The Annotated Othello

This text of Othello has been taken from the Open Source Shakespeare Project, with deep appreciation!

Act 1, Scene 1
Venice. A street.


RoderigoTush! 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.

Iago‘Sblood, but you will not hear me: [5]
If ever I did dream of such a matter, Abhor me.

RoderigoThou told’st me thou didst hold him in thy hate.

IagoDespise me, if I do not. Three great ones of the city,
In personal suit to make me his lieutenant,
Off-capp’d to him: and, by the faith of man, [10]
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 stuff’d with epithets of war;
And, in conclusion, [15]
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, [20]
A fellow almost damn’d in a fair wife;
That never set a squadron in the field,
Nor the division of a battle knows
More than a spinster; unless the bookish theoric,
Wherein the toged consuls can propose [25]
As masterly as he: mere prattle, without practise,
Is all his soldiership. But he, sir, had the election:
And I, of whom his eyes had seen the proof
At Rhodes, at Cyprus and on other grounds
Christian and heathen, must be be-lee’d and calm’d [30]
By debitor and creditor: this counter-caster,
He, in good time, must his lieutenant be,
And I—God bless the mark!—his Moorship’s ancient.

RoderigoBy heaven, I rather would have been his hangman.

IagoWhy, there’s no remedy; ’tis the curse of service, [35]
Preferment goes by letter and affection,
And not by old gradation, where each second
Stood heir to the first. Now, sir, be judge yourself,
Whether I in any just term am affined
To love the Moor.40

RoderigoI would not follow him then.

IagoO, sir, content you;
I follow him to serve my turn upon him:
We cannot all be masters, nor all masters
Cannot be truly follow’d. You shall mark45
Many a duteous and knee-crooking knave,
That, doting on his own obsequious bondage,
Wears out his time, much like his master’s ass,
For nought but provender, and when he’s old, cashier’d:
Whip me such honest knaves. Others there are50
Who, trimm’d in forms and visages of duty,
Keep yet their hearts attending on themselves,
And, throwing but shows of service on their lords,
Do well thrive by them and when they have lined
their coats55
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;60
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 compliment extern, ’tis not long after65
But I will wear my heart upon my sleeve
For daws to peck at: I am not what I am.

RoderigoWhat a full fortune does the thicklips owe
If he can carry’t thus!

IagoCall up her father,70
Rouse him: make after him, poison his delight,
Proclaim him in the streets; incense her kinsmen,
And, though he in a fertile climate dwell,
Plague him with flies: though that his joy be joy,
Yet throw such changes of vexation on’t,75
As it may lose some colour.

RoderigoHere is her father’s house; I’ll call aloud.

IagoDo, with like timorous accent and dire yell
As when, by night and negligence, the fire
Is spied in populous cities.80

RoderigoWhat, ho, Brabantio! Signior Brabantio, ho!

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

[BRABANTIO appears above, at a window]

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

RoderigoSignior, is all your family within?

IagoAre your doors lock’d?

BrabantioWhy, wherefore ask you this?90

Iago‘Zounds, sir, you’re robb’d; for shame, put on your gown;
Your heart is burst, you have lost half your soul;
Even now, now, very now, an old black ram
Is topping your white ewe. Arise, arise;95
Awake the snorting citizens with the bell,
Or else the devil will make a grandsire of you:
Arise, I say.

BrabantioWhat, have you lost your wits?

RoderigoMost reverend signior, do you know my voice?100

BrabantioNot I. what are you?

RoderigoMy name is Roderigo.

BrabantioThe worser welcome:
I have charged thee not to haunt about my doors:
In honest plainness thou hast heard me say105
My daughter is not for thee; and now, in madness,
Being full of supper and distempering draughts,
Upon malicious bravery, dost thou come
To start my quiet.

RoderigoSir, sir, sir,—110

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

RoderigoPatience, good sir.

BrabantioWhat tell’st thou me of robbing? this is Venice;115
My house is not a grange.

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

Iago‘Zounds, sir, you are one of those that will not
serve God, if the devil bid you. Because we come to120
do you service and you think we are ruffians, you’ll
have your daughter covered with a Barbary horse;
you’ll have your nephews neigh to you; you’ll have
coursers for cousins and gennets for germans.

BrabantioWhat profane wretch art thou?125

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

BrabantioThou art a villain.

IagoYou are—a senator.

BrabantioThis thou shalt answer; I know thee, Roderigo.130

RoderigoSir, I will answer any thing. But, I beseech you,
If’t be your pleasure and most wise consent,
As partly I find it is, that your fair daughter,
At this odd-even and dull watch o’ the night,
Transported, with no worse nor better guard135
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 me140
We have your wrong rebuke. Do not believe
That, from the sense of all civility,
I thus would play and trifle with your reverence:
Your daughter, if you have not given her leave,
I say again, hath made a gross revolt;145
Tying her duty, beauty, wit and fortunes
In an extravagant and wheeling stranger
Of here and every where. Straight satisfy yourself:
If she be in her chamber or your house,
Let loose on me the justice of the state150
For thus deluding you.

BrabantioStrike 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.155
Light, I say! light![Exit above]

IagoFarewell; for I must leave you:
It seems not meet, nor wholesome to my place,
To be produced—as, if I stay, I shall—160
Against the Moor: for, I do know, the state,
However this may gall him with some cheque,
Cannot with safety cast him, for he’s embark’d
With such loud reason to the Cyprus wars,
Which even now stand in act, that, for their souls,165
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,170
Which is indeed but sign. That you shall surely find him,
Lead to the Sagittary the raised search;
And there will I be with him. So, farewell. [Exit]

[Enter, below, BRABANTIO, and Servants with torches]

BrabantioIt is too true an evil: gone she is;
And what’s to come of my despised time
Is nought but bitterness. Now, Roderigo,
Where didst thou see her? O unhappy girl!
With the Moor, say’st thou? Who would be a father!180
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?

RoderigoTruly, I think they are.

BrabantioO heaven! How got she out? O treason of the blood!185
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?190

RoderigoYes, sir, I have indeed.

BrabantioCall 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?

RoderigoI think I can discover him, if you please,195
To get good guard and go along with me.

BrabantioPray you, lead on. At every house I’ll call;
I may command at most. Get weapons, ho!
And raise some special officers of night.
On, good Roderigo: I’ll deserve your pains.200
Act 1, Scene 2
Another street

[Enter OTHELLO, IAGO, and Attendants with torches]

IagoThough in the trade of war I have slain men,
Yet do I hold it very stuff o’ the conscience
To do no contrived murder: I lack iniquity205
Sometimes to do me service: nine or ten times
I had thought to have yerk’d him here under the ribs.

Othello‘Tis better as it is.

IagoNay, but he prated,
And spoke such scurvy and provoking terms210
Against your honour
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,215
And hath in his effect a voice potential
As double as the duke’s: he will divorce you;
Or put upon you what restraint and grievance
The law, with all his might to enforce it on,
Will give him cable.220

OthelloLet 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 honour,
I shall promulgate—I fetch my life and being225
From men of royal siege, and my demerits
May speak unbonneted to as proud a fortune
As this that I have reach’d: for know, Iago,
But that I love the gentle Desdemona,
I would not my unhoused free condition230
Put into circumscription and confine
For the sea’s worth. But, look! what lights come yond?

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

OthelloNot I. I must be found:235
My parts, my title and my perfect soul
Shall manifest me rightly. Is it they?

IagoBy Janus, I think no.[Enter CASSIO, and certain Officers with torches]

OthelloThe servants of the duke, and my lieutenant.240
The goodness of the night upon you, friends!
What is the news?

CassioThe duke does greet you, general,
And he requires your haste-post-haste appearance,
Even on the instant.245

OthelloWhat is the matter, think you?

CassioSomething 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,250
And many of the consuls, raised and met,
Are at the duke’s already: you have been
hotly call’d for;
When, being not at your lodging to be found,
The senate hath sent about three several guests255
To search you out.

Othello‘Tis well I am found by you.
I will but spend a word here in the house,
And go with you.[Exit]

CassioAncient, what makes he here?

Iago‘Faith, he to-night hath boarded a land carack:
If it prove lawful prize, he’s made for ever.

CassioI do not understand.IagoHe’s married.265

CassioTo who?[Re-enter OTHELLO]

IagoMarry, to—Come, captain, will you go?

OthelloHave with you.

CassioHere comes another troop to seek for you.270

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

[Enter BRABANTIO, RODERIGO, and Officers with torches and weapons]

OthelloHolla! stand there!

RoderigoSignior, it is the Moor.275

BrabantioDown with him, thief![They draw on both sides]

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

OthelloKeep up your bright swords, for the dew will rust them.
Good signior, you shall more command with years280
Than with your weapons.

BrabantioO thou foul thief, where hast thou stow’d my daughter?
Damn’d as thou art, thou hast enchanted her;
For I’ll refer me to all things of sense,
If she in chains of magic were not bound,285
Whether a maid so tender, fair and happy,
So opposite to marriage that she shunned
The wealthy curled darlings of our nation,
Would ever have, to incur a general mock,
Run from her guardage to the sooty bosom290
Of such a thing as thou, to fear, not to delight.
Judge me the world, if ’tis not gross in sense
That thou hast practised on her with foul charms,
Abused her delicate youth with drugs or minerals
That weaken motion: I’ll have’t disputed on;295
‘Tis probable and palpable to thinking.
I therefore apprehend and do attach thee
For an abuser of the world, a practiser
Of arts inhibited and out of warrant.
Lay hold upon him: if he do resist,300
Subdue him at his peril.

OthelloHold your hands,
Both you of my inclining, and the rest:
Were it my cue to fight, I should have known it
Without a prompter. Where will you that I go305
To answer this your charge?

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

OthelloWhat if I do obey?310
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?

First Officer‘Tis true, most worthy signior;315
The duke’s in council and your noble self,
I am sure, is sent for.

BrabantioHow! the duke in council!
In this time of the night! Bring him away:
Mine’s not an idle cause: the duke himself,320
Or any of my brothers of the state,
Cannot but feel this wrong as ’twere their own;
For if such actions may have passage free,
Bond-slaves and pagans shall our statesmen be.[Exeunt]
Act I, Scene 3
A council-chamber.

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

Duke of VeniceThere is no composition in these news
That gives them credit.

First SenatorIndeed, they are disproportion’d;
My letters say a hundred and seven galleys.330

Duke of VeniceAnd mine, a hundred and forty.

Second SenatorAnd 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 confirm335
A Turkish fleet, and bearing up to Cyprus.

Duke of VeniceNay, 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.340

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

First OfficerA messenger from the galleys.[Enter a Sailor]Duke of VeniceNow, what’s the business?

SailorThe Turkish preparation makes for Rhodes;345
So was I bid report here to the state
By Signior Angelo.

Duke of VeniceHow say you by this change?

First SenatorThis cannot be,
By no assay of reason: ’tis a pageant,350
To keep us in false gaze. When we consider
The importancy of Cyprus to the Turk,
And let ourselves again but understand,
That as it more concerns the Turk than Rhodes,
So may he with more facile question bear it,355
For that it stands not in such warlike brace,
But altogether lacks the abilities
That Rhodes is dress’d in: if we make thought of this,
We must not think the Turk is so unskilful
To leave that latest which concerns him first,360
Neglecting an attempt of ease and gain,
To wake and wage a danger profitless.

Duke of VeniceNay, in all confidence, he’s not for Rhodes.First OfficerHere is more news.[Enter a Messenger]

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

First SenatorAy, so I thought. How many, as you guess?

MessengerOf thirty sail: and now they do restem370
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.375

Duke of Venice‘Tis certain, then, for Cyprus.
Marcus Luccicos, is not he in town?

First SenatorHe’s now in Florence.

Duke of VeniceWrite from us to him; post-post-haste dispatch.

First SenatorHere comes Brabantio and the valiant Moor.380


Duke of VeniceValiant Othello, we must straight employ you
Against the general enemy Ottoman.
I did not see you; welcome, gentle signior;385
We lack’d your counsel and your help tonight.

BrabantioSo 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 grief390
Is of so flood-gate and o’erbearing nature
That it engluts and swallows other sorrows
And it is still itself.

Duke of VeniceWhy, what’s the matter?

BrabantioMy daughter! O, my daughter!395

Duke of Venice[with Senator] Dead?

BrabantioAy, to me;
She is abused, stol’n from me, and corrupted
By spells and medicines bought of mountebanks;
For nature so preposterously to err,400
Being not deficient, blind, or lame of sense,
Sans witchcraft could not.

Duke of VeniceWhoe’er he be that in this foul proceeding
Hath thus beguiled your daughter of herself
And you of her, the bloody book of law405
You shall yourself read in the bitter letter
After your own sense, yea, though our proper son
Stood in your action.

BrabantioHumbly I thank your grace.
Here is the man, this Moor, whom now, it seems,410
Your special mandate for the state-affairs
Hath hither brought.

Duke of Venice[with Senator] We are very sorry for’t.

Duke of Venice[To OTHELLO] What, in your own part, can you say to this?

BrabantioNothing, but this is so.415

OthelloMost 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 offending420
Hath this extent, no more. Rude am I in my speech,
And little bless’d with the soft phrase of peace:
For since these arms of mine had seven years’ pith,
Till now some nine moons wasted, they have used
Their dearest action in the tented field,425
And little of this great world can I speak,
More than pertains to feats of broil and battle,
And therefore little shall I grace my cause
In speaking for myself. Yet, by your gracious patience,
I will a round unvarnish’d tale deliver430
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.

BrabantioA maiden never bold;435
Of spirit so still and quiet, that her motion
Blush’d at herself; and she, in spite of nature,
Of years, of country, credit, every thing,
To fall in love with what she fear’d to look on!
It is a judgment maim’d and most imperfect440
That will confess perfection so could err
Against all rules of nature, and must be driven
To find out practises of cunning hell,
Why this should be. I therefore vouch again
That with some mixtures powerful o’er the blood,445
Or with some dram conjured to this effect,
He wrought upon her.

Duke of VeniceTo vouch this, is no proof,
Without more wider and more overt test
Than these thin habits and poor likelihoods450
Of modern seeming do prefer against him.

First SenatorBut, Othello, speak:
Did you by indirect and forced courses
Subdue and poison this young maid’s affections?
Or came it by request and such fair question455
As soul to soul affordeth?

OthelloI 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,460
The trust, the office I do hold of you,
Not only take away, but let your sentence
Even fall upon my life.

Duke of VeniceFetch Desdemona hither.

OthelloAncient, conduct them: you best know the place.465
[Exeunt IAGO and Attendants]
And, till she come, as truly as to heaven
I do confess the vices of my blood,
So justly to your grave ears I’ll present
How I did thrive in this fair lady’s love,470
And she in mine.

Duke of VeniceSay it, Othello.

OthelloHer father loved me; oft invited me;
Still question’d me the story of my life,
From year to year, the battles, sieges, fortunes,475
That I have passed.
I ran it through, even from my boyish days,
To the very moment that he bade me tell it;
Wherein I spake of most disastrous chances,
Of moving accidents by flood and field480
Of hair-breadth scapes i’ the imminent deadly breach,
Of being taken by the insolent foe
And sold to slavery, of my redemption thence
And portance in my travels’ history:
Wherein of antres vast and deserts idle,485
Rough quarries, rocks and hills whose heads touch heaven
It was my hint to speak,—such was the process;
And of the Cannibals that each other eat,
The Anthropophagi and men whose heads
Do grow beneath their shoulders. This to hear490
Would Desdemona seriously incline:
But still the house-affairs would draw her thence:
Which ever as she could with haste dispatch,
She’ld come again, and with a greedy ear
Devour up my discourse: which I observing,495
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,500
And often did beguile her of her tears,
When I did speak of some distressful stroke
That my youth suffer’d. My story being done,
She gave me for my pains a world of sighs:
She swore, in faith, twas strange, ’twas passing strange,505
‘Twas pitiful, ’twas wondrous pitiful:
She wish’d she had not heard it, yet she wish’d
That heaven had made her such a man: she thank’d me,
And bade me, if I had a friend that loved her,
I should but teach him how to tell my story.510
And that would woo her. Upon this hint I spake:
She loved me for the dangers I had pass’d,
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.515

[Enter DESDEMONA, IAGO, and Attendants]

Duke of VeniceI think this tale would win my daughter too.
Good Brabantio,
Take up this mangled matter at the best:
Men do their broken weapons rather use520
Than their bare hands.

BrabantioI 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:525
Do you perceive in all this noble company
Where most you owe obedience?

DesdemonaMy noble father,
I do perceive here a divided duty:
To you I am bound for life and education;530
My life and education both do learn me
How to respect you; you are the lord of duty;
I am hitherto your daughter: but here’s my husband,
And so much duty as my mother show’d
To you, preferring you before her father,535
So much I challenge that I may profess
Due to the Moor my lord.

BrabantioGod be wi’ you! I have done.
Please it your grace, on to the state-affairs:
I had rather to adopt a child than get it.540
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:545
For thy escape would teach me tyranny,
To hang clogs on them. I have done, my lord.

Duke of VeniceLet me speak like yourself, and lay a sentence,
Which, as a grise or step, may help these lovers
Into your favour.550
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 takes555
Patience her injury a mockery makes.
The robb’d that smiles steals something from the thief;
He robs himself that spends a bootless grief.

BrabantioSo let the Turk of Cyprus us beguile;
We lose it not, so long as we can smile.560
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,565
Being strong on both sides, are equivocal:
But words are words; I never yet did hear
That the bruised heart was pierced through the ear.
I humbly beseech you, proceed to the affairs of state.

Duke of VeniceThe Turk with a most mighty preparation makes for570
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 to575
slubber the gloss of your new fortunes with this
more stubborn and boisterous expedition.

OthelloThe tyrant custom, most grave senators,
Hath made the flinty and steel couch of war
My thrice-driven bed of down: I do agnise580
A natural and prompt alacrity
I find in hardness, and do undertake
These present wars against the Ottomites.
Most humbly therefore bending to your state,
I crave fit disposition for my wife.585
Due reference of place and exhibition,
With such accommodation and besort
As levels with her breeding.

Duke of VeniceIf you please,
Be’t at her father’s.590

BrabantioI’ll not have it so.

OthelloNor I.

DesdemonaNor I; I would not there reside,
To put my father in impatient thoughts
By being in his eye. Most gracious duke,595
To my unfolding lend your prosperous ear;
And let me find a charter in your voice,
To assist my simpleness.

Duke of VeniceWhat would You, Desdemona?

DesdemonaThat I did love the Moor to live with him,600
My downright violence and storm of fortunes
May trumpet to the world: my heart’s subdued
Even to the very quality of my lord:
I saw Othello’s visage in his mind,
And to his honour and his valiant parts605
Did I my soul and fortunes consecrate.
So that, dear lords, if I be left behind,
A moth of peace, and he go to the war,
The rites for which I love him are bereft me,
And I a heavy interim shall support610
By his dear absence. Let me go with him.

OthelloLet her have your voices.
Vouch with me, heaven, I therefore beg it not,
To please the palate of my appetite,
Nor to comply with heat—the young affects615
In me defunct—and proper satisfaction.
But to be free and bounteous to her mind:
And heaven defend your good souls, that you think
I will your serious and great business scant
For she is with me: no, when light-wing’d toys620
Of feather’d Cupid seal 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 adversities625
Make head against my estimation!

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

First SenatorYou must away to-night.630

OthelloWith all my heart.

Duke of VeniceAt nine i’ the morning here we’ll meet again.
Othello, leave some officer behind,
And he shall our commission bring to you;
With such things else of quality and respect635
As doth import you.

OthelloSo please your grace, my ancient;
A man he is of honest and trust:
To his conveyance I assign my wife,
With what else needful your good grace shall think640
To be sent after me.

Duke of VeniceLet it be so.
Good night to every one.
And, noble signior,645
If virtue no delighted beauty lack,
Your son-in-law is far more fair than black.

First SenatorAdieu, brave Moor, use Desdemona well.

BrabantioLook to her, Moor, if thou hast eyes to see:
She has deceived her father, and may thee.650

[Exeunt DUKE OF VENICE, Senators, Officers, &c]

OthelloMy 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.655
Come, Desdemona: I have but an hour
Of love, of worldly matters and direction,
To spend with thee: we must obey the time.



IagoWhat say’st thou, noble heart?

RoderigoWhat will I do, thinkest thou?IagoWhy, go to bed, and sleep.

RoderigoI will incontinently drown myself.

IagoIf thou dost, I shall never love thee after. Why,665
thou silly gentleman!

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

IagoO villainous! I have looked upon the world for four
times seven years; and since I could distinguish670
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.

RoderigoWhat should I do? I confess it is my shame to be so675
fond; but it is not in my virtue to amend it.

IagoVirtue! 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 up680
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 one685
scale of reason to poise another of sensuality, the
blood and baseness of our natures would conduct us
to most preposterous conclusions: but we have
reason to cool our raging motions, our carnal
stings, our unbitted lusts, whereof I take this that690
you call love to be a sect or scion.

RoderigoIt cannot be.

IagoIt 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 thy695
friend and I confess me knit to thy deserving with
cables of perdurable toughness; I could never
better stead thee than now. Put money in thy
purse; follow thou the wars; defeat thy favour with
an usurped beard; I say, put money in thy purse. It700
cannot be that Desdemona should long continue her
love to the Moor,— put money in thy purse,—nor he
his to her: it was a violent commencement, and thou
shalt see an answerable sequestration:—put but
money in thy purse. These Moors are changeable in705
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: she must710
have change, she must: therefore put money in thy
purse. If thou wilt needs damn thyself, do it a
more delicate way than drowning. Make all the money
thou canst: if sanctimony and a frail vow betwixt
an erring barbarian and a supersubtle Venetian not715
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.720

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

IagoThou art sure of me:—go, make money:—I have told
thee often, and I re-tell thee again and again, I
hate the Moor: my cause is hearted; thine hath no725
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 more730
of this to-morrow. Adieu.

RoderigoWhere shall we meet i’ the morning?

IagoAt my lodging.RoderigoI’ll be with thee betimes.

IagoGo to; farewell. Do you hear, Roderigo?735

RoderigoWhat say you?

IagoNo more of drowning, do you hear?

RoderigoI am changed: I’ll go sell all my land.[Exit]

IagoThus do I ever make my fool my purse:740
For I mine own gain’d knowledge should profane,
If I would time expend with such a snipe.
But for my sport and profit. I hate the Moor:
And it is thought abroad, that ‘twixt my sheets
He has done my office: I know not if’t be true;745
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 will750
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.755
The Moor is of a free and open nature,
That thinks men honest that but seem to be so,
And will as tenderly be led by the nose
As asses are.
I have’t. It is engender’d. Hell and night760
Must bring this monstrous birth to the world’s light.[Exit]
Act II, Scene 1
A Sea-port in Cyprus. An open place near the quay.

[Enter MONTANO and two Gentlemen]

MontanoWhat from the cape can you discern at sea?

First GentlemanNothing at all: it is a highwrought flood;765
I cannot, ‘twixt the heaven and the main,
Descry a sail.

MontanoMethinks the wind hath spoke aloud at land;
A fuller blast ne’er shook our battlements:
If it hath ruffian’d so upon the sea,770
What ribs of oak, when mountains melt on them,
Can hold the mortise? What shall we hear of this?

Second GentlemanA segregation of the Turkish fleet:
For do but stand upon the foaming shore,
The chidden billow seems to pelt the clouds;775
The wind-shaked surge, with high and monstrous mane,
seems to cast water on the burning bear,
And quench the guards of the ever-fixed pole:
I never did like molestation view
On the enchafed flood.780

MontanoIf that the Turkish fleet
Be not enshelter’d and embay’d, they are drown’d:
It is impossible they bear it out.[Enter a third Gentleman]

Third GentlemanNews, lads! our wars are done.785
The desperate tempest hath so bang’d the Turks,
That their designment halts: a noble ship of Venice
Hath seen a grievous wreck and sufferance
On most part of their fleet.MontanoHow! is this true?790

Third GentlemanThe 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.795

MontanoI am glad on’t; ’tis a worthy governor.

Third GentlemanBut 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.800

MontanoPray heavens 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,805
Even till we make the main and the aerial blue
An indistinct regard.

Third GentlemanCome, let’s do so:
For every minute is expectancy
Of more arrivance.810

[Enter CASSIO]

CassioThanks, you the valiant of this warlike isle,
That so approve the Moor! O, let the heavens
Give him defence against the elements,
For I have lost us him on a dangerous sea.815

MontanoIs he well shipp’d?

CassioHis bark is stoutly timber’d, his pilot
Of very expert and approved allowance;
Therefore my hopes, not surfeited to death,
Stand in bold cure.820

[A cry within ‘A sail, a sail, a sail!’][Enter a fourth Gentleman]

CassioWhat noise?

Fourth GentlemanThe town is empty; on the brow o’ the sea
Stand ranks of people, and they cry ‘A sail!’825

CassioMy hopes do shape him for the governor. [Guns heard]

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

CassioI pray you, sir, go forth,830
And give us truth who ’tis that is arrived.

Second GentlemanI shall. [Exit]

MontanoBut, good lieutenant, is your general wived?

CassioMost fortunately: he hath achieved a maid835
That paragons description and wild fame;
One that excels the quirks of blazoning pens,
And in the essential vesture of creation
Does tire the ingener.
[Re-enter second Gentleman]840
How now! who has put in?

Second Gentleman‘Tis one Iago, ancient to the general.

CassioHas had most favourable and happy speed:
Tempests themselves, high seas, and howling winds,
The gutter’d rocks and congregated sands—845
Traitors ensteep’d to clog the guiltless keel,—
As having sense of beauty, do omit
Their mortal natures, letting go safely by
The divine Desdemona.

MontanoWhat is she?850

CassioShe that I spake of, our great captain’s captain,
Left in the conduct of the bold Iago,
Whose footing here anticipates our thoughts
A se’nnight’s speed. Great Jove, Othello guard,
And swell his sail with thine own powerful breath,855
That he may bless this bay with his tall ship,
Make love’s quick pants in Desdemona’s arms,
Give renew’d fire to our extincted spirits
And bring all Cyprus comfort!
[Enter DESDEMONA, EMILIA, IAGO, RODERIGO, and Attendants]860
O, behold,
The riches of the ship is come on shore!
Ye men of Cyprus, let her have your knees.
Hail to thee, lady! and the grace of heaven,
Before, behind thee, and on every hand,865
Enwheel thee round!

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

CassioHe is not yet arrived: nor know I aught
But that he’s well and will be shortly here.870

DesdemonaO, but I fear—How lost you company?

CassioThe great contention of the sea and skies
Parted our fellowship—But, hark! a sail.[Within ‘A sail, a sail!’ Guns heard]

Second GentlemanThey give their greeting to the citadel;875
This likewise is a friend.

CassioSee for the news.
[Exit Gentleman]
Good ancient, you are welcome.
[To EMILIA]880
Welcome, mistress.
Let it not gall your patience, good Iago,
That I extend my manners; ’tis my breeding
That gives me this bold show of courtesy.[Kissing her]

IagoSir, would she give you so much of her lips
As of her tongue she oft bestows on me,
You’ll have enough.

DesdemonaAlas, she has no speech.

IagoIn faith, too much;890
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.

EmiliaYou have little cause to say so.895

IagoCome on, come on; you are pictures out of doors,
Bells in your parlors, wild-cats in your kitchens,
Saints m your injuries, devils being offended,
Players in your housewifery, and housewives’ in your beds.

DesdemonaO, fie upon thee, slanderer!900

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

EmiliaYou shall not write my praise.IagoNo, let me not.

DesdemonaWhat wouldst thou write of me, if thou shouldst905
praise me?

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

DesdemonaCome on assay. There’s one gone to the harbour?

IagoAy, madam.910

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

IagoI am about it; but indeed my invention
Comes from my pate as birdlime does from frize;915
It plucks out brains and all: but my Muse labours,
And thus she is deliver’d.
If she be fair and wise, fairness and wit,
The one’s for use, the other useth it.

DesdemonaWell praised! How if she be black and witty?920

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

DesdemonaWorse and worse.

EmiliaHow if fair and foolish?

IagoShe never yet was foolish that was fair;925
For even her folly help’d her to an heir.

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

IagoThere’s none so foul and foolish thereunto,930
But does foul pranks which fair and wise ones do.

DesdemonaO 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?935

IagoShe that was ever fair and never proud,
Had tongue at will and yet was never loud,
Never lack’d gold and yet went never gay,
Fled from her wish and yet said ‘Now I may,’
She that being anger’d, her revenge being nigh,940
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,945
She was a wight, if ever such wight were,—

DesdemonaTo do what?

IagoTo suckle fools and chronicle small beer.

DesdemonaO most lame and impotent conclusion! Do not learn
of him, Emilia, though he be thy husband. How say950
you, Cassio? is he not a most profane and liberal

CassioHe speaks home, madam: You may relish him more in
the soldier than in the scholar.

Iago[Aside] He takes her by the palm: ay, well said,955
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 had960
been better you had not kissed your three fingers so
oft, which now again you are most apt to play the
sir in. Very good; well kissed! an excellent
courtesy! ’tis so, indeed. Yet again your fingers
to your lips? would they were clyster-pipes for your sake!965
[Trumpet within]
The Moor! I know his trumpet.

Cassio‘Tis truly so.

DesdemonaLet’s meet him and receive him.

CassioLo, where he comes!970

[Enter OTHELLO and Attendants]

OthelloO my fair warrior!

DesdemonaMy dear Othello!

OthelloIt gives me wonder great as my content
To see you here before me. O my soul’s joy!975
If after every tempest come such calms,
May the winds blow till they have waken’d death!
And let the labouring bark climb hills of seas
Olympus-high and duck again as low
As hell’s from heaven! If it were now to die,980
‘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.

DesdemonaThe heavens forbid985
But that our loves and comforts should increase,
Even as our days do grow!

OthelloAmen to that, sweet powers!
I cannot speak enough of this content;
It stops me here; it is too much of joy:990
And this, and this, the greatest discords be
[Kissing her]
That e’er our hearts shall make!

Iago[Aside] O, you are well tuned now!
But I’ll set down the pegs that make this music,995
As honest as I am.

OthelloCome, let us to the castle.
News, friends; our wars are done, the Turks
are drown’d.
How does my old acquaintance of this isle?1000
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:1005
Bring thou the master to the citadel;
He is a good one, and his worthiness
Does challenge much respect. Come, Desdemona,
Once more, well met at Cyprus.

[Exeunt OTHELLO, DESDEMONA, and Attendants]1010

IagoDo thou meet me presently at the harbour. Come
hither. If thou be’st valiant,— as, they say, base
men being in love have then a nobility in their
natures more than is native to them—list me. The
lieutenant tonight watches on the court of1015
guard:—first, I must tell thee this—Desdemona is
directly in love with him.

RoderigoWith him! why, ’tis not possible.

IagoLay thy finger thus, and let thy soul be instructed.
Mark me with what violence she first loved the Moor,1020
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 of1025
sport, there should be, again to inflame it and to
give satiety a fresh appetite, loveliness in favour,
sympathy in years, manners and beauties; all which
the Moor is defective in: now, for want of these
required conveniences, her delicate tenderness will1030
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 so1035
eminent in the degree of this fortune as Cassio
does? a knave very voluble; no further
conscionable than in putting on the mere form of
civil and humane seeming, for the better compassing
of his salt and most hidden loose affection? why,1040
none; why, none: a slipper and subtle knave, a
finder 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 those1045
requisites in him that folly and green minds look
after: a pestilent complete knave; and the woman
hath found him already.

RoderigoI cannot believe that in her; she’s full of
most blessed condition. 1050

IagoBlessed 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?1055

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

IagoLechery, 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. Villanous thoughts, Roderigo! when these1060
mutualities so marshal the way, hard at hand comes
the master and main exercise, the incorporate
conclusion, Pish! But, sir, be you ruled by me: I
have brought you from Venice. Watch you to-night;
for the command, I’ll lay’t upon you. Cassio knows1065
you not. I’ll not be far from you: do you find
some occasion to anger Cassio, either by speaking
too loud, or tainting his discipline; or from what
other course you please, which the time shall more
favourably minister.1070


IagoSir, he is rash and very sudden in choler, and 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 true1075
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.1080

RoderigoI will do this, if I can bring it to any
opportunity.IagoI warrant thee. Meet me by and by at the citadel:
I must fetch his necessaries ashore. Farewell.



IagoThat Cassio loves her, I do well believe it;
That she loves him, ’tis apt and of great credit:
The Moor, howbeit that I endure him not,
Is of a constant, loving, noble nature,1090
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,1095
For that I do suspect the lusty Moor
Hath leap’d into my seat; the thought whereof
Doth, like a poisonous mineral, gnaw my inwards;
And nothing can or shall content my soul
Till I am even’d with him, wife for wife,1100
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 trash
For his quick hunting, stand the putting on,1105
I’ll have our Michael Cassio on the hip,
Abuse him to the Moor in the rank garb—
For I fear Cassio with my night-cap too—
Make the Moor thank me, love me and reward me.
For making him egregiously an ass1110
And practising upon his peace and quiet
Even to madness. ‘Tis here, but yet confused:
Knavery’s plain face is never seen tin used.[Exit]
Act II, Scene 2
A street.

[Enter a Herald with a proclamation; People following]

HeraldIt 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 and1120
revels his addiction leads him: for, besides these
beneficial news, it is the celebration of his
nuptial. So much was his pleasure should be
proclaimed. All offices are open, and there is full
liberty of feasting from this present hour of five1125
till the bell have told eleven. Heaven bless the
isle of Cyprus and our noble general Othello!
Act II, Scene 3
A hall in the castle.

[Enter OTHELLO, DESDEMONA, CASSIO, and Attendants]

OthelloGood Michael, look you to the guard to-night:1130
Let’s teach ourselves that honourable stop,
Not to outsport discretion.

CassioIago hath direction what to do;
But, notwithstanding, with my personal eye
Will I look to’t.1135

OthelloIago is most honest.
Michael, good night: to-morrow with your earliest
Let me have speech with you.
Come, my dear love,1140
The purchase made, the fruits are to ensue;
That profit’s yet to come ‘tween me and you.
Good night.

[Exeunt OTHELLO, DESDEMONA, and Attendants]

[Enter IAGO]

CassioWelcome, Iago; we must to the watch.

IagoNot this hour, lieutenant; ’tis not yet ten o’ the
clock. Our general cast us thus early for the love
of his Desdemona; who let us not therefore blame:
he hath not yet made wanton the night with her; and1150
she is sport for Jove.

CassioShe’s a most exquisite lady.

IagoAnd, I’ll warrant her, fun of game.

CassioIndeed, she’s a most fresh and delicate creature.

IagoWhat an eye she has! methinks it sounds a parley of1155

CassioAn inviting eye; and yet methinks right modest.

IagoAnd when she speaks, is it not an alarum to love?

CassioShe is indeed perfection.

IagoWell, happiness to their sheets! Come, lieutenant, I1160
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.

CassioNot to-night, good Iago: I have very poor and
unhappy brains for drinking: I could well wish1165
courtesy would invent some other custom of

IagoO, they are our friends; but one cup: I’ll drink for

CassioI have drunk but one cup to-night, and that was1170
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.

IagoWhat, man! ’tis a night of revels: the gallants
desire it.1175

CassioWhere are they?

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

CassioI’ll do’t; but it dislikes me.


IagoIf I can fasten but one cup upon him,1180
With that which he hath drunk to-night already,
He’ll be as full of quarrel and offence
As my young mistress’ dog. Now, my sick fool Roderigo,
Whom love hath turn’d almost the wrong side out,
To Desdemona hath to-night caroused1185
Potations pottle-deep; and he’s to watch:
Three lads of Cyprus, noble swelling spirits,
That hold their honours in a wary distance,
The very elements of this warlike isle,
Have I to-night fluster’d with flowing cups,1190
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.1195

[Re-enter CASSIO; with him MONTANO and Gentlemen; servants following with wine]

Cassio‘Fore God, they have given me a rouse already.

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

IagoSome wine, ho!1200
And let me the canakin clink, clink;
And let me the canakin clink
A soldier’s a man;
A life’s but a span;1205
Why, then, let a soldier drink.
Some wine, boys!

Cassio‘Fore God, an excellent song.

IagoI learned it in England, where, indeed, they are
most potent in potting: your Dane, your German, and1210
your swag-bellied Hollander—Drink, ho!—are nothing
to your English.

CassioIs your Englishman so expert in his drinking?

IagoWhy, he drinks you, with facility, your Dane dead
drunk; he sweats not to overthrow your Almain; he1215
gives your Hollander a vomit, ere the next pottle
can be filled.

CassioTo the health of our general!

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

IagoO sweet England!1220
King Stephen was a worthy peer,
His breeches cost him but a crown;
He held them sixpence all too dear,
With that he call’d the tailor lown.
He was a wight of high renown,1225
And thou art but of low degree:
‘Tis pride that pulls the country down;
Then take thine auld cloak about thee.
Some wine, ho!

CassioWhy, this is a more exquisite song than the other.1230

IagoWill you hear’t again?

CassioNo; 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.

IagoIt’s true, good lieutenant.1235

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

IagoAnd so do I too, lieutenant.

CassioAy, but, by your leave, not before me; the
lieutenant is to be saved before the ancient. Let’s1240
have no more of this; let’s to our affairs.—Forgive
us our sins!—Gentlemen, let’s look to our business.
Do not think, gentlemen. I am drunk: this is my
ancient; this is my right hand, and this is my left:
I am not drunk now; I can stand well enough, and1245
speak well enough.

AllExcellent well.

CassioWhy, very well then; you must not think then that I am drunk.[Exit]

MontanoTo the platform, masters; come, let’s set the watch.1250

IagoYou see this fellow that is gone before;
He is a soldier fit to stand by Caesar
And give direction: and do but see his vice;
‘Tis to his virtue a just equinox,
The one as long as the other: ’tis pity of him.1255
I fear the trust Othello puts him in.
On some odd time of his infirmity,
Will shake this island.

MontanoBut is he often thus?

Iago‘Tis evermore the prologue to his sleep:1260
He’ll watch the horologe a double set,
If drink rock not his cradle.

MontanoIt were well
The general were put in mind of it.
Perhaps he sees it not; or his good nature1265
Prizes the virtue that appears in Cassio,
And looks not on his evils: is not this true?


Iago[Aside to him] How now, Roderigo!
I pray you, after the lieutenant; go.1270


MontanoAnd ’tis great pity that the noble Moor
Should hazard such a place as his own second
With one of an ingraft infirmity:
It were an honest action to say1275
So to the Moor.

IagoNot I, for this fair island:
I do love Cassio well; and would do much
To cure him of this evil—But, hark! what noise?

[Cry within: ‘Help! help!’][Re-enter CASSIO, driving in RODERIGO]

CassioYou rogue! you rascal!

MontanoWhat’s the matter, lieutenant?

CassioA knave teach me my duty!
I’ll beat the knave into a twiggen bottle.1285

RoderigoBeat me!

CassioDost thou prate, rogue?

[Striking RODERIGO]

MontanoNay, good lieutenant;
[Staying him]1290
I pray you, sir, hold your hand.

CassioLet me go, sir,
Or I’ll knock you o’er the mazzard.

MontanoCome, come,
you’re drunk.1295


[They fight]

Iago[Aside to RODERIGO] Away, I say; go out, and cry a mutiny.
Nay, good lieutenant,—alas, gentlemen;—1300
Help, ho!—Lieutenant,—sir,—Montano,—sir;
Help, masters!—Here’s a goodly watch indeed!
[Bell rings]
Who’s that which rings the bell?—Diablo, ho!
The town will rise: God’s will, lieutenant, hold!1305
You will be shamed for ever.

[Re-enter OTHELLO and Attendants]

OthelloWhat is the matter here?

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


OthelloHold, for your lives!

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

OthelloWhy, how now, ho! from whence ariseth this?1315
Are we turn’d Turks, and to ourselves do that
Which heaven hath forbid the Ottomites?
For Christian shame, put by this barbarous brawl:
He that stirs next to carve for his own rage
Holds his soul light; he dies upon his motion.1320
Silence that dreadful bell: it frights the isle
From her propriety. What is the matter, masters?
Honest Iago, that look’st dead with grieving,
Speak, who began this? on thy love, I charge thee.

IagoI do not know: friends all but now, even now,1325
In quarter, and in terms like bride and groom
Devesting them for bed; and then, but now—
As if some planet had unwitted men—
Swords out, and tilting one at other’s breast,
In opposition bloody. I cannot speak1330
Any beginning to this peevish odds;
And would in action glorious I had lost
Those legs that brought me to a part of it!

OthelloHow comes it, Michael, you are thus forgot?

CassioI pray you, pardon me; I cannot speak.1335

OthelloWorthy 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 thus1340
And spend your rich opinion for the name
Of a night-brawler? give me answer to it.

MontanoWorthy Othello, I am hurt to danger:
Your officer, Iago, can inform you,—
While I spare speech, which something now1345
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 sin1350
When violence assails us.

OthelloNow, by heaven,
My blood begins my safer guides to rule;
And passion, having my best judgment collied,
Assays to lead the way: if I once stir,1355
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 offence,
Though he had twinn’d with me, both at a birth,1360
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?1365

MontanoIf partially affined, or leagued in office,
Thou dost deliver more or less than truth,
Thou art no soldier.

IagoTouch me not so near:
I had rather have this tongue cut from my mouth1370
Than it should do offence to Michael Cassio;
Yet, I persuade myself, to speak the truth
Shall nothing wrong him. Thus it is, general.
Montano and myself being in speech,
There comes a fellow crying out for help:1375
And Cassio following him with determined sword,
To execute upon him. Sir, this gentleman
Steps in to Cassio, and entreats his pause:
Myself the crying fellow did pursue,
Lest by his clamour—as it so fell out—1380
The town might fall in fright: he, swift of foot,
Outran my purpose; and I return’d the rather
For that I heard the clink and fall of swords,
And Cassio high in oath; which till to-night
I ne’er might say before. When I came back—1385
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:1390
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.1395

OthelloI know, Iago,
Thy honesty and love doth mince this matter,
Making it light to Cassio. Cassio, I love thee
But never more be officer of mine.
[Re-enter DESDEMONA, attended]1400
Look, if my gentle love be not raised up!
I’ll make thee an example.

DesdemonaWhat’s the matter?

OthelloAll’s well now, sweeting; come away to bed.
Sir, for your hurts, myself will be your surgeon:1405
Lead him off.
[To MONTANO, who is led off]
Iago, look with care about the town,
And silence those whom this vile brawl distracted.
Come, Desdemona: ’tis the soldiers’ life1410
To have their balmy slumbers waked with strife.[Exeunt all but IAGO and CASSIO]

IagoWhat, are you hurt, lieutenant?

CassioAy, past all surgery.

IagoMarry, heaven forbid!1415

CassioReputation, 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!

IagoAs I am an honest man, I thought you had received1420
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!1425
there are ways to recover the general again: you
are but now cast in his mood, a punishment more in
policy than in malice, even so as one would beat his
offenceless dog to affright an imperious lion: sue
to him again, and he’s yours.1430

CassioI will rather sue to be despised than to deceive so
good a commander with so slight, so drunken, and so
indiscreet an officer. Drunk? and speak parrot?
and squabble? swagger? swear? and discourse
fustian with one’s own shadow? O thou invisible1435
spirit of wine, if thou hast no name to be known by,
let us call thee devil!

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

CassioI know not.1440

IagoIs’t possible?

CassioI 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, pleasance1445
revel and applause, transform ourselves into beasts!

IagoWhy, but you are now well enough: how came you thus

CassioIt hath pleased the devil drunkenness to give place
to the devil wrath; one unperfectness shows me1450
another, to make me frankly despise myself.

IagoCome, you are too severe a moraler: as the time,
the place, and the condition of this country
stands, I could heartily wish this had not befallen;
but, since it is as it is, mend it for your own good.1455

CassioI 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 is1460
unblessed and the ingredient is a devil.

IagoCome, 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.

CassioI have well approved it, sir. I drunk!1465

IagoYou or any man living may be drunk! at a time, man.
I’ll tell you what you shall do. Our general’s wife
is now the general: may say so in this respect, for
that he hath devoted and given up himself to the
contemplation, mark, and denotement of her parts and1470
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 between1475
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.

CassioYou advise me well.

IagoI protest, in the sincerity of love and honest kindness.1480

CassioI 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 cheque me here.

IagoYou are in the right. Good night, lieutenant; I
must to the watch.1485


IagoAnd 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 course1490
To win the Moor again? For ’tis most easy
The 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,1495
All seals and symbols of redeemed sin,
His soul is so enfetter’d to her love,
That she may make, unmake, do what she list,
Even as her appetite shall play the god
With his weak function. How am I then a villain1500
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 fool1505
Plies Desdemona to repair his fortunes
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,1510
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.
[Re-enter RODERIGO]1515
How now, Roderigo!

RoderigoI do follow here in the chase, not like a hound that
hunts, but one that fills up the cry. My money is
almost spent; I have been to-night exceedingly well
cudgelled; and I think the issue will be, I shall1520
have so much experience for my pains, and so, with
no money at all and a little more wit, return again to Venice.

IagoHow 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;1525
And wit depends on dilatory time.
Does’t not go well? Cassio hath beaten thee.
And thou, by that small hurt, hast cashier’d Cassio:
Though other things grow fair against the sun,
Yet fruits that blossom first will first be ripe:1530
Content thyself awhile. By the mass, ’tis morning;
Pleasure and action make the hours seem short.
Retire thee; go where thou art billeted:
Away, I say; thou shalt know more hereafter:
Nay, get thee gone.1535
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,1540
And bring him jump when he may Cassio find
Soliciting his wife: ay, that’s the way
Dull not device by coldness and delay.

Act III, Scene 1
Before the castle.

[Enter CASSIO and some Musicians]

CassioMasters, play here; I will content your pains;
Something that’s brief; and bid ‘Good morrow, general.’


[Enter Clown]

ClownWhy masters, have your instruments been in Naples,1550
that they speak i’ the nose thus?

First MusicianHow, sir, how!

ClownAre these, I pray you, wind-instruments?

First MusicianAy, marry, are they, sir.

ClownO, thereby hangs a tail.1555

First MusicianWhereby hangs a tale, sir?

ClownMarry. 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.1560

First MusicianWell, sir, we will not.

ClownIf 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.

First MusicianWe have none such, sir.1565

ClownThen put up your pipes in your bag, for I’ll away:
go; vanish into air; away!

[Exeunt Musicians]

CassioDost thou hear, my honest friend?

ClownNo, I hear not your honest friend; I hear you.1570

CassioPrithee, keep up thy quillets. There’s a poor piece
of gold for thee: if the gentlewoman that attends
the general’s wife be stirring, tell her there’s
one Cassio entreats her a little favour of speech:
wilt thou do this?1575

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

CassioDo, good my friend.

[Exit Clown]
[Enter IAGO]1580
In happy time, Iago.

IagoYou have not been a-bed, then?

CassioWhy, no; the day had broke
Before we parted. I have made bold, Iago,
To send in to your wife: my suit to her1585
Is, that she will to virtuous Desdemona
Procure me some access.

IagoI’ll send her to you presently;
And I’ll devise a mean to draw the Moor
Out of the way, that your converse and business1590
May be more free.

CassioI humbly thank you for’t.
[Exit IAGO]
I never knew
A Florentine more kind and honest.1595

[Enter EMILIA]

EmiliaGood 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,1600
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 front1605
To bring you in again.

CassioYet, I beseech you,
If you think fit, or that it may be done,
Give me advantage of some brief discourse
With Desdemona alone.1610

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

CassioI am much bound to you.

Act III, Scene 2
A room in the castle.

[Enter OTHELLO, IAGO, and Gentlemen]

OthelloThese 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.1620

IagoWell, my good lord, I’ll do’t.

OthelloThis fortification, gentlemen, shall we see’t?

GentlemanWe’ll wait upon your lordship.[Exeunt]
 previous scene     Act III, Scene 3The garden of the castle.     next scene 
Act III, Scene 3
The garden of the castle.


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

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

DesdemonaO, that’s an honest fellow. Do not doubt, Cassio,1630
But I will have my lord and you again
As friendly as you were.

CassioBounteous madam,
Whatever shall become of Michael Cassio,
He’s never any thing but your true servant.1635

DesdemonaI 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 further off
Than in a polite distance.

CassioAy, but, lady,1640
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.1645

DesdemonaDo 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;1650
His bed shall seem a school, his board a shrift;
I’ll intermingle every thing he does
With Cassio’s suit: therefore be merry, Cassio;
For thy solicitor shall rather die
Than give thy cause away.1655

EmiliaMadam, here comes my lord.

CassioMadam, I’ll take my leave.

DesdemonaWhy, stay, and hear me speak.

CassioMadam, not now: I am very ill at ease,
Unfit for mine own purposes.1660

DesdemonaWell, do your discretion.


[Enter OTHELLO and IAGO]

IagoHa! I like not that.

OthelloWhat dost thou say?1665

IagoNothing, my lord: or if—I know not what.

OthelloWas not that Cassio parted from my wife?

IagoCassio, my lord! No, sure, I cannot think it,
That he would steal away so guilty-like,
Seeing you coming.1670

OthelloI do believe ’twas he.

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

OthelloWho is’t you mean?1675

DesdemonaWhy, 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,1680
I have no judgment in an honest face:
I prithee, call him back.

OthelloWent he hence now?

DesdemonaAy, sooth; so humbled
That he hath left part of his grief with me,1685
To suffer with him. Good love, call him back.

OthelloNot now, sweet Desdemona; some other time.

DesdemonaBut shall’t be shortly?

OthelloThe sooner, sweet, for you.

DesdemonaShall’t be to-night at supper?1690

OthelloNo, not to-night.

DesdemonaTo-morrow dinner, then?

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

DesdemonaWhy, then, to-morrow night; or Tuesday morn;1695
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 examples1700
Out of their best—is not almost a fault
To incur a private cheque. When shall he come?
Tell me, Othello: I wonder in my soul,
What you would ask me, that I should deny,
Or stand so mammering on. What! Michael Cassio,1705
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! Trust me, I could do much,—

OthelloPrithee, no more: let him come when he will;1710
I will deny thee nothing.

DesdemonaWhy, this is not a boon;
‘Tis as I should entreat you wear your gloves,
Or feed on nourishing dishes, or keep you warm,
Or sue to you to do a peculiar profit1715
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.

OthelloI will deny thee nothing:1720
Whereon, I do beseech thee, grant me this,
To leave me but a little to myself.

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

OthelloFarewell, my Desdemona: I’ll come to thee straight.

DesdemonaEmilia, come. Be as your fancies teach you;1725
Whate’er you be, I am obedient.


OthelloExcellent wretch! Perdition catch my soul,
But I do love thee! and when I love thee not,
Chaos is come again.1730

IagoMy noble lord—

OthelloWhat dost thou say, Iago?

IagoDid Michael Cassio, when you woo’d my lady,
Know of your love?

OthelloHe did, from first to last: why dost thou ask?1735

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

OthelloWhy of thy thought, Iago?

IagoI did not think he had been acquainted with her.

OthelloO, yes; and went between us very oft.1740


OthelloIndeed! ay, indeed: discern’st thou aught in that?
Is he not honest?

IagoHonest, my lord!

OthelloHonest! ay, honest.1745

IagoMy lord, for aught I know.

OthelloWhat dost thou think?

IagoThink, my lord!

OthelloThink, my lord!
By heaven, he echoes me,1750
As if there were some monster in his thought
Too hideous to be shown. Thou dost mean something:
I heard thee say even now, thou likedst not that,
When Cassio left my wife: what didst not like?
And when I told thee he was of my counsel1755
In my whole course of wooing, thou criedst ‘Indeed!’
And didst contract and purse thy brow together,
As if thou then hadst shut up in thy brain
Some horrible conceit: if thou dost love me,
Show me thy thought.1760

IagoMy lord, you know I love you.

OthelloI think thou dost;
And, for I know thou’rt full of love and honesty,
And weigh’st thy words before thou givest them breath,
Therefore these stops of thine fright me the more:1765
For such things in a false disloyal knave
Are tricks of custom, but in a man that’s just
They are close delations, working from the heart
That passion cannot rule.

IagoFor Michael Cassio,1770
I dare be sworn I think that he is honest.

OthelloI think so too.

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

OthelloCertain, men should be what they seem.1775

IagoWhy, then, I think Cassio’s an honest man.

OthelloNay, 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.1780

IagoGood 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 things1785
Sometimes intrude not? who has a breast so pure,
But some uncleanly apprehensions
Keep leets and law-days and in session sit
With meditations lawful?

OthelloThou dost conspire against thy friend, Iago,1790
If thou but think’st him wrong’d and makest his ear
A stranger to thy thoughts.

IagoI do beseech you—
Though I perchance am vicious in my guess,
As, I confess, it is my nature’s plague1795
To spy into abuses, and oft my jealousy
Shapes faults that are not—that your wisdom yet,
From one that so imperfectly conceits,
Would take no notice, nor build yourself a trouble
Out of his scattering and unsure observance.1800
It were not for your quiet nor your good,
Nor for my manhood, honesty, or wisdom,
To let you know my thoughts.

OthelloWhat dost thou mean?

IagoGood name in man and woman, dear my lord,1805
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 him1810
And makes me poor indeed.

OthelloBy heaven, I’ll know thy thoughts.

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


IagoO, 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 damned minutes tells he o’er1820
Who dotes, yet doubts, suspects, yet strongly loves!

OthelloO misery!

IagoPoor and content is rich and rich enough,
But riches fineless is as poor as winter
To him that ever fears he shall be poor.1825
Good heaven, the souls of all my tribe defend
From jealousy!

OthelloWhy, why is this?
Think’st thou I’ld make a lie of jealousy,
To follow still the changes of the moon1830
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
To such exsufflicate and blown surmises,
Matching thy inference. ‘Tis not to make me jealous1835
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;1840
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!

IagoI am glad of it; for now I shall have reason1845
To show the love and duty that I bear you
With franker spirit: therefore, as I am bound,
Receive it from me. I speak not yet of proof.
Look to your wife; observe her well with Cassio;
Wear your eye thus, not jealous nor secure:1850
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 heaven see the pranks
They dare not show their husbands; their best conscience1855
Is not to leave’t undone, but keep’t unknown.

OthelloDost thou say so?

IagoShe did deceive her father, marrying you;
And when she seem’d to shake and fear your looks,
She loved them most.1860

OthelloAnd so she did.

IagoWhy, go to then;
She that, so young, could give out such a seeming,
To seal her father’s eyes up close as oak-
He thought ’twas witchcraft—but I am much to blame;1865
I humbly do beseech you of your pardon
For too much loving you.

OthelloI am bound to thee for ever.

IagoI see this hath a little dash’d your spirits.

OthelloNot a jot, not a jot.1870

IagoI’ 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 reach1875
Than to suspicion.

OthelloI will not.

IagoShould you do so, my lord,
My speech should fall into such vile success
As my thoughts aim not at. Cassio’s my worthy friend—1880
My lord, I see you’re moved.

OthelloNo, not much moved:
I do not think but Desdemona’s honest.

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

OthelloAnd yet, how nature erring from itself,—1885

IagoAy, there’s the point: as—to be bold with you—
Not to affect many proposed matches
Of her own clime, complexion, and degree,
Whereto we see in all things nature tends—
Foh! one may smell in such a will most rank,1890
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 forms1895
And happily repent.

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

Iago[Going] My lord, I take my leave.1900

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

Iago[Returning] My lord, I would I might entreat
your honour
To scan this thing no further; leave it to time: 1905
Though it be fit that Cassio have his place,
For sure, he fills it up with great ability,
Yet, if you please to hold him off awhile,
You shall by that perceive him and his means:
Note, if your lady strain his entertainment1910
With any strong or vehement importunity;
Much will be seen in that. In the mean time,
Let me be thought too busy in my fears—
As worthy cause I have to fear I am—
And hold her free, I do beseech your honour.1915

OthelloFear not my government.

IagoI once more take my leave.[Exit]

OthelloThis fellow’s of exceeding honesty,
And knows all qualities, with a learned spirit,1920
Of human dealings. If I do prove her haggard,
Though that her jesses were my dear heartstrings,
I’ld whistle her off and let her down the wind,
To pray at fortune. Haply, for I am black
And have not those soft parts of conversation1925
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,1930
And not their appetites! I had rather be a toad,
And live upon the vapour 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;1935
‘Tis destiny unshunnable, like death:
Even then this forked plague is fated to us
When we do quicken. Desdemona comes:
If she be false, O, then heaven mocks itself!1940
I’ll not believe’t.

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

OthelloI am to blame.1945

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

OthelloI have a pain upon my forehead here.

Desdemona‘Faith, that’s with watching; ’twill away again:
Let me but bind it hard, within this hour1950
It will be well.

OthelloYour napkin is too little:
[He puts the handkerchief from him; and it drops]
Let it alone. Come, I’ll go in with you.

DesdemonaI am very sorry that you are not well.1955


EmiliaI am glad I have found this napkin:
This was her first remembrance from the Moor:
My wayward husband hath a hundred times
Woo’d me to steal it; but she so loves the token,1960
For he conjured her she should ever keep it,
That she reserves it evermore about her
To kiss and talk to. I’ll have the work ta’en out,
And give’t Iago: what he will do with it
Heaven knows, not I;1965
I nothing but to please his fantasy.

[Re-enter Iago]

IagoHow now! what do you here alone?

EmiliaDo not you chide; I have a thing for you.IagoA thing for me? it is a common thing—1970


IagoTo have a foolish wife.

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

IagoWhat handkerchief?1975

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

IagoHast stol’n it from her?

EmiliaNo, ‘faith; she let it drop by negligence.1980
And, to the advantage, I, being here, took’t up.
Look, here it is.

IagoA good wench; give it me.

EmiliaWhat will you do with ‘t, that you have been
so earnest1985
To have me filch it?

Iago[Snatching it] Why, what’s that to you?

EmiliaIf it be not for some purpose of import,
Give’t me again: poor lady, she’ll run mad
When she shall lack it.1990

IagoBe 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 air1995
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,2000
But with a little act upon the blood.
Burn like the mines of Sulphur. I did say so:
Look, where he comes!
[Re-enter OTHELLO]
Not poppy, nor mandragora,2005
Nor all the drowsy syrups of the world,
Shall ever medicine thee to that sweet sleep
Which thou owedst yesterday.

OthelloHa! ha! false to me?

IagoWhy, how now, general! no more of that.2010

OthelloAvaunt! be gone! thou hast set me on the rack:
I swear ’tis better to be much abused
Than but to know’t a little.

IagoHow now, my lord!

OthelloWhat sense had I of her stol’n hours of lust?2015
I saw’t not, thought it not, it harm’d not me:
I slept the next night well, was free and merry;
I found not Cassio’s kisses on her lips:
He that is robb’d, not wanting what is stol’n,
Let him not know’t, and he’s not robb’d at all.2020

IagoI am sorry to hear this.

OthelloI had been happy, if the general camp,
Pioners and all, had tasted her sweet body,
So I had nothing known. O, now, for ever
Farewell the tranquil mind! farewell content!2025
Farewell the plumed troop, and the big wars,
That make ambition virtue! O, farewell!
Farewell the neighing steed, and the shrill trump,
The spirit-stirring drum, the ear-piercing fife,
The royal banner, and all quality,2030
Pride, pomp and circumstance of glorious war!
And, O you mortal engines, whose rude throats
The immortal Jove’s dead clamours counterfeit,
Farewell! Othello’s occupation’s gone!

IagoIs’t possible, my lord?2035

OthelloVillain, be sure thou prove my love a whore,
Be sure of it; give me the ocular proof:
Or by the worth of man’s eternal soul,
Thou hadst been better have been born a dog
Than answer my waked wrath!2040

IagoIs’t come to this?

OthelloMake 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!

IagoMy noble lord,—2045

OthelloIf 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 add2050
Greater than that.

IagoO grace! O heaven forgive me!
Are you a man? have you a soul or sense?
God be wi’ you; take mine office. O wretched fool.
That livest to make thine honesty a vice!2055
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 offence.

OthelloNay, stay: thou shouldst be honest.2060

IagoI should be wise, for honesty’s a fool
And loses that it works for.

OthelloBy the world,
I think my wife be honest and think she is not;
I think that thou art just and think thou art not.2065
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!2070

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

OthelloWould! nay, I will.

IagoAnd may: but, how? how satisfied, my lord?2075
Would you, the supervisor, grossly gape on—
Behold her topp’d?

OthelloDeath and damnation! O!

IagoIt were a tedious difficulty, I think,
To bring them to that prospect: damn them then,2080
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,2085
As salt as wolves in pride, and fools as gross
As ignorance made drunk. But yet, I say,
If imputation and strong circumstances,
Which lead directly to the door of truth,
Will give you satisfaction, you may have’t.2090

OthelloGive me a living reason she’s disloyal.

IagoI do not like the office:
But, sith I am enter’d in this cause so far,
Prick’d to’t by foolish honesty and love,
I will go on. I lay with Cassio lately;2095
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:2100
In sleep I heard him say ‘Sweet Desdemona,
Let us be wary, let us hide our loves;’
And then, sir, would he gripe and wring my hand,
Cry ‘O sweet creature!’ and then kiss me hard,
As if he pluck’d up kisses by the roots2105
That grew upon my lips: then laid his leg
Over my thigh, and sigh’d, and kiss’d; and then
Cried ‘Cursed fate that gave thee to the Moor!’

OthelloO monstrous! monstrous!

IagoNay, this was but his dream.2110

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

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

OthelloI’ll tear her all to pieces.2115

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

OthelloI gave her such a one; ’twas my first gift.2120

IagoI know not that; but such a handkerchief—
I am sure it was your wife’s—did I to-day
See Cassio wipe his beard with.

OthelloIf it be that—

IagoIf it be that, or any that was hers,2125
It speaks against her with the other proofs.

OthelloO, 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.2130
‘Tis gone.
Arise, black vengeance, from thy hollow cell!
Yield up, O love, thy crown and hearted throne
To tyrannous hate! Swell, bosom, with thy fraught,
For ’tis of aspics’ tongues!2135

IagoYet be content.

OthelloO, blood, blood, blood!

IagoPatience, I say; your mind perhaps may change.

OthelloNever, Iago: Like to the Pontic sea,
Whose icy current and compulsive course2140
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 revenge2145
Swallow them up. Now, by yond marble heaven,
In the due reverence of a sacred vow
I here engage my words.

IagoDo not rise yet.2150
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,2155
To wrong’d Othello’s service! Let him command,
And to obey shall be in me remorse,
What bloody business ever.[They rise]

OthelloI greet thy love,2160
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.

IagoMy friend is dead; ’tis done at your request:2165
But let her live.

OthelloDamn her, lewd minx! O, damn her!
Come, go with me apart; I will withdraw,
To furnish me with some swift means of death
For the fair devil. Now art thou my lieutenant.2170

IagoI am your own for ever.

Act III, Scene 4
Before the castle.

[Enter DESDEMONA, EMILIA, and Clown]

DesdemonaDo you know, sirrah, where Lieutenant Cassio lies?

ClownI dare not say he lies any where.2175

DesdemonaWhy, man?

ClownHe’s a soldier, and for one to say a soldier lies,
is stabbing.

DesdemonaGo to: where lodges he?

ClownTo tell you where he lodges, is to tell you where I lie.2180DesdemonaCan any thing be made of this?

ClownI 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.

DesdemonaCan you inquire him out, and be edified by report?2185ClownI will catechise the world for him; that is, make
questions, and by them answer.

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

ClownTo do this is within the compass of man’s wit: and2190
therefore I will attempt the doing it.


DesdemonaWhere should I lose that handkerchief, Emilia?

EmiliaI know not, madam.

DesdemonaBelieve me, I had rather have lost my purse2195
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.

EmiliaIs he not jealous?2200

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

EmiliaLook, where he comes.

DesdemonaI will not leave him now till Cassio
Be call’d to him.2205
How is’t with you, my lord

OthelloWell, my good lady.
O, hardness to dissemble!—2210
How do you, Desdemona?

DesdemonaWell, my good lord.

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

DesdemonaIt yet hath felt no age nor known no sorrow.

OthelloThis argues fruitfulness and liberal heart:2215
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,2220
A frank one.

DesdemonaYou may, indeed, say so;
For ’twas that hand that gave away my heart.

OthelloA liberal hand: the hearts of old gave hands;
But our new heraldry is hands, not hearts.2225

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

OthelloWhat promise, chuck?

DesdemonaI have sent to bid Cassio come speak with you.

OthelloI have a salt and sorry rheum offends me;
Lend me thy handkerchief.2230

DesdemonaHere, my lord.

OthelloThat which I gave you.

DesdemonaI have it not about me.


DesdemonaNo, indeed, my lord.2235

OthelloThat is a fault.
That handkerchief
Did an Egyptian to my mother give;
She was a charmer, and could almost read
The thoughts of people: she told her, while2240
she kept it,
‘Twould make her amiable and subdue my father
Entirely to her love, but if she lost it
Or made gift of it, my father’s eye
Should hold her loathed and his spirits should hunt2245
After new fancies: she, dying, gave it me;
And bid me, when my fate would have me wive,
To give it her. I did so: and take heed on’t;
Make it a darling like your precious eye;
To lose’t or give’t away were such perdition2250
As nothing else could match.

DesdemonaIs’t possible?

Othello‘Tis true: there’s magic in the web of it:
A sibyl, that had number’d in the world
The sun to course two hundred compasses,2255
In her prophetic fury sew’d the work;
The worms were hallow’d that did breed the silk;
And it was dyed in mummy which the skilful
Conserved of maidens’ hearts.

DesdemonaIndeed! is’t true?2260

OthelloMost veritable; therefore look to’t well.

DesdemonaThen would to God that I had never seen’t!

OthelloHa! wherefore?

DesdemonaWhy do you speak so startingly and rash?

OthelloIs’t lost? is’t gone? speak, is it out2265
o’ the way?

DesdemonaHeaven bless us!

OthelloSay you?

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


DesdemonaI say, it is not lost.

OthelloFetch’t, let me see’t.

DesdemonaWhy, so I can, sir, but I will not now.
This is a trick to put me from my suit:
Pray you, let Cassio be received again.2275

OthelloFetch me the handkerchief: my mind misgives.

DesdemonaCome, come;
You’ll never meet a more sufficient man.

OthelloThe handkerchief!

DesdemonaI pray, talk me of Cassio.2280

OthelloThe handkerchief!

DesdemonaA man that all his time
Hath founded his good fortunes on your love,
Shared dangers with you,—

OthelloThe handkerchief!2285

DesdemonaIn sooth, you are to blame.



EmiliaIs not this man jealous?

DesdemonaI ne’er saw this before.2290
Sure, there’s some wonder in this handkerchief:
I am most unhappy in the loss of it.

Emilia‘Tis not a year or two shows us a man:
They are all but stomachs, and we all but food;
To eat us hungerly, and when they are full,2295
They belch us. Look you, Cassio and my husband!

[Enter CASSIO and IAGO]

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

DesdemonaHow now, good Cassio! what’s the news with you?2300

CassioMadam, my former suit: I do beseech you
That by your virtuous means I may again
Exist, and be a member of his love
Whom I with all the office of my heart
Entirely honour: I would not be delay’d.2305
If my offence 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;2310
So shall I clothe me in a forced content,
And shut myself up in some other course,
To fortune’s alms.

DesdemonaAlas, thrice-gentle Cassio!
My advocation is not now in tune;2315
My lord is not my lord; nor should I know him,
Were he in favour as in humour alter’d.
So help me every spirit sanctified,
As I have spoken for you all my best
And stood within the blank of his displeasure2320
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.

IagoIs my lord angry?

EmiliaHe went hence but now,2325
And certainly in strange unquietness.

IagoCan he be angry? I have seen the cannon,
When it hath blown his ranks into the air,
And, like the devil, from his very arm
Puff’d his own brother:—and can he be angry?2330
Something of moment then: I will go meet him:
There’s matter in’t indeed, if he be angry.

DesdemonaI prithee, do so.
[Exit IAGO]
Something, sure, of state,2335
Either from Venice, or some unhatch’d practise
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;2340
For let our finger ache, and it indues
Our other healthful members even to that sense
Of pain: nay, we must think men are not gods,
Nor of them look for such observances
As fit the bridal. Beshrew me much, Emilia,2345
I was, unhandsome warrior as I am,
Arraigning his unkindness with my soul;
But now I find I had suborn’d the witness,
And he’s indicted falsely.

EmiliaPray heaven it be state-matters, as you think,2350
And no conception nor no jealous toy
Concerning you.

DesdemonaAlas the day! I never gave him cause.

EmiliaBut jealous souls will not be answer’d so;
They are not ever jealous for the cause,2355
But jealous for they are jealous: ’tis a monster
Begot upon itself, born on itself.

DesdemonaHeaven keep that monster from Othello’s mind!

EmiliaLady, amen.

DesdemonaI will go seek him. Cassio, walk hereabout:2360
If I do find him fit, I’ll move your suit
And seek to effect it to my uttermost.

CassioI humbly thank your ladyship.


[Enter BIANCA]

BiancaSave you, friend Cassio!

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

BiancaAnd I was going to your lodging, Cassio.2370
What, keep a week away? seven days and nights?
Eight score eight hours? and lovers’ absent hours,
More tedious than the dial eight score times?
O weary reckoning!

CassioPardon me, Bianca:2375
I have this while with leaden thoughts been press’d:
But I shall, in a more continuate time,
Strike off this score of absence. Sweet Bianca,
[Giving her DESDEMONA’s handkerchief]
Take me this work out.2380

BiancaO 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.

CassioGo to, woman!2385
Throw your vile guesses in the devil’s teeth,
From whence you have them. You are jealous now
That this is from some mistress, some remembrance:
No, in good troth, Bianca.

BiancaWhy, whose is it?2390

CassioI know not, sweet: I found it in my chamber.
I like the work well: ere it be demanded—
As like enough it will—I’ld have it copied:
Take it, and do’t; and leave me for this time.

BiancaLeave you! wherefore?2395

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

BiancaWhy, I pray you?

CassioNot that I love you not.2400

BiancaBut 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.

Cassio‘Tis but a little way that I can bring you;
For I attend here: but I’ll see you soon.2405

Bianca‘Tis very good; I must be circumstanced.

Act IV, Scene 1
Cyprus. Before the castle.

[Enter OTHELLO and IAGO]

IagoWill you think so?

OthelloThink so, Iago!2410

To kiss in private?

OthelloAn unauthorized kiss.

IagoOr to be naked with her friend in bed
An hour or more, not meaning any harm?2415

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

IagoSo they do nothing, ’tis a venial slip:2420
But if I give my wife a handkerchief,—

OthelloWhat then?

IagoWhy, then, ’tis hers, my lord; and, being hers,
She may, I think, bestow’t on any man.

OthelloShe is protectress of her honour too:2425
May she give that?

IagoHer honour is an essence that’s not seen;
They have it very oft that have it not:
But, for the handkerchief,—

OthelloBy heaven, I would most gladly have forgot it.2430
Thou said’st, it comes o’er my memory,
As doth the raven o’er the infected house,
Boding to all—he had my handkerchief.

IagoAy, what of that?

OthelloThat’s not so good now.2435

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,2440
Convinced or supplied them, cannot choose
But they must blab—

OthelloHath he said any thing?

IagoHe hath, my lord; but be you well assured,
No more than he’ll unswear.2445

OthelloWhat hath he said?

Iago‘Faith, that he did—I know not what he did.

OthelloWhat? what?


OthelloWith her?2450

IagoWith her, on her; what you will.

OthelloLie with her! lie on her! We say lie on her, when
they belie her. Lie with her! that’s fulsome.
confess, and be hanged for his labour;—first, to be2455
hanged, and then to confess.—I tremble at it.
Nature would not invest herself in such shadowing
passion without some instruction. It is not words
that shake me thus. Pish! Noses, ears, and lips.
—Is’t possible?—Confess—handkerchief!—O devil!—2460

[Falls in a trance]

IagoWork 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!2465
My lord, I say! Othello!

[Enter CASSIO]

How now, Cassio!

CassioWhat’s the matter?

IagoMy lord is fall’n into an epilepsy:2470
This is his second fit; he had one yesterday.

CassioRub him about the temples.

IagoNo, forbear;
The lethargy must have his quiet course:
If not, he foams at mouth and by and by2475
Breaks out to savage madness. Look he stirs:
Do you withdraw yourself a little while,
He will recover straight: when he is gone,
I would on great occasion speak with you.

[Exit CASSIO]2480

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

OthelloDost thou mock me?

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

OthelloA horned man’s a monster and a beast.2485

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

OthelloDid he confess it?

IagoGood sir, be a man;
Think every bearded fellow that’s but yoked2490
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,2495
And to suppose her chaste! No, let me know;
And knowing what I am, I know what she shall be.

OthelloO, thou art wise; ’tis certain.

IagoStand you awhile apart;
Confine yourself but in a patient list.2500
Whilst you were here o’erwhelmed with your grief—
A passion most unsuiting such a man—
Cassio came hither: I shifted him away,
And laid good ‘scuse upon your ecstasy,
Bade him anon return and here speak with me;2505
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 when2510
He hath, and is again to cope your wife:
I say, but mark his gesture. Marry, patience;
Or I shall say you are all in all in spleen,
And nothing of a man.

OthelloDost thou hear, Iago?2515
I will be found most cunning in my patience;
But—dost thou hear?—most bloody.

IagoThat’s not amiss;
But yet keep time in all. Will you withdraw?

[OTHELLO retires]2520

Now will I question Cassio of Bianca,
A housewife that by selling her desires
Buys herself bread and clothes: it is a creature
That dotes on Cassio; as ’tis the strumpet’s plague
To beguile many and be beguiled by one:2525
He, when he hears of her, cannot refrain
From the excess of laughter. Here he comes:

[Re-enter CASSIO]

As he shall smile, Othello shall go mad;
And his unbookish jealousy must construe2530
Poor Cassio’s smiles, gestures and light behavior,
Quite in the wrong. How do you now, lieutenant?

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

IagoPly Desdemona well, and you are sure on’t.2535

[Speaking lower]

Now, if this suit lay in Bianca’s power,
How quickly should you speed!

CassioAlas, poor caitiff!

OthelloLook, how he laughs already!2540

IagoI never knew woman love man so.

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

OthelloNow he denies it faintly, and laughs it out.

IagoDo you hear, Cassio?

OthelloNow he importunes him2545
To tell it o’er: go to; well said, well said.

IagoShe gives it out that you shall marry hey:
Do you intend it?

CassioHa, ha, ha!

OthelloDo you triumph, Roman? do you triumph?2550

CassioI marry her! what? a customer! Prithee, bear some
charity to my wit: do not think it so unwholesome.
Ha, ha, ha!

OthelloSo, so, so, so: they laugh that win.

Iago‘Faith, the cry goes that you shall marry her.2555

CassioPrithee, say true.

IagoI am a very villain else.

OthelloHave you scored me? Well.

CassioThis is the monkey’s own giving out: she is
persuaded I will marry her, out of her own love and2560
flattery, not out of my promise.

OthelloIago beckons me; now he begins the story.

CassioShe 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,2565
and, by this hand, she falls me thus about my neck—

OthelloCrying ‘O dear Cassio!’ as it were: his gesture
imports it.

CassioSo hangs, and lolls, and weeps upon me; so hales,
and pulls me: ha, ha, ha!2570

OthelloNow 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.

CassioWell, I must leave her company.

IagoBefore me! look, where she comes.2575

Cassio‘Tis such another fitchew! marry a perfumed one.
[Enter BIANCA]
What do you mean by this haunting of me?

BiancaLet the devil and his dam haunt you! What did you
mean by that same handkerchief you gave me even now?2580
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 not know who left it there!
This is some minx’s token, and I must take out the
work? There; give it your hobby-horse: wheresoever2585
you had it, I’ll take out no work on’t.

CassioHow now, my sweet Bianca! how now! how now!

OthelloBy heaven, that should be my handkerchief!

BiancaAn you’ll come to supper to-night, you may; an you
will not, come when you are next prepared for.2590[Exit]

IagoAfter her, after her.

Cassio‘Faith, I must; she’ll rail in the street else.

IagoWill you sup there?

Cassio‘Faith, I intend so.2595

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

CassioPrithee, come; will you?

IagoGo to; say no more.[Exit CASSIO]

Othello[Advancing] How shall I murder him, Iago?

IagoDid you perceive how he laughed at his vice?

OthelloO Iago!

IagoAnd did you see the handkerchief?

OthelloWas that mine?2605

IagoYours by this hand: and to see how he prizes the
foolish woman your wife! she gave it him, and he
hath given it his whore.

OthelloI would have him nine years a-killing.
A fine woman! a fair woman! a sweet woman!2610

IagoNay, you must forget that.

OthelloAy, let her rot, and perish, and be damned to-night;
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 by2615
an emperor’s side and command him tasks.

IagoNay, that’s not your way.

OthelloHang 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 high2620
and plenteous wit and invention:—

IagoShe’s the worse for all this.

OthelloO, a thousand thousand times: and then, of so
gentle a condition!

IagoAy, too gentle.2625

OthelloNay, that’s certain: but yet the pity of it, Iago!
O Iago, the pity of it, Iago!

IagoIf you are so fond over her iniquity, give her
patent to offend; for, if it touch not you, it comes
near nobody.2630

OthelloI will chop her into messes: cuckold me!

IagoO, ’tis foul in her.

OthelloWith mine officer!

IagoThat’s fouler.

OthelloGet me some poison, Iago; this night: I’ll not2635
expostulate with her, lest her body and beauty
unprovide my mind again: this night, Iago.

IagoDo it not with poison, strangle her in her bed, even
the bed she hath contaminated.

OthelloGood, good: the justice of it pleases: very good.2640

IagoAnd for Cassio, let me be his undertaker: you
shall hear more by midnight.

OthelloExcellent good.
[A trumpet within]
What trumpet is that same?2645

IagoSomething from Venice, sure. ‘Tis Lodovico
Come from the duke: and, see, your wife is with him.

[Enter LODOVICO, DESDEMONA, and Attendants]

LodovicoSave you, worthy general!

OthelloWith all my heart, sir.2650

LodovicoThe duke and senators of Venice greet you.[Gives him a letter]

OthelloI kiss the instrument of their pleasures.

[Opens the letter, and reads]

DesdemonaAnd what’s the news, good cousin Lodovico?2655

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

LodovicoI thank you. How does Lieutenant Cassio?

IagoLives, sir.

DesdemonaCousin, there’s fall’n between him and my lord2660
An unkind breach: but you shall make all well.

OthelloAre you sure of that?

DesdemonaMy lord?

Othello[Reads] ‘This fail you not to do, as you will—’

LodovicoHe did not call; he’s busy in the paper.2665
Is there division ‘twixt my lord and Cassio?

DesdemonaA most unhappy one: I would do much
To atone them, for the love I bear to Cassio.

OthelloFire and brimstone!

DesdemonaMy lord?2670

OthelloAre you wise?

DesdemonaWhat, is he angry?

LodovicoMay be the letter moved him;
For, as I think, they do command him home,
Deputing Cassio in his government.2675

DesdemonaTrust me, I am glad on’t.


DesdemonaMy lord?

OthelloI am glad to see you mad.

DesdemonaWhy, sweet Othello,—2680

Othello[Striking her] Devil!

DesdemonaI have not deserved this.

LodovicoMy lord, this would not be believed in Venice,
Though I should swear I saw’t: ’tis very much:
Make her amends; she weeps.2685

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

DesdemonaI will not stay to offend you.2690[Going]

LodovicoTruly, an obedient lady:
I do beseech your lordship, call her back.


DesdemonaMy lord?2695

OthelloWhat would you with her, sir?

LodovicoWho, I, my lord?

OthelloAy; 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;2700
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,2705
And will return to Venice. Hence, avaunt!
Cassio shall have my place. And, sir, tonight,
I do entreat that we may sup together:
You are welcome, sir, to Cyprus.—Goats and monkeys!2710


LodovicoIs 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,2715
Could neither graze nor pierce?

IagoHe is much changed.

LodovicoAre his wits safe? is he not light of brain?

IagoHe’s that he is: I may not breathe my censure
What he might be: if what he might he is not,2720
I would to heaven he were!

LodovicoWhat, strike his wife!

Iago‘Faith, that was not so well; yet would I knew
That stroke would prove the worst!

LodovicoIs it his use?2725
Or did the letters work upon his blood,
And new-create this fault?

IagoAlas, alas!
It is not honesty in me to speak
What I have seen and known. You shall observe him,2730
And his own courses will denote him so
That I may save my speech: do but go after,
And mark how he continues.

LodovicoI am sorry that I am deceived in him.

Act IV, Scene 2
A room in the castle.

OthelloYou have seen nothing then?

EmiliaNor ever heard, nor ever did suspect.

OthelloYes, you have seen Cassio and she together.

EmiliaBut then I saw no harm, and then I heard2740
Each syllable that breath made up between them.

OthelloWhat, did they never whisper?

EmiliaNever, my lord.

OthelloNor send you out o’ the way?


OthelloTo fetch her fan, her gloves, her mask, nor nothing?

EmiliaNever, my lord.

OthelloThat’s strange.

EmiliaI durst, my lord, to wager she is honest,
Lay down my soul at stake: if you think other,2750
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 wives2755
Is foul as slander.

OthelloBid her come hither: go.
She says enough; yet she’s a simple bawd
That cannot say as much. This is a subtle whore,2760
A closet lock and key of villanous secrets
And yet she’ll kneel and pray; I have seen her do’t.


DesdemonaMy lord, what is your will?

OthelloPray, chuck, come hither.2765

DesdemonaWhat is your pleasure?

OthelloLet me see your eyes;
Look in my face.

DesdemonaWhat horrible fancy’s this?

Othello[To EMILIA] Some of your function, mistress;2770
Leave procreants alone and shut the door;
Cough, or cry ‘hem,’ if any body come:
Your mystery, your mystery: nay, dispatch.


DesdemonaUpon my knees, what doth your speech import?2775
I understand a fury in your words.
But not the words.

OthelloWhy, what art thou?

DesdemonaYour wife, my lord; your true
And loyal wife.2780

OthelloCome, swear it, damn thyself
Lest, being like one of heaven, the devils themselves
Should fear to seize thee: therefore be double damn’d:
Swear thou art honest.

DesdemonaHeaven doth truly know it.2785

OthelloHeaven truly knows that thou art false as hell.

DesdemonaTo whom, my lord? with whom? how am I false?

OthelloO Desdemona! away! away! away!

DesdemonaAlas the heavy day! Why do you weep?
Am I the motive of these tears, my lord?2790
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,
Why, I have lost him too.

OthelloHad it pleased heaven2795
To try me with affliction; had they rain’d
All kinds of sores and shames on my bare head.
Steep’d me in poverty to the very lips,
Given to captivity me and my utmost hopes,
I should have found in some place of my soul2800
A drop of patience: but, alas, to make me
A fixed 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 garner’d up my heart,2805
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,2810
Patience, thou young and rose-lipp’d cherubin,—
Ay, there, look grim as hell!

DesdemonaI hope my noble lord esteems me honest.

OthelloO, ay; as summer flies are in the shambles,
That quicken even with blowing. O thou weed,2815
Who art so lovely fair and smell’st so sweet
That the sense aches at thee, would thou hadst
ne’er been born!

DesdemonaAlas, what ignorant sin have I committed?

OthelloWas this fair paper, this most goodly book,2820
Made to write ‘whore’ upon? What committed!
Committed! O thou public commoner!
I should make very forges of my cheeks,
That would to cinders burn up modesty,
Did I but speak thy deeds. What committed!2825
Heaven stops the nose at it and the moon winks,
The bawdy wind that kisses all it meets
Is hush’d within the hollow mine of earth,
And will not hear it. What committed!
Impudent strumpet!2830

DesdemonaBy heaven, you do me wrong.

OthelloAre you not a strumpet?

DesdemonaNo, as I am a Christian:
If to preserve this vessel for my lord
From any other foul unlawful touch2835
Be not to be a strumpet, I am none.

OthelloWhat, not a whore?

DesdemonaNo, as I shall be saved.

OthelloIs’t possible?

DesdemonaO, heaven forgive us!2840

OthelloI cry you mercy, then:
I took you for that cunning whore of Venice
That married with Othello.
[Raising his voice]
You, mistress,2845
That have the office opposite to Saint Peter,
And keep the gate of hell!
[Re-enter EMILIA]
You, you, ay, you!
We have done our course; there’s money for your pains:2850
I pray you, turn the key and keep our counsel.[Exit]

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

Desdemona‘Faith, half asleep.2855

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

DesdemonaWith who?

EmiliaWhy, with my lord, madam.

DesdemonaWho is thy lord?

EmiliaHe that is yours, sweet lady.2860

DesdemonaI have none: do not talk to me, Emilia;
I cannot weep; nor answer have I none,
But what should go by water. Prithee, tonight
Lay on my bed my wedding sheets: remember;
And call thy husband hither.2865

EmiliaHere’s a change indeed![Exit]

Desdemona‘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?2870

[Re-enter EMILIA with IAGO]

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

DesdemonaI cannot tell. Those that do teach young babes
Do it with gentle means and easy tasks:2875
He might have chid me so; for, in good faith,
I am a child to chiding.

IagoWhat’s the matter, lady?

EmiliaAlas, Iago, my lord hath so bewhored her.
Thrown such despite and heavy terms upon her,2880
As true hearts cannot bear.

DesdemonaAm I that name, Iago?

IagoWhat name, fair lady?

DesdemonaSuch as she says my lord did say I was.

EmiliaHe call’d her whore: a beggar in his drink2885
Could not have laid such terms upon his callat.

IagoWhy did he so?

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

IagoDo not weep, do not weep. Alas the day!

EmiliaHath she forsook so many noble matches,2890
Her father and her country and her friends,
To be call’d whore? would it not make one weep?

DesdemonaIt is my wretched fortune.

IagoBeshrew him for’t!
How comes this trick upon him?2895

DesdemonaNay, heaven doth know.

EmiliaI will be hang’d, if some eternal villain,
Some busy and insinuating rogue,
Some cogging, cozening slave, to get some office,
Have not devised this slander; I’ll be hang’d else.2900

IagoFie, there is no such man; it is impossible.

DesdemonaIf any such there be, heaven pardon him!

EmiliaA 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?2905
The Moor’s abused by some most villainous knave,
Some base notorious knave, some scurvy fellow.
O heaven, that such companions thou’ldst unfold,
And put in every honest hand a whip
To lash the rascals naked through the world2910
Even from the east to the west!

IagoSpeak within door.

EmiliaO, fie upon them! Some such squire he was
That turn’d your wit the seamy side without,
And made you to suspect me with the Moor.2915

IagoYou are a fool; go to.

DesdemonaO good 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. Here I kneel:2920
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.2925
And ever will—though he do shake me off
To beggarly divorcement—love him dearly,
Comfort forswear me! Unkindness may do much;
And his unkindness may defeat my life,
But never taint my love. I cannot say ‘whore:’2930
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.

IagoI pray you, be content; ’tis but his humour:
The business of the state does him offence,2935
And he does chide with you.

DesdemonaIf ’twere no other—

Iago‘Tis but so, I warrant.
[Trumpets within]
Hark, how these instruments summon to supper!2940
The messengers of Venice stay the meat;
Go in, and weep not; all things shall be well.
How now, Roderigo!2945

RoderigoI do not find that thou dealest justly with me.

IagoWhat in the contrary?

RoderigoEvery day thou daffest me with some device, Iago;
and rather, as it seems to me now, keepest from me
all conveniency than suppliest me with the least2950
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.

IagoWill you hear me, Roderigo?

Roderigo‘Faith, I have heard too much, for your words and2955
performances are no kin together.

IagoYou charge me most unjustly.

RoderigoWith nought 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 2960
votarist: you have told me she hath received them
and returned me expectations and comforts of sudden
respect and acquaintance, but I find none.

IagoWell; go to; very well.

RoderigoVery well! go to! I cannot go to, man; nor ’tis2965
not very well: nay, I think it is scurvy, and begin
to find myself fobbed in it.

IagoVery well.

RoderigoI tell you ’tis not very well. I will make myself
known to Desdemona: if she will return me my2970
jewels, I will give over my suit and repent my
unlawful solicitation; if not, assure yourself I
will seek satisfaction of you.

IagoYou have said now.

RoderigoAy, and said nothing but what I protest intendment of doing.2975

IagoWhy, now I see there’s mettle in thee, and even from
this instant to 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.2980

RoderigoIt hath not appeared.

IagoI 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 mean2985
purpose, courage and valour, 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.

RoderigoWell, what is it? is it within reason and compass?2990

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

RoderigoIs that true? why, then Othello and Desdemona
return again to Venice.

IagoO, no; he goes into Mauritania and takes away with2995
him the fair Desdemona, unless his abode be
lingered here by some accident: wherein none can be
so determinate as the removing of Cassio.

RoderigoHow do you mean, removing of him?

IagoWhy, by making him uncapable of Othello’s place;3000
knocking out his brains.

RoderigoAnd that you would have me to do?

IagoAy, if you dare do yourself a profit and a right.
He sups to-night with a harlotry, and thither will I
go to him: he knows not yet of his honorable 3005
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, stand not amazed at it, but go along with3010
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 suppertime, and the night grows
to waste: about it.

RoderigoI will hear further reason for this.3015

IagoAnd you shall be satisfied.[Exeunt]
 previous scene     Act IV, Scene 3Another room in the castle.     next scene 

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

OthelloO, pardon me: ’twill do me good to walk.3020

LodovicoMadam, good night; I humbly thank your ladyship.

DesdemonaYour honour is most welcome.

OthelloWill you walk, sir?

DesdemonaMy lord?3025

OthelloGet you to bed on the instant; I will be returned
forthwith: dismiss your attendant there: look it be done.

DesdemonaI will, my lord.[Exeunt OTHELLO, LODOVICO, and Attendants]

EmiliaHow goes it now? he looks gentler than he did.3030

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

EmiliaDismiss me!

DesdemonaIt was his bidding: therefore, good Emilia,.3035
Give me my nightly wearing, and adieu:
We must not now displease him.

EmiliaI would you had never seen him!

DesdemonaSo would not I. my love doth so approve him,
That even his stubbornness, his cheques, his frowns—3040
Prithee, unpin me,—have grace and favour in them.

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

DesdemonaAll’s one. Good faith, how foolish are our minds!
If I do die before thee prithee, shroud me
In one of those same sheets.3045

EmiliaCome, come you talk.

DesdemonaMy mother had a maid call’d Barbara:
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 express’d her fortune,3050
And she died singing it: that song to-night
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 Barbara. Prithee, dispatch.

EmiliaShall I go fetch your night-gown?3055

DesdemonaNo, unpin me here.
This Lodovico is a proper man.

EmiliaA very handsome man.

DesdemonaHe speaks well.

EmiliaI know a lady in Venice would have walked barefoot3060
to Palestine for a touch of his nether lip.

Desdemona[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:3065
The fresh streams ran by her, and murmur’d her moans;
Sing willow, willow, willow;
Her salt tears fell from her, and soften’d 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,-3075
Nay, that’s not next.—Hark! who is’t that knocks?

EmiliaIt’s the wind.

Desdemona[Singing] I call’d my love false love; but what
said he then?
Sing willow, willow, willow:3080
If I court moe women, you’ll couch with moe men!
So, get thee gone; good night Ate eyes do itch;
Doth that bode weeping?

Emilia‘Tis neither here nor there.

DesdemonaI have heard it said so. O, these men, these men!3085
Dost thou in conscience think,—tell me, Emilia,—
That there be women do abuse their husbands
In such gross kind?

EmiliaThere be some such, no question.

DesdemonaWouldst thou do such a deed for all the world?3090

EmiliaWhy, would not you?

DesdemonaNo, by this heavenly light!

EmiliaNor I neither by this heavenly light;
I might do’t as well i’ the dark.

DesdemonaWouldst thou do such a deed for all the world?3095

EmiliaThe world’s a huge thing: it is a great price.
For a small vice.

DesdemonaIn troth, I think thou wouldst not.

EmiliaIn troth, I think I should; and undo’t when I had
done. Marry, I would not do such a thing for a3100
joint-ring, nor for measures of lawn, nor for
gowns, petticoats, nor caps, nor any petty
exhibition; but for the whole world,—why, who would
not make her husband a cuckold to make him a
monarch? I should venture purgatory for’t.3105

DesdemonaBeshrew me, if I would do such a wrong
For the whole world.

EmiliaWhy the wrong is but a wrong i’ the world: and
having the world for your labour, tis a wrong in your
own world, and you might quickly make it right.3110

DesdemonaI do not think there is any such woman.

EmiliaYes, a dozen; and as many to the 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,3115
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,3120
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?3125
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?
Then let them use us well: else let them know,3130
The ills we do, their ills instruct us so.

DesdemonaGood night, good night: heaven me such uses send,
Not to pick bad from bad, but by bad mend![Exeunt]
 previous scene     Act V, Scene 1 Cyprus. A street.     next scene 

IagoHere, 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.3140

RoderigoBe near at hand; I may miscarry in’t.

IagoHere, at thy hand: be bold, and take thy stand.[Retires]

RoderigoI have no great devotion to the deed;
And yet he hath given me satisfying reasons:3145
‘Tis but a man gone. Forth, my sword: he dies.

IagoI have rubb’d 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,3150
He calls me to a restitution large
Of gold and jewels that I bobb’d from him,
As gifts to Desdemona;
It must not be: if Cassio do remain,
He hath a daily beauty in his life3155
That makes me ugly; and, besides, the Moor
May unfold me to him; there stand I in much peril:
No, he must die. But so: I hear him coming.

[Enter CASSIO]

RoderigoI know his gait, ’tis he.—Villain, thou diest!3160[Makes a pass at CASSIO]

CassioThat thrust had been mine enemy indeed,
But that my coat is better than thou know’st
I will make proof of thine.[Draws, and wounds RODERIGO]

RoderigoO, I am slain![IAGO from behind wounds CASSIO in the leg, and exit]

CassioI am maim’d for ever. Help, ho! murder! murder![Falls]


OthelloThe voice of Cassio: Iago keeps his word.

RoderigoO, villain that I am!

OthelloIt is even so.

CassioO, help, ho! light! a surgeon!

Othello‘Tis he:—O brave Iago, honest and just,3175
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 blotted;
Thy bed, lust-stain’d, shall with lust’s blood be spotted.3180[Exit]


CassioWhat, ho! no watch? no passage? murder! murder!

Gratiano‘Tis some mischance; the cry is very direful.

CassioO, help!3185


RoderigoO wretched villain!

LodovicoTwo or three groan: it is a heavy night:
These may be counterfeits: let’s think’t unsafe
To come in to the cry without more help.3190

RoderigoNobody come? then shall I bleed to death.


[Re-enter IAGO, with a light]

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

IagoWho’s there? whose noise is this that ones on murder?3195

LodovicoWe do not know.

IagoDid not you hear a cry?

CassioHere, here! for heaven’s sake, help me!

IagoWhat’s the matter?

GratianoThis is Othello’s ancient, as I take it.3200

LodovicoThe same indeed; a very valiant fellow.

IagoWhat are you here that cry so grievously?

CassioIago? O, I am spoil’d, undone by villains!
Give me some help.

IagoO me, lieutenant! what villains have done this?3205

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

IagoO treacherous villains!
What are you there? come in, and give some help.[To LODOVICO and GRATIANO]

RoderigoO, help me here!

CassioThat’s one of them.

IagoO murderous slave! O villain![Stabs RODERIGO]

RoderigoO damn’d Iago! O inhuman dog!3215

IagoKill men i’ the dark!—Where be these bloody thieves?—
How silent is this town!—Ho! murder! murder!—
What may you be? are you of good or evil?

LodovicoAs you shall prove us, praise us.

IagoSignior Lodovico?3220

LodovicoHe, sir.

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


IagoHow is’t, brother!

CassioMy leg is cut in two.3225

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

[Enter BIANCA]

BiancaWhat is the matter, ho? who is’t that cried?

IagoWho is’t that cried!3230

BiancaO my dear Cassio! my sweet Cassio! O Cassio,
Cassio, Cassio!

IagoO notable strumpet! Cassio, may you suspect
Who they should be that have thus many led you?


GratianoI am to find you thus: I have been to seek you.

IagoLend me a garter. So. O, for a chair,
To bear him easily hence!

BiancaAlas, he faints! O Cassio, Cassio, Cassio!

IagoGentlemen all, I do suspect this trash3240
To be a party in this injury.
Patience awhile, good Cassio. Come, come;
Lend me a light. Know we this face or no?
Alas my friend and my dear countryman
Roderigo! no:—yes, sure: O heaven! Roderigo.3245

GratianoWhat, of Venice?

IagoEven he, sir; did you know him?

GratianoKnow him! ay.

IagoSignior Gratiano? I cry you gentle pardon;
These bloody accidents must excuse my manners,3250
That so neglected you.

GratianoI am glad to see you.

IagoHow do you, Cassio? O, a chair, a chair!


IagoHe, he ’tis he.3255
[A chair brought in]
O, that’s well said; the chair!

GratianoSome good man bear him carefully from hence;
I’ll fetch the general’s surgeon.
[To BIANCA]3260
For you, mistress,
Save you your labour. He that lies slain
here, Cassio,
Was my dear friend: what malice was between you?

CassioNone in the world; nor do I know the man.3265

Iago[To BIANCA] What, look you pale? O, bear him out
o’ the air.
[CASSIO and RODERIGO are borne off]
Stay you, good gentlemen. Look you pale, mistress?
Do you perceive the gastness of her eye?3270
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]

Emilia‘Las, what’s the matter? what’s the matter, husband?

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

EmiliaAlas, good gentleman! alas, good Cassio!3280

IagoThis is the fruit of whoring. Prithee, Emilia,
Go know of Cassio where he supp’d to-night.
What, do you shake at that?

BiancaHe supp’d at my house; but I therefore shake not.3285

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

EmiliaFie, fie upon thee, strumpet!

BiancaI am no strumpet; but of life as honest
As you that thus abuse me.

EmiliaAs I! foh! fie upon thee!3290

IagoKind gentlemen, let’s go see poor Cassio dress’d.
Come, mistress, you must tell’s another tale.
Emilia run you to the citadel,
And tell my lord and lady what hath happ’d.
Will you go on? I pray.3295
This is the night
That either makes me or fordoes me quite.[Exeunt]
 previous scene     Act V, Scene 2 A bedchamber in the castle: DESDEMONA in bed asleep; a light burning.      
OthelloIt 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,3305
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,3310
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 pluck’d the rose,
I cannot give it vital growth again.3315
It must needs wither: I’ll smell it on the tree.
[Kissing her]
Ah balmy breath, that dost almost persuade
Justice to break her sword! One more, one more.
Be thus when thou art dead, and I will kill thee,3320
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.

DesdemonaWho’s there? Othello?3325

OthelloAy. Desdemona.

DesdemonaWill you come to bed, my lord?

OthelloHave you pray’d to-night, Desdemona?

DesdemonaAy, my lord.

OthelloIf you bethink yourself of any crime3330
Unreconciled as yet to heaven and grace,
Solicit for it straight.

DesdemonaAlas, my lord, what do you mean by that?

OthelloWell, do it, and be brief; I will walk by:
I would not kill thy unprepared spirit;3335
No; heaven forfend! I would not kill thy soul.

DesdemonaTalk you of killing?

OthelloAy, I do.

DesdemonaThen heaven
Have mercy on me!3340

OthelloAmen, with all my heart!

DesdemonaIf you say so, I hope you will not kill me.


DesdemonaAnd yet I fear you; for you are fatal then
When your eyes roll so: why I should fear I know not,3345
Since guiltiness I know not; but yet I feel I fear.

OthelloThink on thy sins.

DesdemonaThey are loves I bear to you.

OthelloAy, and for that thou diest.

DesdemonaThat death’s unnatural that kills for loving.3350
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.

OthelloPeace, and be still!3355

DesdemonaI will so. What’s the matter?

OthelloThat handkerchief which I so loved and gave thee
Thou gavest to Cassio.

DesdemonaNo, by my life and soul!
Send for the man, and ask him.3360

OthelloSweet soul, take heed,
Take heed of perjury; thou art on thy deathbed.

DesdemonaAy, but not yet to die.

OthelloYes, presently:
Therefore confess thee freely of thy sin;3365
For to deny each article with oath
Cannot remove nor choke the strong conception
That I do groan withal. Thou art to die.

DesdemonaThen Lord have mercy on me!

OthelloI say, amen.3370

DesdemonaAnd 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.

OthelloBy heaven, I saw my handkerchief in’s hand.3375
O perjured woman! thou dost stone my heart,
And makest me call what I intend to do
A murder, which I thought a sacrifice:
I saw the handkerchief.

DesdemonaHe found it then;3380
I never gave it him: send for him hither;
Let him confess a truth.

OthelloHe hath confess’d.

DesdemonaWhat, my lord?

OthelloThat he hath used thee.3385

DesdemonaHow? unlawfully?


DesdemonaHe will not say so.

OthelloNo, his mouth is stopp’d;
Honest Iago hath ta’en order for’t.3390

DesdemonaO! my fear interprets: what, is he dead?

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

DesdemonaAlas! he is betray’d and I undone.

OthelloOut, strumpet! weep’st thou for him to my face?3395

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

OthelloDown, strumpet!

DesdemonaKill me to-morrow: let me live to-night!

OthelloNay, if you strive—

DesdemonaBut half an hour!3400

OthelloBeing done, there is no pause.

DesdemonaBut while I say one prayer!

OthelloIt is too late.[He stifles her]

Emilia[Within] My lord, my lord! what, ho! my lord, my lord!3405

OthelloWhat 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.

Emilia[Within] What, ho! my lord, my lord!

OthelloWho’s there?3410

Emilia[Within] O, good my lord, I would speak a word with you!

OthelloYes: ’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?—3415
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 eclipse3420
Of sun and moon, and that the affrighted globe
Should yawn at alteration.

Emilia[Within] I do beseech you
That I may speak with you, O, good my lord!

OthelloI had forgot thee: O, come in, Emilia;3425
Soft; by and by. Let me the curtains draw.
Where art thou?
[Unlocks the door]
[Enter EMILIA]
What’s the matter with thee now?3430

EmiliaO, my good lord, yonder’s foul murders done!

OthelloWhat, now?

EmiliaBut now, my lord.

OthelloIt is the very error of the moon;
She comes more nearer earth than she was wont,3435
And makes men mad.

EmiliaCassio, my lord, hath kill’d a young Venetian
Call’d Roderigo.

OthelloRoderigo kill’d!
And Cassio kill’d!3440

EmiliaNo, Cassio is not kill’d.

OthelloNot Cassio kill’d! then murder’s out of tune,
And sweet revenge grows harsh.

DesdemonaO, falsely, falsely murder’d!

EmiliaAlas, what cry is that?3445

OthelloThat! what?

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

DesdemonaA guiltless death I die.3450

EmiliaO, who hath done this deed?

DesdemonaNobody; I myself. Farewell
Commend me to my kind lord: O, farewell![Dies]

OthelloWhy, how should she be murder’d?3455

EmiliaAlas, who knows?

OthelloYou heard her say herself, it was not I.

EmiliaShe said so: I must needs report the truth.

OthelloShe’s, like a liar, gone to burning hell:
‘Twas I that kill’d her.3460

EmiliaO, the more angel she,
And you the blacker devil!

OthelloShe turn’d to folly, and she was a whore.

EmiliaThou dost belie her, and thou art a devil.

OthelloShe was false as water.3465

EmiliaThou art rash as fire, to say
That she was false: O, she was heavenly true!

OthelloCassio did top her; ask thy husband else.
O, I were damn’d beneath all depth in hell,
But that I did proceed upon just grounds3470
To this extremity. Thy husband knew it all.

EmiliaMy husband!

OthelloThy husband.

EmiliaThat she was false to wedlock?

OthelloAy, with Cassio. Nay, had she been true,3475
If heaven would make me such another world
Of one entire and Perfect chrysolite,
I’ld not have sold her for it.

EmiliaMy husband!

OthelloAy, ’twas he that told me first:3480
An honest man he is, and hates the slime
That sticks on filthy deeds.

EmiliaMy husband!

OthelloWhat needs this iteration, woman? I say thy husband.

EmiliaO mistress, villany hath made mocks with love,3485
My husband say that she was false!

OthelloHe, woman;
I say thy husband: dost understand the word?
My friend, thy husband, honest, honest Iago.

EmiliaIf he say so, may his pernicious soul3490
Rot half a grain a day! he lies to the heart:
She was too fond of her most filthy bargain.


EmiliaDo thy worst:
This deed of thine is no more worthy heaven3495
Than thou wast worthy her.

OthelloPeace, you were best.

EmiliaThou 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—3500
I care not for thy sword; I’ll make thee known,
Though I lost twenty lives.—Help! help, ho! help!
The Moor hath kill’d my mistress! Murder! murder!

[Enter MONTANO, GRATIANO, IAGO, and others]

MontanoWhat is the matter? How now, general!3505

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

GratianoWhat is the matter?

EmiliaDisprove this villain, if thou be’st a man:
He says thou told’st him that his wife was false:3510
I know thou didst not, thou’rt not such a villain:
Speak, for my heart is full.

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

EmiliaBut did you ever tell him she was false?3515

IagoI did.

EmiliaYou told a lie, an odious, damned lie;
Upon my soul, a lie, a wicked lie.
She false with Cassio!—did you say with Cassio?

IagoWith Cassio, mistress. Go to, charm your tongue.3520

EmiliaI will not charm my tongue; I am bound to speak:
My mistress here lies murder’d in her bed,—

AllO heavens forfend!

EmiliaAnd your reports have set the murder on.

OthelloNay, stare not, masters: it is true, indeed.3525

Gratiano‘Tis a strange truth.

MontanoO monstrous act!

EmiliaVillany, villany, villany!
I think upon’t, I think: I smell’t: O villany!—
I thought so then:—I’ll kill myself for grief:—3530
O villany, villany!

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

EmiliaGood gentlemen, let me have leave to speak:
‘Tis proper I obey him, but not now.
Perchance, Iago, I will ne’er go home.3535

OthelloO! O! O![He falls on the bed]

EmiliaNay, lay thee down and roar;
For thou hast kill’d the sweetest innocent
That e’er did lift up eye.3540

Othello[Rising] O, she was foul!
I scarce did know you, uncle: there lies your niece,
Whose breath, indeed, these hands have newly stopp’d:
I know this act shows horrible and grim.

GratianoPoor Desdemona! I am glad thy father’s dead:3545
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 reprobation.3550

Othello‘Tis pitiful; but yet Iago knows
That she with Cassio hath the act of shame
A thousand times committed; Cassio confess’d it:
And she did gratify his amorous works
With that recognizance and pledge of love3555
Which I first gave her; I saw it in his hand:
It was a handkerchief, an antique token
My father gave my mother.

EmiliaO heaven! O heavenly powers!

IagoCome, hold your peace.3560

Emilia‘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.

IagoBe wise, and get you home.3565

EmiliaI will not.[IAGO offers to stab EMILIA]

Your sword upon a woman?

EmiliaO thou dull Moor! that handkerchief thou speak’st of3570
I found by fortune and did give my husband;
For often, with a solemn earnestness,
More than indeed belong’d to such a trifle,
He begg’d of me to steal it.

IagoVillainous whore!3575

EmiliaShe give it Cassio! no, alas! I found it,
And I did give’t my husband.

IagoFilth, thou liest!

EmiliaBy heaven, I do not, I do not, gentlemen.
O murderous coxcomb! what should such a fool3580
Do with so good a woman?

OthelloAre there no stones in heaven
But what serve for the thunder?—Precious villain!
[He runs at IAGO. IAGO, from behind, stabs EMILIA, and exit]

GratianoThe woman falls; sure, he hath kill’d his wife.3585

EmiliaAy, ay: O, lay me by my mistress’ side.

GratianoHe’s gone, but his wife’s kill’d.

Montano‘Tis a notorious villain. Take you this weapon,
Which I have here recover’d from the Moor:
Come, guard the door without; let him not pass,3590
But kill him rather. I’ll after that same villain,
For ’tis a damned slave.[Exeunt MONTANO and GRATIANO]

OthelloI am not valiant neither,
But ever puny whipster gets my sword:3595
But why should honour outlive honesty?
Let it go all.EmiliaWhat did thy song bode, lady?
Hark, canst thou hear me? I will play the swan.
And die in music.3600
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, I die, I die.3605[Dies]

OthelloI 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.

Gratiano[Within] If thou attempt it, it will cost thee dear:3610
Thou hast no weapon, and perforce must suffer.

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

[Re-enter GRATIANO]

GratianoWhat is the matter?3615

OthelloBehold, 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 impediments3620
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 weapon’d;
Here is my journey’s end, here is my butt,
And very sea-mark of my utmost sail.3625
Do you go back dismay’d? ’tis a lost fear;
Man but a rush against Othello’s breast,
And he retires. Where should Othello go?
Now, how dost thou look now? O ill-starr’d wench!
Pale as thy smock! when we shall meet at compt,3630
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 cursed slave!
Whip me, ye devils,
From the possession of this heavenly sight!3635
Blow me about in winds! roast me in sulphur!
Wash me in steep-down gulfs of liquid fire!
O Desdemona! Desdemona! dead!
Oh! Oh! Oh!
[Enter LODOVICO. MONTANO, CASSIO carried in a chair,]3640
and Officers with IAGO, prisoner]

LodovicoWhere is this rash and most unfortunate man?

OthelloThat’s he that was Othello: here I am.

LodovicoWhere is that viper? bring the villain forth.

OthelloI look down towards his feet; but that’s a fable.3645
If that thou best a devil, I cannot kill thee.[Wounds IAGO]

LodovicoWrench his sword from him.

IagoI bleed, sir; but not kill’d.

OthelloI am not sorry neither: I’ld have thee live;3650
For, in my sense, ’tis happiness to die.

LodovicoO thou Othello, thou wert once so good,
Fall’n in the practise of a damned slave,
What shall be said to thee?

OthelloWhy, any thing:3655
An honourable murderer, if you will;
For nought I did in hate, but all in honour.

LodovicoThis wretch hath part confess’d his villany:
Did you and he consent in Cassio’s death?


CassioDear general, I never gave you cause.

OthelloI 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?

IagoDemand me nothing: what you know, you know:3665
From this time forth I never will speak word.

LodovicoWhat, not to pray?

GratianoTorments will ope your lips.

OthelloWell, thou dost best.

LodovicoSir, you shall understand what hath befall’n,3670
Which, as I think, you know not. Here is a letter
Found in the pocket of the slain Roderigo;
And here another: the one of them imports
The death of Cassio to be undertook
By Roderigo.3675

OthelloO villain!

CassioMost heathenish and most gross!

LodovicoNow here’s another discontented paper,
Found in his pocket too; and this, it seems,
Roderigo meant to have sent this damned villain;3680
But that belike Iago in the interim
Came in and satisfied him.

OthelloO the pernicious caitiff!
How came you, Cassio, by that handkerchief
That was my wife’s?3685

CassioI found it in my chamber:
And he himself confess’d but even now
That there he dropp’d it for a special purpose
Which wrought to his desire.

OthelloO fool! fool! fool!3690

CassioThere 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,3695
Iago set him on.

LodovicoYou 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 cruelty3700
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 him away.

OthelloSoft you; a word or two before you go.3705
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 speak3710
Of one that loved not wisely but too well;
Of one not easily jealous, but being wrought
Perplex’d in the extreme; of one whose hand,
Like the base Indian, threw a pearl away
Richer than all his tribe; of one whose subdued eyes,3715
Albeit unused to the melting mood,
Drop tears as fast as the Arabian trees
Their medicinal gum. Set you down this;
And say besides, that in Aleppo once,
Where a malignant and a turban’d Turk3720
Beat a Venetian and traduced the state,
I took by the throat the circumcised dog,
And smote him, thus.[Stabs himself]

LodovicoO bloody period!3725

GratianoAll that’s spoke is marr’d.

OthelloI kiss’d thee ere I kill’d thee: no way but this;
Killing myself, to die upon a kiss.[Falls on the bed, and dies]

CassioThis did I fear, but thought he had no weapon;3730
For he was great of heart.

Lodovico[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;3735
Let it be hid. Gratiano, keep the house,
And seize upon the fortunes of the Moor,
For they succeed on you. To you, lord governor,
Remains the censure of this hellish villain;
The time, the place, the torture: O, enforce it!3740
Myself will straight aboard: and to the state
This heavy act with heavy heart relate.[Exeunt]
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