, All, all, cry shame against me, yet I’ll speak.

Be wise, and get you home.

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255 Othello ACT 5. SC. 2






The Moor runs at Iago but is disarmed.Iago kills his wife.




Montano and Gratiano exit.OTHELLO

I will not.

Fie, your sword upon a woman!

O thou dull Moor, that handkerchief thou speak’st of

I found by fortune, and did give my husband— For often, with a solemn earnestness (More than indeed belonged to such a trifle), He begged of me to steal ’t.

Villainous whore!

She give it Cassio? No, alas, I found it, And I did give ’t my husband.

Filth, thou liest!

By heaven, I do not, I do not, gentlemen! To Othello. O murd’rous coxcomb, what should

such a fool Do with so good a wife?

Are there no stones in heaven But what serves for the thunder?—Precious villain!

The woman falls! Sure he hath killed his wife.

Ay, ay! O, lay me by my mistress’ side.

He’s gone, but his wife’s killed.

’Tis a notorious villain. Take you this weapon Which I have here recovered from the Moor. Come, guard the door without. Let him not pass, But kill him rather. I’ll after that same villain, For ’tis a damnèd slave.

I am not valiant neither,

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257 Othello ACT 5. SC. 2


She dies.OTHELLO





But every puny whipster gets my sword. But why should honor outlive honesty? Let it go all.

What did thy song bode, lady? Hark, canst thou hear me? I will play the swan And die in music.She sings. Willow, willow, willow.

Moor, she was chaste. She loved thee, cruel Moor. So come my soul to bliss, as I speak true. So speaking as I think, alas, I die.

I have another weapon in this chamber. It is a sword of Spain, the ice brook’s temper. O, here it is.—Uncle, I must come forth.

, within If thou attempt it, it will cost thee dear; Thou hast no weapon and perforce must suffer.

Look in upon me, then, and speak with me, Or naked as I am I will assault thee.

Enter Gratiano.

What is the matter?

Behold, I have a weapon. A better never did itself sustain Upon a soldier’s thigh. I have seen the day That with this little arm and this good sword I have made my way through more impediments Than twenty times your stop. But—O vain boast!— Who can control his fate? ’Tis not so now. Be not afraid, though you do see me weaponed. Here is my journey’s end, here is my butt And very sea-mark of my utmost sail. Do you go back dismayed? ’Tis a lost fear. Man but a rush against Othello’s breast,

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259 Othello ACT 5. SC. 2

He looks toward the bed.




Iago is brought forward.OTHELLO

He stabs Iago.LODOVICO

Othello is disarmed.IAGOOTHELLO


And he retires. Where should Othello go?

Now, how dost thou look now? O ill-starred wench, Pale as thy smock, when we shall meet at compt, This look of thine will hurl my soul from heaven, And fiends will snatch at it. Cold, cold, my girl? Even like thy chastity.—O cursèd, cursèd slave!— Whip me, you devils, From the possession of this heavenly sight! Blow me about in winds, roast me in sulfur, Wash me in steep-down gulfs of liquid fire! O Desdemon! Dead, Desdemon! Dead! O, O!

Enter Lodovico, Cassio in a chair, Montano, and Iago,with Officers.

Where is this rash and most unfortunate man?

That’s he that was Othello. Here I am.

Where is that viper? Bring the villain forth.

I look down towards his feet; but that’s a fable.— If that thou be’st a devil, I cannot kill thee.

Wrench his sword from him.

I bleed, sir, but not killed.

I am not sorry neither. I’d have thee live, For in my sense ’tis happiness to die.

O thou Othello, that wert once so good, Fall’n in the practice of a damnèd slave, What shall be said to thee?

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261 Othello ACT 5. SC. 2










Why, anything. An honorable murderer, if you will, For naught I did in hate, but all in honor.

This wretch hath part confessed his villainy. Did you and he consent in Cassio’s death?


Dear general, I never gave you cause.

I do believe it, and I ask your pardon. Will you, I pray, demand that demi-devil Why he hath thus ensnared my soul and body?

Demand me nothing. What you know, you know. From this time forth I never will speak word.

What? Not to pray? Torments will ope your lips.

Well, thou dost best. Sir,

You shall understand what hath befall’n, Which, as I think, you know not. Here is a letter Found in the pocket of the slain Roderigo, And here another. He shows papers. The one of

them imports The death of Cassio, to be undertook By Roderigo.

O villain!

Most heathenish and most gross.

Now here’s another discontented paper Found in his pocket, too; and this it seems Roderigo meant t’ have sent this damnèd villain, But that, belike, Iago in the interim Came in and satisfied him.

O, thou pernicious caitiff!—

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263 Othello ACT 5. SC. 2





How came you, Cassio, by that handkerchief That was my wife’s?

I found it in my chamber. And he himself confessed it but even now, That there he dropped it for a special purpose Which wrought to his desire.

O fool, fool, fool!

There is besides, in Roderigo’s letter, How he upbraids Iago, that he made him Brave me upon the watch, whereon it came That I was cast. And even but now he spake, After long seeming dead: Iago hurt him, Iago set him on.

, to Othello You must forsake this room and go with us. Your power and your command is taken off, And Cassio rules in Cyprus. For this slave, If there be any cunning cruelty That can torment him much and hold him long, It shall be his. You shall close prisoner rest, Till that the nature of your fault be known To the Venetian state.—Come, bring away.

Soft you. A word or two before you go. I have done the state some service, and they

know ’t. No more of that. I pray you in your letters, When you shall these unlucky deeds relate, Speak of me as I am. Nothing extenuate, Nor set down aught in malice. Then must you speak Of one that loved not wisely, but too well; Of one not easily jealous, but being wrought, Perplexed in the extreme; of one whose hand, Like the base Judean, threw a pearl away Richer than all his tribe; of one whose subdued


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265 Othello ACT 5. SC. 2


He dies.CASSIO


They exit.

Albeit unused to the melting mood, Drops tears as fast as the Arabian trees Their medicinable gum. Set you down this. And say besides, that in Aleppo once, Where a malignant and a turbanned Turk Beat a Venetian and traduced the state, I took by th’ throat the circumcisèd dog, And smote him, thus.

O bloody period! All that is spoke is marred.

, to Desdemona I kissed thee ere I killed thee. No way but this, Killing myself, to die upon a kiss.

This did I fear, but thought he had no weapon, For he was great of heart.

, to Iago O Spartan dog, More fell than anguish, hunger, or the sea, Look on the tragic loading of this bed. This is thy work.—The object poisons sight. Let it be hid.—Gratiano, keep the house, And seize upon the fortunes of the Moor, For they succeed on you. To Cassio. To you, lord

governor, Remains the censure of this hellish villain. The time, the place, the torture, O, enforce it. Myself will straight aboard, and to the state This heavy act with heavy heart relate.

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