Othello simplified

Synopsis

This play opens centuries ago in Venice, at a time when Venice had far-flung interests and was recognized as one of the world’s major trading centers. Soon after the play opens a man named Iago provides us with the play’s central theme.  He casually says to his friend Roderigo “in following the Moor, I follow but myself.  I am not what I seem.”  The Moor is Othello.  He is from North Africa and is a general in the Venetian army.  Othello has recently promoted one Michael Cassio over Iago to the rank of lieutenant, leaving Iago as his ancient, the lowest Venetian officer level.  Iago accepts Othello’s appointment as his ancient, but he views the position as an insult and it infuriates him.  Iago will gain his revenge.  Will he ever.

As we soon learn, Iago’s actions are so dreadful that they defy one’s imagination to believe there could ever be anyone like this; that anyone could ever treat other people so poorly, regardless of the circumstances.  Iago’s goal is at all costs to destroy Othello, the Moor of Venice.  And one method Iago uses in seeking his revenge is to shamelessly use Roderigo as a foil, letting Roderigo believe all along that he is a trusted friend. 

A secondary theme in the play; a theme consistent with Shakespeare’s pattern of making sharp contrasts, is the beautiful relationship Shakespeare develops between the newly married Othello and Desdemona, a relationship later shattered by Iago.  The play begins very early one morning when Iago and Roderigo waken Brabantio, a Venetian senator, to tell him that his daughter Desdemona has eloped with Othello and that their whereabouts is unknown.

Cassio locates Othello and alerts him to a separate threat, having nothing to do with his elopement, but rather to a serious external threat facing Cyprus.  Cyprus is part of the Venetian empire.  Cassio lets him know that the Duke of Venice, Venice’s senior political leader, “requires your haste-post appearance, even on the instant.”  Othello surfaces in Venice.  With fire in his eyes, Brabantio enters and confronts Othello, saying “O, thou foul thief, where hast thou stored my daughter?  If he do resist, subdue him at his peril.”  Othello responds “Whither will you that I go to answer this your charge?”  Brabantio says “To prison.” Othello says, “What if I do obey?”  Othello lets Brabantio know that Venice faces a threat in Cyprus from the Turkish navy and that the duke needs him.  Brabantio responds “Your noble self I am sure is sent for, but mine’s not an idle cause.” 

Brabantio rants on, suggesting that Othello must have used witchcraft to win his daughter.  Othello calmly acknowledges that he and the beautiful and charming Desdemona are married, suggesting “I will a round unvarnished tale deliver of my whole course of love --- what drugs, what charms, what conjuration.”  Desdemona modestly says to her father “But here’s my husband.  And so much duty as my mother showed to you, preferring you before her father, so much I challenge that I may profess due to the Moor my lord.” Taken aback, Brabantio says “God be with you!  I have done.” 

As expected, the duke orders Othello to lead the Venetian effort to thwart Turkey’s navel threat to Cyprus.  Desdemona convinces the duke and senators that she should be permitted to join her husband while he’s on assignment in Cyprus.  As a side issue, Roderigo, who just happens to have been her recent boyfriend, feels the pain of lost love.  After listening to her proclaim her love for the Moor, Roderigo says, “I will immediately drown myself.”  Iago says to him “Why, thou silly gentleman!” Roderigo says “It is silliness to live, when to live is torment.”  But then he says “I confess it is my shame to be so doting, but it is not in my power to amend it.”  Iago finally says “Let us unite in our revenge against him. No more drowning, do you hear?”  Roderigo says “I am changed” and exits. In a soliloquy, Iago lets us know that his plan is to cause Othello to become seriously jealous of Cassio by causing the Moor to believe that Cassio and Desdemona are more than just casual friends.

The huge Turkish fleet is lost off the coast of Cyprus in a stormy sea.  However, Othello, Desdemona, Iago, Cassio, Roderigo and others escape the storm and safely arrive in Cyprus.  Othello throws a party to honor their good fortune.  Iago promptly begins his long and malicious journey to ruin Othello, baiting Cassio into making complimentary comments about Desdemona, and then encouraging Roderigo to provoke Cassio during that evening’s party.

Othello instructs his Lieutenant Cassio “not to celebrate past the point of discretion” during the party, yet Cassio lets Iago talk him into drinking too much; Cassio having told Iago that “I have very poor and unhappy brains for drinking.” Having listened to Iago, Roderigo initiates a fight with Cassio that turns into a fight with Montano, a Cypriot official, a fight that infuriates Othello, who then lifts Cassio’s commission, telling him, “nevermore be officer of mine.” 

Cassio is devastated.  Continuing his crusade against Othello, Iago suggests Cassio “confess himself freely to Desdemona.”  Aside, Iago tells us that he plans to tell Othello of Cassio’s “lustful” interest in his wife and how she will “strive to do Cassio good.”  To further his plan to set up Cassio as his foil, Iago draws his wife, Emilia, into the plot, she being Desdemona’s aide. 

Sweetheart Desdemona tells Cassio “I will do all my abilities in thy behalf.”  As Iago and Othello enter, Cassio quietly slips away.  Othello notices Cassio’s departure, as does Iago who says “I cannot think it that he would steal away so guilty-like, seeing you coming.” Iago initiates a conversation with Othello, delicately opening the issue of what he says he sees as the too-friendly relationship between Cassio and Desdemona, causing the easily duped Othello to thank him for his insight.  Iago says “I speak not yet of proof” as he continues to undermine Desdemona’s faithfulness in Othello’s mind, all the while Othello accepting Iago’s comments at face value.  As Iago exits, Othello says “This honest creature doubtless sees and knows more than he unfolds.”  Desdemona enters and criticizes Othello for being late for dinner.  He says he has a headache.  She presses her handkerchief to his forehead and it falls, unnoticed by all but Emilia.  Emilia picks it up as Desdemona and Othello exit. Emilia innocently mentions to Iago that she has the handkerchief.  He takes it from her, telling her “not to admit to knowing about it.”  Iago plants the handkerchief in Cassio’s bedroom.  An angry Othello, reflecting on what Iago has been saying, enters, telling Iago “Give me ocular proof.”  Iago tells Othello that he overheard Cassio talking of Desdemona in his sleep, and that he saw Cassio with a beautiful “handkerchief spotted with strawberries.”  Othello responds, “’Twas my first gift to her.” With no sense of conscience, Iago pledges his service and loyalty to Othello.  Othello challenges Iago’s loyalty, saying “within these three days let me hear thee say that Cassio’s not alive.”  Iago says “My friend is dead.”  Othello says “Now art thou my lieutenant.” 

Desdemona frets over the loss of her handkerchief.  Emilia pleads innocence, not wanting to cross her husband.  Othello enters, demanding the handkerchief from Desdemona.  Desdemona dances around the issue, changing the subject, asking him to reinstate Cassio.  Othello exits and he’s angry.  Desdemona wonders aloud that “something from Venice or earlier undisclosed matter” is bothering him.  Emilia responds “Lady, amen.”  Meanwhile Cassio asks his Cypriot girlfriend Bianca to take the stitching out of the handkerchief.  Bianca becomes jealous, saying “This is some token from a newer friend.” 

Ever persistent Iago continues to torment Othello over the missing handkerchief.  Othello stands aside.  Cassio enters and begins bragging to Iago about how much Bianca loves him.  A jealous Bianca enters, telling Cassio that she will “take out no work” on the handkerchief.  Cassio and Bianca exit.  Overhearing the comment, an infuriated Othello comes forward saying “Get me some poison, Iago.” Iago responds “Strangle her in her bed.”  

At about this time, Lodovico, a kinsman of Brabantio, arrives from Venice.  Lodovico hands Othello a paper from Venice, a paper that lets him know that he is to return to Venice and that Cassio is to replace him as governor of Cyprus. The news unnerves Othello, to say the least.   While Othello is reading the paper, gentle-hearted Desdemona innocently tells Lodovico that Cassio is in Othello’s doghouse, and she’s upset “for the love I bear for Cassio.”  Overhearing the comment, Othello strikes her, not surprisingly upsetting a disbelieving Lodovico. Desdemona exits.  A frustrated Othello leaves for home. He berates his wife, letting her know how upset he is with her. She responds, “What ignorant sin have I committed?”  In turn, innocent Desdemona seeks sympathy from Iago.

By now Roderigo is upset with Iago, unable as he is to shed his interest in Desdemona, having earlier given Iago jewels to give to Desdemona; jewels that he says would “have corrupted a nun.”  Roderigo says to Iago “you have told me she received them and returned my expectations and comforts of sudden respect and acquaintance, but I find none.”  Having kept the jewels, ever persuasive Iago convinces Roderigo that Cassio is the problem and that the two of them need by “some accident remove Cassio.”

It is at about this time when Othello commands Desdemona to “get you to bed on th’ instant” and to “dismiss your assistant there,” meaning Emilia.  Desdemona asks Emilia if there are wives who would be unfaithful, and Emilia replies “There be some such, no question.”  Emilia proceeds to offer Desdemona her thoughts on the circumstances where women might be unfaithful, and says “Else let them know, the ills we do, their ills instruct us so.”

Iago has by now talked Roderigo into killing Cassio. Roderigo does attempt to kill Cassio, but in the attempt only wounds him, and in the scuffle seriously wounds himself.  Feeling that possibly truth will out; Iago kills his long-time friend, the badly injured and defenseless Roderigo.  Cassio survives.  Separately, Desdemona having been wakened by Othello, having sensed that the end was near, but nonetheless following his instructions carefully, is suffocated by him. Othello exits.  Emilia enters and asks a dying Desdemona “who hath done this deed?” Desdemona casually responds “Nobody. I myself. Commend me to my kind lord.”  Othello finally comes to realize through Emilia’s comments and actions that he has been seriously duped by Iago.

Gratiano, another Venetian official, enters and says “Poor Desdemon, I am glad thy father’s dead.” Since Emilia won’t stop telling it like it is, Iago kills her, exits, but is soon captured.  Othello, realizing how desperate things are for him, becomes genuinely remorseful, saying “In my sense ‘tis happiness to die.”  Lodovico announces “Cassio rules in Cyprus.” Othello tells Lodovico how he wants to be remembered, and then kills himself. A guarded Iago is turned over to Cassio. 

Principal Characters

Bianca.  Bianca is Cassio’s girlfriend in Cyprus.  She seems genuinely to care for him, but Shakespeare gives her a short shrift, in our view.  She doesn’t have a big role, but it’s an important role.

Brabantio.  Brabantio is Desdemona’s father.  He is a Venetian senator and is only involved in the first part of the play.  He is not pleased when Desdemona elopes with Othello. 

Cassio.  Michael Cassio is described early by Iago as “a great arithmetician, a Florentine, a fellow almost damned in a fair wife, that never set a squadron in the field.”  He is Othello’s lieutenant, an issue that grates Iago enormously.  Iago later says that “The knave is handsome, young, and hath all those requisites in him that folly and green minds look after.”  Cassio often doesn’t seem to think for himself, tending to accept whatever suggestions Iago offers as good counsel, seemingly naïve and undisciplined.  Cassio ends up badly injured, but at the end of the play becomes the ruling Venetian in Cyprus.

Desdemona.  Desdemona is a Venetian, Othello’s wife and Brabantio’s daughter.  Her nickname is Desdemon.  She is at the center of the play; her speaking role not representing her influence.  She is beautiful, charming, and loyal to her husband and true to her friends.  We think she’s the greatest. 

Emilia.  Emilia is Iago’s intrepid wife and Desdemona’s attendant.  Iago uses Emilia as he does just about everyone else; that is to further his aim to discredit and destroy Othello.  She is very strong, standing up directly to both Othello and her husband, who, when push comes to shove, kills her.  She is loyal to Desdemona throughout.  She’s a heroine of the play. 

Iago.   Iago is a standard-bearer or “ancient” in the Venetian army unit commanded by Othello; an ancient being the lowest ranking commissioned officer in the infantry.  He has been cast by Shakespeare as so incredibly sinister, that we believe Shakespeare has in Iago created someone who is given characteristics that are so wicked that they are beyond the capacity of any human to have.  He is twenty-eight years old, and no doubt clever and quick, but is also the quintessential user of people to further his vengeful agenda, most of his associates seeming to be naïve and gullible. 

Lodovico.   He is a Venetian senator and is related to Brabantio.  He seems to be the senior go-between; the one who represents Venetian policy to the Venetian military people in Cyprus.  Othello refers to him as uncle, as he does to Gratiano, another Venetian senator who is also related to Brabantio.

Othello.  Othello is known as the Moor of Venice.  He is a general in the Venetian army and the senior Venetian military person representing Venice in Cyprus.  He seems to be gullible and lack confidence; is called “dull” and “a dolt” by Emilia late in the play.  He certainly is in love with Desdemona. 

Roderigo.   Roderigo believes Iago to be his good friend.  Roderigo was Desdemona’s former boyfriend and never gave up the hope of winning her.  He gives jewels and gold to Iago to give to her, all of which Iago keeps.  Iago uses Roderigo as his foil, misusing him badly, using him for “sport and profit,” killing him in the end.

The Play


  • Act 1, Scene 1
  • Roderigo and Iago are on stage.
  • RODERIGO
  • Thou toldst me thou didst hold him in thy hate.
  • IAGO
  • Despise me if I do not. By the faith of man, I know my value, and I am worth no worse a place. For certain, says he, “I have already chose my officer.” And what was he? One Michael Cassio, a Florentine, a great arithmetician that never set a squadron in the field. Mere prattle without practice is all his soldiership. This one who computes with tokens must his lieutenant be, and I, his Moorship’s ancient.
  • RODERIGO
  • By heaven, I rather would have been his hangman.
  • IAGO
  • Why, there’s no remedy. ‘Tis the curse of service. Preferment goes by letter and affection. Now, sir, be judge yourself whether I in any just term am obligated to love the Moor.
  • RODERIGO
  • I would not follow him, then.
  •  
  •  
  • Iago to Roderigo
  •  
  • O, sir, be content. We cannot all be
  • Masters, nor all masters cannot truly
  • Be followed. I with care follow the Moor
  • To serve my own interests. You shall note there’s
  • Many a knave when he’s grown too old, sure
  • As the donkey, serving for food, that wears
  • Out his time, is cashiered. As God rules me,
  • I follow but myself, not for duty,
  • But seeming so for my peculiar end.
  • Others keep their hearts to themselves, throwing
  • But shows of service on their lords. I’ll send,
  • When my outward action shows, exposing
  • To all, the true figure my heart doth weave.
  • Soon then I’ll wear my heart upon my sleeve.
  • IAGO
  • I am not what I seem to be. Call up her father. Rouse him. Go after Othello, proclaim him in the streets, incense her kinsmen, and plague him with flies.
  • RODERIGO
  • Here is her father’s house. I’ll call aloud. What ho, Brabantio!
  • IAGO
  • Awake! What ho, Brabantio! Thieves, thieves! Look to your house, your daughter, and your money bags.
  • Brabantio enters, above.
  • BRABANTIO
  • What is the matter there?
  • IAGO
  • Are your doors locked?
  • BRABANTIO
  • Why, wherefore ask you this? What, have you lost your wits? What are you?
  • RODERIGO
  • My name is Roderigo.
  • BRABANTIO
  • What tell’st thou me of robbing? I know thee, Roderigo.
  • RODERIGO
  • But I beseech you, your fair daughter, is transported with a gondolier, to the gross clasps of a lascivious Moor. If you know not this, my manners tell me we have your wrong rebuke. If she be in her chamber or your house, let loose on me the justice of the state for thus deluding you.
  • BRABANTIO
  • Light, I say, light!
  • He exits.
  • IAGO TO RODERIGO
  • Farewell, for I must leave you. I do know he’s embarked with such loud reason to the Cyprus wars. Lead to the Sagittary Inn, and there will I be with him.
  • He exits. Brabantio enters with servants.
  • BRABANTIO
  • It is too true an evil. Gone she is. Now, Roderigo, where didst thou see her? With the Moor, sayst thou? Are they married, think you?
  • RODERIGO
  • Truly, I think they are.
  • BRABANTIO
  • Do you know where we may apprehend her and the Moor?
  • RODERIGO
  • I think I can discover him, if you please to get good guard and go along with me.
  • BRABANTIO
  • Pray you lead on. On, good Roderigo. I will deserve your pains.
  • They exit.
  • Act 1, Scene 2
  • Othello, Iago and others are on stage.
  • IAGO
  • But I pray you, sir, are you fast married?
  • OTHELLO
  • Know, Iago, but that I love the gentle Desdemona. But look, what lights come yond?
  • IAGO
  • Thos are the raised father and his friends. You were best go in.
  • OTHELLO
  • Not I. I must be found. Is it they?
  • IAGO
  • I think so.
  • Cassio, with officers, enters.
  • OTHELLO
  • The servants of the Duke and my lieutenant! What is the news?
  • CASSIO
  • The Duke requires your haste-post-haste appearance, even on the instant.
  • OTHELLO
  • What is the matter, think you?
  • CASSIO
  • Something from Cyprus, as I may divine. It is a business of some heat.
  • OTHELLO
  • I will but spend a word here in the house and go with you.
  • He exits.
  • CASSIO
  • Ancient, what makes he here?
  • IAGO
  • He’s married.
  • CASSIO
  • To whom?
  • Othello reenters.
  • CASSIO
  • Here comes another troop to seek for you.
  • Brabantio, Roderigo and officers enter.
  • IAGO
  • It is Brabantio. General, be advised, he comes to bad intent.
  • BRABANTIO
  • Down with him, thief!
  • Brabantio and Othello draw swords.
  • BRABANTIO
  • O, thou foul thief, where hast thou stowed my daughter? Damned as thou art, thou hast enchanted her! Lay hold upon him. If he do resist subdue him at his peril.
  • OTHELLO
  • Hold your hands. Whither will you that I go to answer this your charge?
  • BRABANTIO
  • To prison.
  • OTHELLO
  • What if I do obey? How may the Duke be therewith satisfied, whose messengers are here to bring me to him?
  • OFFICER
  • ‘Tis true, most worthy signior. The Duke’s in council, and your noble self I am sure is sent for.
  • BRABANTIO
  • How? The Duke in council? Bring him away; mine’s not an idle cause. The Duke himself, or any of my brothers of the state, cannot but feel this wrong as ‘twere their own.
  • They exit.
  • Act 1, Scene 3
  • The Duke of Venice and Senators are on stage. A Senator is reading the paper.
  • FIRST SENATOR
  • My letters say a hundred and seven galleys.
  • SECOND SENATOR
  • They do confirm a Turkish fleet, and bearing up to Cyprus.
  • A Sailor enters.
  • SAILOR
  • The Turkish preparation makes for Rhodes.
  • FIRST SENATOR
  • ‘Tis a pageant to keep us in false gaze.
  • A Messenger enters.
  • MESSENGER
  • The Ottomites have joined them with a second fleet.
  • FIRST SENATOR
  • How many, as you guess?
  • MESSENGER
  • Of thirty sail; bearing with frank appearance their purposes toward Cyprus.
  • DUKE
  • ‘Tis certain, then, for Cyprus.
  • Brabantio, Othello, Cassio, Iago and Roderigo enter.
  • DUKE
  • Valiant Othello, we must straight employ you against the general enemy Ottoman.
  • DUKE TO BRABANTIO
  • I did not see you. Welcome, gentle signior. We lacked your counsel and your help tonight.
  • BRABANTIO
  • Good your Grace, pardon me. My particular grief is of so floodgate and o’erbearing nature that it swallows other sorrows.
  • DUKE
  • Why, what’s the matter?
  • BRABANTIO
  • My daughter!
  • FIRST SENATOR
  • Dead?
  • BRABANTIO
  • Ay, to me. She is stol’n from me by spells and medicines bought of wandering quacks. Here is the man --- the Moor.
  • DUKE TO OTHELLO
  • What, in your own part, can you say to this?
  • OTHELLO
  • Most potent, grave, and reverend signiors, my very noble and approved good masters: it is most true, true I have married her. Yet, by your gracious patience, I will a round unvarnished tale deliver of my whole course of love --- what drugs, what charms, I won his daughter.
  • BRABANTIO
  • I vouch again that with some mixtures powerful o’er the blood, he wrought upon her.
  • FIRST SENATOR
  • But, Othello, speak: did you by indirect and forced courses subdue and poison this young maid’s affections?
  • OTHELLO
  • I do beseech you, send for the lady to the Sagittary and let her speak of me before her father.
  • DUKE
  • Fetch Desdemona hither.
  • OTHELLO
  • Ancient, conduct them. You best know the place.
  • Iago and attendants exit.
  • OTHELLO
  • Her father loved me, oft invited me, still questioned me the story of my life from year to year --- the battles, sieges, that I have passed. I spoke of disastrous chances; of being taken by the insolent foe and sold to slavery, of my redemption thence, and conduct during my traveler’s history. These things to hear would Desdemona seriously incline. I did often beguile her of her tears when I did speak of some distressful stroke that my youth suffered. My story being done, she gave me for my pains a world of sighs. She swore, in faith, ‘twas strange, ‘twas passing strange, ‘twas pitiful, ‘twas wondrous pitiful. She wished she had not heard it, yet she wished that heaven had made her such a man. She loved me for the dangers I had passed and I loved her that she did pity them. This only is the witchcraft I have used. Here comes the lady.
  • Desdemona, Iago and attendants enter.
  • DUKE
  • I think this tale would win my daughter, too.
  • BRABANTIO
  • I pray you hear her speak. If she confess that she was half the wooer, destruction on my head if my bad blame light on the man.
  •  
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  • Desdemona to Brabantio
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  • My noble father, I am bound to you
  • For life and education, and they do
  • Teach me how to respect you. But I here
  • Perceive a divided duty. I’m your
  • Daughter, but here’s my husband. Without fear,
  • My mother showed you so much duty, bore
  • Me for you, preferring you before her
  • Father. So I profess, dear father, sir,
  • The love due the Moor, my lord. Father, I
  • My soul and fortunes dedicate themselves
  • To his honor and valiant being. Why
  • Must I idle and he to war, ourselves
  • Alone, I deprived of him, growing dim
  • By his dear absence? Let me go with him.
  • BRABANTIO
  • God be with you! I have done. Come hither, Moor. I here give thee that with all my heart I would keep from thee. I have done, my lord.
  • DUKE
  • Let me speak like yourself and lay a sentence, into your favor. When remedies are past, the griefs are ended by seeing the worst, which late on hopes depended. To mourn a misfortune that is past and gone is the quickest way to draw new misfortune on. What cannot be preserved when fortune takes, patience makes a mockery of fortune’s damage. The robbed that smiles steals something from the thief; he robs himself that spends a useless grief.
  • BRABANTIO
  • So let the Turk of Cyprus us beguile, we lose it not so long as we can smile. I humbly beseech you, proceed to th’ affairs of state.
  • DUKE
  • The Turk with a most mighty preparation makes for Cyprus. Othello, the fortitude of the place is best known to you. You must therefore be content to sully the gloss of your new fortunes with this more stubborn and boist’rous expedition.
  • OTHELLO
  • I do undertake this present war against the Ottomites. Most humbly, bending to your state, I crave fit disposition for my wife with such accommodation and suitable company as levels with her breeding.
  • DUKE
  • Why, at her father’s.
  • BRABANTIO
  • I will not have it so.
  • OTHELLO
  • Nor I.
  • DESDEMONA
  • Nor would I there reside to put my father in impatient thoughts by being in his eye.
  • DUKE
  • What would you, Desdemona?
  • DESDEMONA
  • My heart’s subdued even to that which makes him what he is. To his honors did I my soul and fortunes dedicate. So that, dear lords, if I be left behind, a moth of peace, the rites for why I love him are bereft me. Let me go with him.
  • OTHELLO
  • Let her have your voice. Vouch with me, heaven, I therefore beg it to be free and bounteous to her mind.
  • DUKE
  • Be it as you shall privately determine, either for her stay of going. Th’ affair cries haste.
  • FIRST SENATOR
  • You must away tonight.
  • OTHELLO
  • With all my heart.
  • DUKE
  • At nine i’ th’ morning here we’ll meet again. Othello, leave some officer behind and he shall bring to you, with such things of a kind to be of concern to you.
  • OTHELLO
  • So please your Grace, my ancient, a man he is of honesty and trust, to his conveyance I assign my wife.
  • DUKE
  • Let it be so.
  • BRABANTIO
  • Look to her, Moor, if thou hast eyes to see. She has deceived her father, and may thee.
  • He exits, along with the Senators, Cassio and officers.
  • OTHELLO
  • Honest Iago, my Desdemona must I leave to thee. I prithee let thy wife attend on her. Come, Desdemona, I have but an hour to spend with thee.
  • Othello and Desdemona exit.
  • RODERIGO
  • Iago --- I will immediately drown myself.
  • IAGO
  • Why, thou silly gentleman!
  • RODERIGO
  • It is silliness to live, when to live is torment, and then have we a prescription to die when death is our physician.
  • IAGO
  • O, villainous! I have looked upon the world for four times seven years, and I have 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.
  • RODERIGO
  • I confess it is my shame to be so fond, but it is not in my virtue to amend it.
  • IAGO
  • Virtue? A fig? ‘Tis in ourselves that we are thus and thus. Our bodies are our gardens, to which our wills are gardeners. Come, be a man! Drown thyself? I say, put money in thy purse. It cannot be that Desdemona should long continue her love to the Moor. These Moors are changeable in their wills. Fill thy purse with money. I have told thee often, and I retell thee again and again, I hate the Moor. Let us unite in our revenge against him. We will have more of this tomorrow. Adieu.
  • RODERIGO
  • Where shall we meet i’ th’ morning?
  • IAGO
  • At my lodging. No more of drowning, do you hear?
  • RODERIGO
  • I am changed.
  • IAGO
  • Go, farewell. Put money enough in your purse.
  • RODERIGO
  • I’ll sell all my land.
  • He exits.
  •  
  •  
  • Iago to himself, No. 1
  •  
  • For I should misuse my own gained knowledge
  • If I were to spend time along this edge
  • For such a man but for sport and profit.
  • Since ‘tis thought abroad that the Moor has wronged
  • Me, my suspicion of it doth just it.
  • Better the Moor holds me well, having longed
  • To work my purpose on him. Cassio’s
  • A proper man. I’ll abuse Othello’s
  • Ear that Cassio is too familiar
  • With his wife, since smooth-tongued Cassio at
  • Once can make women false with a manner
  • Pleasing them. The Moor thinks men honest that
  • But seem to be, and will as tenderly
  • Be led by th’ nose as can asses be.
  • He exits.
  • Act 2, Scene 1
  • Montano and two gentlemen are on stage. Montano is an official in Cyprus.
  • MONTANO
  • What from the cape can you discern at sea?
  • FIRST GENTLEMAN
  • Nothing at all. It is a high-wrought flood.
  • MONTANO
  • Methinks the wind hath spoke aloud at land. What shall we hear of this?
  • SECOND GENTLEMAN
  • A breaking up of the Turkish fleet.
  • MONTANO
  • If that the Turkish fleet be not ensheltered, they are drowned. It is impossible to bear it out.
  • A third Gentleman enters.
  • THIRD GENTLEMAN
  • News, lads! Our wars are done. The desperate tempest hath so banged the Turks that their plan is crippled. A noble ship of Venice is here put in. A Veronesa, Michael Cassio, lieutenant to the warlike Moor Othello, is come on shore; the Moor himself at sea.
  • Cassio enters.
  • CASSIO
  • Thanks, you the valiant of this warlike isle, that so approve the Moor! O, let the heavens give him defense against the elements, for I have lost him on a dangerous sea.
  • Voices cry within, “A sail, a sail!”
  • CASSIO
  • I pray you, sir, go forth, and give us truth who ‘tis that is arrived.
  • Second Gentleman exits.
  • MONTANO
  • But, good lieutenant, is your general wived?
  • CASSIO
  • Most fortunately. He hath achieved a maid that excels the quirks of blazoning pens.
  • Second gentleman enters.
  • SECOND GENTLEMAN
  • ‘Tis one Iago, ancient to the General.
  • CASSIO
  • Tempests themselves do omit their mortal natures, letting go safely by the divine Desdemona.
  • MONTANO
  • What is she?
  • CASSIO
  • She that I spake of, our great captain’s captain, left in the conduct of the bold Iago.
  • Desdemona, Iago, Roderigo, and Emilia enter.
  • CASSIO
  • O, behold, you men of Cyprus, let her have your knees.
  • DESDEMONA
  • I thank you, valiant Cassio. What tidings can you tell of my lord?
  • CASSIO
  • He is not yet arrived. The great contention of sea and skies parted our fellowship. But hark, a sail! See for the news.
  • Second Gentleman exits.
  • CASSIO
  • Good ancient, you are welcome. Welcome, mistress.
  • He kisses Emilia.
  • CASSIO
  • Let it not gall your patience, good Iago, that I extend my manners. ‘Tis my breeding that gives me this bold show of courtesy.
  • Cassio takes Desdemona’s hand.
  • IAGO ASIDE
  • He takes her by the palm. Ay, well said, whisper. With as little a web as this will I ensnare as great a fly as Cassio.
  • Trumpets within.
  • IAGO
  • The Moor. I know his trumpet.
  • Othello and attendants enter.
  • OTHELLO
  • Come, let us to the castle. New, friends! Our wars are done. The Turks are drowned. Come, Desdemona.
  • All but Iago and Roderigo exit.
  • IAGO TO RODERIGO
  • The Lieutenant tonight stand watch at the guardhouse. First, I must tell thee this: Desdemona is directly in love with him.
  • RODGERIO
  • With him? Why, ‘tis not possible.
  • IAGO
  • Lay thy finger thus, and let thy soul be instructed. Her eye must be fed. And what delight shall she have to look on the devil? There should be loveliness in favor, sympathy in years, manners, and beauties, all which the Moor is defective in. Very nature will instruct her and compel her to some second choice. Now, sir, this granted, who stands so 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 an humane seeming for the attaining of his most hidden loose affection. A pestilent complete knave, and the woman hath found him already.
  • RODERIGO
  • I cannot believe that in her. She’s full of most blessed condition.
  • IAGO
  • Blessed fig’s end! The wine she drinks is made of grapes. If she had been blessed, she would never have loved the Moor. Blessed pudding! Watch you tonight. Your orders are to stand watch. I’ll lay ‘t upon you. Cassio knows you not. I’ll not be far from you. Do find some occasion to anger Cassio.
  • RODERIGO
  • Well.
  • IAGO
  • Sir, he’s rash and very sudden in anger, and perhaps may strike at you. Provoke him that he may, for even out of that will I cause these of Cyprus to riot, who will not be appeased but by the displacement of Cassio. You shall have a shorter journey to your desires by profitably removing the impediment, without the which there were no expectation of our prosperity.
  • RODERIGO
  • I will do this, if you can bring it to any opportunity.
  • IAGO
  • I warrant thee. Meet me by and by at the citadel.
  • Roderigo exits.
  •  
  •  
  • Iago to himself, No. 2
  •  
  • Even though he’s a man I can’t endure,
  • A loving, noble nature hath the Moor,
  • And I think for Desdemona he’s meant
  • To prove a most dear husband. But partly
  • Fed by my revenge, nothing shall content
  • My soul ‘til I put him to jealousy
  • So strong that judgment cannot cure. I will
  • Slander Cassio. By using my skill
  • I’ll make Cassio look lecherous and
  • Use language that makes him look course, making
  • The Moor appreciate me, love me, hand
  • Me rewards, and during, I’ll be breaking
  • His peace and quiet, e’en as he doth bless
  • Me, even as I lead him to madness.
  • He exits.
  • Act 2, Scene 2
  • A Herald proclaims that there is to be a party.
  • HERALD
  • It is Othello’s pleasure that upon certain tidings now arrived, every man put himself into triumph: some to dance, some to make bonfires, each man to what sport and revels his rank leads him. In addition it is the celebration of his nuptial. All offices are open, and there is full liberty of feasting from this present hour of five till the bell have told eleven.
  • He exits.
  • Act 2, Scene 3
  • Othello, Desdemona, Cassio and others are on stage.
  • OTHELLO
  • Good Michael, let’s teach ourselves not to celebrate past the point of discretion.
  • CASSIO
  • Iago hath direction what to do, but notwithstanding, with my personal eye will I look to ‘t.
  • OTHELLO
  • Iago is most honest. Michael, goodnight. Tomorrow with your earliest let me have speech with you.
  • Othello and Desdemona exit. Iago enters.
  • CASSIO
  • Welcome, Iago. We must stand watch.
  • IAGO
  • Not his hour, lieutenant. ‘Tis not yet ten o’ th’ clock. Our general cast us thus early for the love of his Desdemona.
  • CASSIO
  • She’s a most exquisite lady, a most fresh and delicate creature. She is indeed perfection.
  • IAGO
  • Come, lieutenant, I have a stoup of wine.
  • CASSIO
  • Not tonight, good Iago. I have very poor and unhappy brains for drinking.
  • IAGO
  • But one cup!
  • CASSIO
  • I have drunk but one cup tonight. I am unfortunate in the infirmity and dare not task my weakness with any more.
  • IAGO
  • What, man! ‘Tis a night of revels. The gallants desire it. I pray you.
  • CASSIO
  • I’ll do ‘t, but it dislikes me.
  • He exits.
  • IAGO
  • If I can fasten but one cup upon him with that which he hath drunk tonight already, he’ll be as full of quarrel and offense as my young mistress’ dog. Now my sick fool Roderigo hath drunk up whole buckets of drink, and he’s to watch. Three else of Cyprus have I tonight flustered with flowing cups, and they watch too. Now, ‘mongst this flock of drunkards am I to put our Cassio in some action that may offend the isle.
  • Cassio, Montano and Gentlemen enter, followed by servants with wine.
  • CASSIO
  • Before God, they have given me a deep drink already.
  • IAGO
  • Some wine, boys!
  • CASSIO
  • To the health of our general!
  • IAGO
  • Some wine, ho!
  • CASSIO
  • Do not think, gentlemen, I am drunk. I can stand well enough, and I speak well enough.
  • GENTLEMEN
  • Excellent well.
  • CASSIO
  • You must not think then that I am drunk.
  • He exits.
  • MONTANO
  • To th’ platform, masters. Come, let’s set the watch.
  • Gentlemen exit.
  • IAGO TO MONTANO
  • You see this fellow that that is gone before? He’s a soldier fit to stand by Caesar and give direction; and do but see his vice. ‘Tis pity of him. I fear the trust Othello puts him in, on some odd time of his infirmity, will shake this island.
  • MONTANO
  • But is he often thus?
  • IAGO
  • ‘Tis evermore the prologue to his sleep. He’ll watch the hourglass if drink rock not his cradle.
  • MONTANO
  • It were well the General were put in mind of it.
  • Roderigo enters.
  • IAGO ASIDE TO RODERIGO
  • Roderigo? I pray you, after the Lieutenant, go.
  • Roderigo exits.
  • MONTANO
  • And ‘tis great pity that the noble Moor should hazard such a place as his own second with one of an engrafted infirmity. It were an honest action to say so to the Moor.
  • IAGO
  • Not I. I do love Cassio well and would do much to cure him of this evil.
  • Cassio enters yelling, pursuing Roderigo.
  • MONTANO
  • What’s the matter, lieutenant?
  • CASSIO
  • I’ll bet the knave into a twiggen bottle.
  • RODERIGO
  • Beat me?
  • Cassio hits Roderigo.
  • MONTANO
  • Nay, good lieutenant. I pray you, sir, hold your hand.
  • CASSIO
  • Let me go, sir, or I’ll knock you o’er the head.
  • MONTANO
  • Come, come, you’re drunk.
  • CASSIO
  • Drunk?
  • Montano and Cassio fight.
  • IAGO ASIDE TO RODERIGO
  • Go out a cry a mutiny.
  • Roderigo exits.
  • IAGO
  • Nay, good lieutenant. Montano, sir. Help masters!
  • A bell is rung.
  • IAGO
  • Who’s that which rings the bell?
  • Othello with attendants enter.
  • OTHELLO
  • What is the matter here?
  • MONTANO
  • I bleed still. I am hurt to th’ death.
  • Montano attacks Cassio.
  • OTHELLO
  • Hold, for your lives!
  • IAGO
  • Hold, ho! Lieutenant --- sir --- Montano --- gentlemen --- have you forgot all sense of place and duty?
  • OTHELLO
  • From whence ariseth this? He that stirs next to carve for his own rage holds his soul light; he dies upon his motion. Who began this?
  • IAGO
  • I do not know.
  • OTHELLO
  • How comes it, Michael, you are thus forgot?
  • CASSIO
  • I pray you pardon me; I cannot speak.
  • OTHELLO
  • Worthy Montano, you were wont be civil. Your name is great in mouths of wisest censure. What’s the matter that you unlace your reputation thus. Give me answer to it.
  • MONTANO
  • Worthy Othello, I am hurt to danger. Your officer Iago can inform you while I spare speech, which something now offends me, of all that I do know, unless self-charity be sometimes a vice, and to defend ourselves it be a sin when violence assails us.
  • OTHELLO
  • If I stir, or do but lift this arm, the best of you shall sink in my rebuke. Give me to know how this foul rout began. ‘Tis monstrous. Iago, who began ‘t?
  • MONTANO
  • If thou dost deliver more or less than truth, thou art no soldier.
  • IAGO
  • There is no need to refer to my soldiership.
  •  
  •  
  • Iago to Othello, No. 1
  •  
  • I’d rather words from my mouth would ne’er flow
  • Than have them do offense to Cassio.
  • Yet I persuade myself that by speaking
  • The truth nothing shall wrong him. We were here
  • Talking, when chasing a scared man, waving
  • His sword, comes Cassio, the man in fear
  • Of his life. Montano asks Cassio
  • To pause while I pursued the poor fellow,
  • Who outran my purpose. When I came back
  • You had arrived to part them. I did fret
  • For him, seeing his untimely attack.
  • But men are men; the best sometimes forget.
  • Though Cassio did some little wrong to
  • Him, rage can o‘ercome some men who serve you.
  • OTHELLO
  • I know, Iago, thy honesty and love doth make light of this matter. Cassio, I love thee, but nevermore be officer of mine.
  • Desdemona enters, attended.
  • DESDEMONA
  • What is the matter, dear?
  • OTHELLO
  • All’s well now, sweeting.
  • OTHELLO TO MONTANO
  • Sir, for your hurts, myself will be your surgeon.
  • Montano is led off. All but Iago and Cassio exit.
  • IAGO
  • What, are you hurt, lieutenant?
  • CASSIO
  • O, I have lost my reputation! I have lost the immortal part of myself, and what remains is bestial. My reputation, Iago, my reputation!
  • IAGO
  • As I am an honest man, I thought you had received some bodily wound. Reputation is an idle and most false imposition, oft got without merit and lost without deserving. What, man, there are ways to recover the General again!
  • CASSIO
  • O thou invisible spirit of wine, if thou hast no name to be known by, let us call thee devil!
  • IAGO
  • What was he that you followed with your sword? What had he done to you?
  • CASSIO
  • I remember nothing distinctly; a quarrel, but nothing wherefore. That we should with joy, pleasance, revel, and applause transform ourselves into beasts!
  • IAGO
  • Come, you are too severe a moraler. I could heartily wish this had not so befallen. But since it is as it is, mend it for your own good.
  • CASSIO
  • I will ask him for my place again; he shall tell me I am a drunkard!
  • IAGO
  • Come, come good wine is a good familiar creature, if it be well used. Exclaim no more against it. I’ll tell you what you shall do. Our general’s wife is now the general. 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.
  • CASSIO
  • You advise me well. In the morning I will beseech the virtuous Desdemona to undertake for me.
  • IAGO
  • You are in the right. Good night, lieutenant.
  • CASSIO
  • Good night, honest Iago.
  • Cassio exits.
  •  
  •  
  • Iago to himself, No. 3
  •  
  • What’s he, then, that says I play the villain,
  • When this advice is free and honest, an
  • Offer to win the Moor again. The Moor’s
  • Soul is so attached to her love that she
  • May make, unmake, as she likes, as she lures
  • Him guilelessly to a weakened state, he
  • Is so attached to her. My counsel lies
  • For Cassio’s good. Whiles this true fool plies
  • Desdemona to repair his fortune,
  • And she pleads his cause to the Moor, I’ll pour
  • Rumors in the Moor’s ear what’s being done;
  • She shall undo her credit with the Moor.
  • Thereby, out of her own goodness will fall
  • In time the net that shall enmesh them all.
  • Roderigo enters.
  • RODERIGO
  • My money is almost spent. So I, with no money at all and a little more wit, return again to Venice.
  • IAGO
  • How poor are they that have not patience! What wound did ever heal but by degrees? Thou know’st we work by wit and not witchcraft, and wit depends on dilatory time. Things grow fair against the sun. Content thyself awhile. Retire thee; go where thou art billeted. Thou shalt know more hereafter.
  • Roderigo exits.
  • IAGO
  • Two things are to be done. My wife must intercede with Desdemona on Cassio’s behalf. Myself the while to draw the Moor apart at the time when he may Cassio find soliciting his wife. Ay, that’s the way.
  • He exits.
  • Act 3, Scene 1
  • Michael Cassio is on stage. Iago enters.
  • CASSIO
  • My suit to your wife is that she will to virtuous Desdemona procure me some access.
  • IAGO
  • I’ll send her to you presently, and I’ll devise some means to draw the Moor out of the way, that your converse and business may be more free.
  • CASSIO
  • I humbly thank you for it.
  • Iago exits.
  • CASSIO
  • I never knew a Florentine more kind and honest.
  • Emilia enters.
  • EMILIA
  • 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.
  • CASSIO
  • Yet I beseech you, if you think fit, give me advantage of some brief discourse with Desdemon alone.
  • EMELIA
  • Pray you come in.
  • They exit.
  • Act 3, Scene 2
  • Othello, Iago and Gentlemen are on stage.
  • OTHELLO
  • These letters give, Iago, to the pilot of the ship that bore me to Cyprus, and by him do my duties to the Senate.
  • He gives Iago some papers.
  • OTHELLO
  • That done, return to me at the fortification.
  • IAGO
  • Well, my good lord, I’ll do ‘t.
  • They exit.
  • Act 3, Scene 3
  • Desdemona, Cassio and Emilia are on stage.
  • DESDEMONA
  • Be thou assured, good Cassio, I will do all my abilities in thy behalf. Do not doubt, Cassio, but I will have my lord and you again as friendly as you were.
  • CASSIO
  • Madam, whatever shall become of Michael Cassio, he’s never anything but your true servant.
  • DESDEMONA
  • I’ll intermingle everything he does with Cassio’s suit. Therefore be merry, Cassio.
  • Othello and Iago enter.
  • CASSIO
  • Madam, I’ll take my leave.
  • DESDEMONA
  • Why, stay, and hear me speak.
  • CASSIO
  • I am very ill at ease.
  • DESDEMONA
  • Well, do your discretion.
  • Cassio exits.
  • OTHELLO
  • Was not that Cassio parted from my wife?
  • IAGO
  • Cassio, my lord? No, sure, I cannot think it that he would steal away so guilty-like, seeing you coming.
  • OTHELLO
  • I do believe ‘twas he.
  • DESDEMONA
  • I have been talking with a suitor here, a man that languishes in your displeasure.
  • OTHELLO
  • Who is ‘t you mean?
  • DESDEMONA
  • Why, your lieutenant, Cassio.
  • OTHELLO
  • Went he hence now?
  • DESDEMONA
  • Yes, faith, he hath left part of his grief with me to suffer with him. Good love, call him back.
  • OTHELLO
  • Not now, sweet Desdemon.
  • DESDEMONA
  • I prithee name the time, but let it not exceed three days.
  • OTHELLO
  • Prithee, no more. Let him come when he will.
  • DESDEMONA
  • Why, this is not a favor!
  • OTHELLO
  • I will deny thee nothing. I do beseech thee, grant me this, to leave me but a little to myself.
  • DESDEMONA
  • Shall I deny you? No. Farewell my lord.
  • OTHELLO
  • Farewell, my Desdemona. I’ll come to thee straight.
  • Desdemona and Emilia exit.
  • IAGO
  • My noble lord. Did Michael Cassio know of your love?
  • OTHELLO
  • He did, from first to last. Why dost thou ask?
  • IAGO
  • I did not think he had been acquainted with her.
  • OTHELLO
  • O yes.
  • IAGO
  • Indeed?
  • OTHELLO
  • Indeed? Discern’st thou aught in that? Is he not honest?
  • IAGO
  • Honest, my lord?
  • OTHELLO
  • Honest --- ay, honest.
  • IAGO
  • My lord, for aught I know.
  • OTHELLO
  • What dost thou think?
  • IAGO
  • Think, my lord?
  • OTHELLO
  • “Think, my lord?” By heaven, thou echo’st me as if there were some monster in thy thought too hideous to be shown. Thou dost mean something.
  • IAGO
  • For Michael Cassio, I dare be sworn I think that he is honest.
  • OTHELLO
  • I think so too.
  • IAGO
  • Men should be what they seem.
  • OTHELLO
  • I prithee speak to me as to thy thinkings, as thou dost ruminate, and give thy worst of thoughts the worst of words.
  •  
  •  
  • Iago to Othello, No. 2
  •  
  • Perchance I am mistaken in my guess,
  • As it is my nature’s plague, I confess,
  • To let my jealousy shape faults that shame
  • Me, so your quiet could be disturbed but
  • To know my thoughts. Dear my lord, the good name
  • In our fair lives is the immediate
  • Jewel of our souls. He that steals my purse takes
  • Trash, but he that filches my good name makes
  • Me poor. Jealousy’s the green-eyed monster
  • Which doth mock its victim. The wife whose sin
  • Is not hidden, whose husband distrusts her,
  • Knows he’s been wronged, and loves her not, lives in
  • Bliss. But he who loves and has not found out,
  • But suspects, doth live a pained life in doubt.
  • OTHELLO
  • O misery!
  • IAGO
  • Good God, the souls of all my tribe defend from jealousy!
  • OTHELLO
  • Why, why is this? 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.
  • IAGO
  • I am glad of this. I speak not yet of proof. Look to your wife; observe her well with Cassio; wear your eyes thus, not jealous nor secure. In Venice they do let God see the pranks they dare not show their husbands. Their best conscience is not to leave ‘t undone, but keep ‘t unknown.
  • OTHELLO
  • Dost thou say so?
  • IAGO
  • She did deceive her father, marrying you.
  • OTHELLO
  • And so she did.
  • IAGO
  • He thought ‘twas witchcraft! But I am much to blame.
  • OTHELLO
  • I am bound to thee forever.
  • IAGO
  • I see this hath a little dashed your spirits. Cassio’s my worthy friend.
  • OTHELLO
  • Not a jot, not a jot. I do not think but Desdemona’s honest.
  • IAGO
  • Long live she so! And long live you to think so!
  • OTHELLO
  • And yet, how nature wandering from itself ----
  • IAGO
  • Ay, there’s the point.
  • OTHELLO
  • Farewell! If more thou dost perceive, let me know more. Set on thy wife to observe. Leave me, Iago
  • Iago starts to leave.
  • OTHELLO
  • Why did I marry? This honest creature doubtless sees and knows more, much more, than he unfolds.
  • Iago returns.
  • IAGO
  • My lord, I would I might entreat your Honor to scan this thing no farther. Leave it to time. If you please to hold him off awhile, you shall by that perceive him and his means. I once more take my leave.
  • He exits.
  • OTHELLO
  • This fellow’s of exceeding honesty, and knows all qualities with a learned spirit of human dealings. O curse of marriage, that we can call these delicate creatures ours and not their appetites! Look where she comes.
  • Desdemona and Emilia enter.
  • OTHELLO
  • If she be false, heaven mocks itself! I’ll not believe ‘t.
  • DESDEMONA
  • My dear Othello? Your dinner, and the generous islanders by you invited, do attend your presence.
  • OTHELLO
  • I am to blame.
  • DESDEMONA
  • Why do you speak so faintly?
  • OTHELLO
  • I have a pain upon my forehead, here.
  • DESDEMONA
  • Let me but bind it hard.
  • OTHELLO
  • Your napkin is too little.
  • The handkerchief falls, unnoticed.
  • OTHELLO
  • Come, I’ll go in with you.
  • Othello and Desdemona exit. Emilia picks up the handkerchief.
  • EMILIA
  • I am glad I have found this napkin. This was her first remembrance from the Moor. My wayward husband hath a hundred times wooed me to steal it. But she so loves the token that she reserves it evermore about her to kiss and talk to. I’ll have the work ta’en out and give ‘t Iago.
  • Iago enters.
  • EMILIA
  • I have a thing for you.
  • IAGO
  • You have a thing for me?
  • EMILIA
  • What will you give me now for that same handkerchief?
  • IAGO
  • What handkerchief?
  • EMILIA
  • Why, that the Moor first gave to Desdemona. She let it drop by negligence. I, being here, took ‘t up. What will you do with it?
  • Iago snatches it.
  • IAGO
  • Why, what is that to you?
  • EMILIA
  • Give ‘t me again. Poor lady, she’ll run mad when she shall lack it.
  • IAGO
  • Do not admit to knowing about it. I have use for it. Go, leave me.
  • Emilia exits.
  • IAGO
  • I will in Cassio’s lodging lose this napkin and let him find it. Trifles light as air are to the jealous confirmations strong as proofs of holy writ.
  • Othello enters.
  • OTHELLO
  • Ha, ha, false to me?
  • IAGO
  • Why, how now, general? No more of that!
  • OTHELLO
  • Be gone!
  •  
  •  
  • Othello to Iago
  •  
  • Thou hast set me on the rack, Iago.
  • ‘Tis better to be much scorned than to know
  • A little. If he be robbed, not wanting
  • What is stolen, knows it not, then he’s not
  • Robbed at all. I’ve had this happy feeling,
  • But now farewell my tranquil mind. You’ve sought
  • To discontent me. Give me ocular
  • Proof, or, I swear, thou hadst been better
  • Hath thou been born a dog than face my waked
  • Wrath. Make me see ‘t, or prove there’s no hinge
  • Of doubt, for these horrors accumulate
  • Horror. Be sure of it, or you may cringe
  • Frightfully, for death’s the best that will be
  • If thou hast slandered her and tortured me.
  • IAGO
  • Is ‘t possible, my lord? Is ‘t come to this? O grace! O heaven forgive me! Are you a man? Have you a soul or sense? O wretched fool. O monstrous world! To be direct and honest is not safe. I thank you for this profit, and from hence I’ll love no friend, since love breeds such offense.
  • OTHELLO
  • Nay, stay. Thou shouldst be honest.
  • IAGO
  • I should be wise; for honesty’s a fool and loses that it works for.
  • OTHELLO
  • By the world, I think my wife be honest and think she is not. I think that thou art just and think thou art not. I’ll have some proof.
  • IAGO
  • I see you are eaten up with passion. I do repent me that I put it to you. You would be satisfied?
  • OTHELLO
  • Would? Nay, and I will. Give me a living reason she’s disloyal.
  •  
  •  
  • Iago to Othello, No. 3
  •  
  • If circumstances that lead directly
  • To the truth give you satisfaction, thee
  • Might have ‘t. Some men are so loose with their
  • Souls that affairs are muttered in their sleep.
  • I stayed recently with Cassio, where,
  • Troubled with a raging tooth that did keep
  • Me from sleep, I heard him say, “O my sweet
  • Desdemona, be wary, let us meet
  • Secretly and hide our loves.” “Sweet creature,”
  • He says. He even grabbed for me and cried,
  • “Cursed fate that gave thee to the Moor.” Sir,
  • Be patient. She may have nothing to hide.
  • This may not be what at first it doth seem,
  • For do note this was but Cassio’s dream.
  • OTHELLO
  • O monstrous! Monstrous!
  • IAGO
  • Nay, this was but his dream.
  • OTHELLO
  • But this denoted a foregone conclusion. I’ll tear her all to pieces.
  • IAGO
  • Nay, be wise. Tell me but this: have you not sometimes seen a handkerchief spotted with strawberries in your wife’s hand?
  • OTHELLO
  • I gave her such a one. ‘Twas my first gift.
  • IAGO
  • I know not that; but such a handkerchief did I today see Cassio wipe his beard with.
  • OTHELLO
  • If it be that ----
  • IAGO
  • If it be that, it speaks against her with the other proofs.
  • OTHELLO
  • Now do I see ‘tis true. Arise, black vengeance, yield up, O love, thy crown and hearted throne to tyrannous hate!
  • IAGO
  • Yet be content. Patience, I say. Your mind perhaps may change.
  • OTHELLO
  • Never.
  • Iago kneels.
  • IAGO
  • Witness that here Iago doth give up the execution of his wit, hands, heart to wronged Othello’s service!
  • He rises.
  • OTHELLO
  • I greet thy love not with vain thanks but with acceptance bounteous, and will upon the instant put thee to ‘t. Within these three days let me hear thee say that Cassio’s not alive.
  • IAGO
  • My friend is dead. ‘Tis done at your request. But let her live.
  • OTHELLO
  • 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.
  • IAGO
  • I am your own forever.
  • They exit.
  • Act 3, Scene 4
  • Desdemona and Emilia are on stage.
  • DESDEMONA
  • Where should I lose that handkerchief, Emilia?
  • EMILIA
  • I know not, madam.
  • DESDEMONA
  • Believe me, I had rather have lost my purse.
  • EMILIA
  • Is he not jealous?
  • DESDEMONA
  • Who, he? I think the sun where he was born drew all such humors from him.
  • Othello enters.
  • DESDEMONA
  • How is ‘t with you, my lord?
  • OTHELLO
  • Good, my good lady.
  • He takes her hand.
  • OTHELLO
  • This hand is moist, my lady.
  • DESDEMONA
  • It yet has felt no age nor known no sorrow.
  • OTHELLO
  • ‘Tis a good hand.
  • DESDEMONA
  • ‘Twas that hand that gave away my heart. I have sent to bid Cassio come speak with you.
  • OTHELLO
  • I have a bad cold that offends me. Lend me thy handkerchief.
  • DESDEMONA
  • Here, my lord.
  • OTHELLO
  • That which I gave you.
  • DESDEMONA
  • I have it not about me.
  • OTHELLO
  • Not? That handkerchief did an Egyptian to my mother give. She, dying, gave it me, and bid me, when my fate would have me wived, to give it her. To lose ‘t or give ‘t away were such perdition as nothing else could match.
  • DESDEMONA
  • Is ‘t possible?
  • OTHELLO
  • ‘Tis true. There’s magic in the web of it. Therefore, look to ‘t well.
  • DESDEMONA
  • Then would to God that I had never seen ‘t!
  • OTHELLO
  • Ha? Wherefore?
  • DESDEMONA
  • Why do you speak so startingly and rash?
  • OTHELLO
  • Is ‘t lost? Is ‘t gone?
  • DESDEMONA
  • Heaven bless us! It is not lost, but what an if it were?
  • OTHELLO
  • Fetch ‘t. Let me see ‘t!
  • DESDEMONA
  • Why, so I can. But I will not now. Pray you, let Cassio be received again.
  • OTHELLO
  • Fetch me the handkerchief!
  • DESDEMONA
  • I pray, talk me of Cassio
  • Othello exits.
  • EMILIA
  • Is not this man jealous?
  • DESDEMONA
  • I ne’er saw this before. Sure, there’s some wonder in this handkerchief! I am not unhappy in the loss of it.
  • Iago and Cassio enter.
  • IAGO TO CASSIO
  • There is no other way; ‘tis she must do ‘t. Go and importune her.
  • DESDEMONA
  • Good Cassio, what’s the news with you?
  • CASSIO
  • Madam, my former suit. I do beseech you that you your virtuous means I may again exit.
  • DESDEMONA
  • Alas, thrice-gentle Cassio, my advocacy is not now in tune.
  • IAGO
  • Is my lord angry?
  • EMILI
  • He went hence but now, and certainly in strange unquietness.
  • IAGO
  • Can he be angry? I will go meet him. There’s matter in ‘t indeed if he be angry.
  • DESDEMONA
  • I prithee do so.
  • He exits.
  •  
  •  
  • Desdemona to Emilia and Cassio
  •  
  • Something, sure, either from Venice or some
  • Earlier undisclosed matter, has come
  • To him in Cyprus and muddied his clear
  • Spirit. It is in such situation
  • That men’s natures let small things interfere
  • With their great concerns. For with them, if one
  • Finger aches, it often leads to a sense
  • Of pain in healthful body members. Whence
  • Do we think men gods? Curse me, Emelia,
  • For arraigning unkindness that he be
  • Falsely indicted. Heaven, let not the
  • Cause be a jealous whim concerning me.
  • Jealousy being a monster, let’s find
  • A way to keep it from Othello’s mind.
  • EMILIA
  • Lady, amen.
  • DESDEMONA
  • I will go seek him. Cassio, walk hereabout. If I do find him fit, I’ll move your suit and seek to effect it to my uttermost.
  • CASSIO
  • I humbly thank your Ladyship.
  • Desdemona and Emilia exit. Bianca enters.
  • CASSIO
  • My most fair Bianca? I was coming to your house.
  • BIANCA
  • And I was going to your lodging, Cassio. What, keep a week away?
  • CASSIO
  • Pardon me, Bianca. I have this while with leaden thoughts been pressed.
  • He hands Desdemona’s handkerchief to Bianca.
  • CASSIO
  • Take me this work out.
  • BIANCA
  • O, Cassio, whence came this? This is some token from a newer friend. To the felt absence now I feel a cause.
  • CASSIO
  • You are jealous now that this is from some mistress, some remembrance. No, Bianca.
  • BIANCA
  • Why, whose is it?
  • CASSIO
  • I know not neither. I found it in my chamber. I like the work well. Ere it be demanded, as like enough it will, I would have it copied. Take it, and do ‘t, and leave me for this time.
  • BIANCA
  • Leave you? Wherefore?
  • CASSIO
  • I do attend here on the General. I’ll see you soon.
  • BIANCA
  • ‘Tis very good.
  • They exit.
  • Act 4, Scene 1
  • Iago and Othello are on stage.
  • IAGO
  • If I give my wife a handkerchief.
  • OTHELLO
  • What then?
  • IAGO
  • Why then, ‘tis hers, my lord, and being hers, she may, I think, bestow ‘t on any man.
  • OTHELLO
  • She is protectress of her honor, too. May she give that?
  • IAGO
  • Her honor is an essence that’s not seen. But for the handkerchief-----
  • OTHELLO
  • By heaven, I would most gladly have forgot it.
  • IAGO
  • What if I had said I had seen him do you wrong?
  • OTHELLO
  • Hath he said anything?
  • IAGO
  • He hath, my lord, but be you well assured, no more than he’ll unswear.
  • OTHELLO
  • What hath he said?
  • IAGO
  • Faith, that he did --- I know not what he did.
  • OTHELLO
  • What? What?
  • IAGO
  • With her --- what you will.
  • OTHELLO
  • Zounds, nature would not invest herself in such shadowing passion without some instruction. It is not words that shakes me thus. Is ’t possible? Confess --- handkerchief --- O devil!
  • Othello falls in a trance.
  • IAGO
  • My medicine, work! Thus credulous fools are caught. And many worthy and chaste dames even thus, all guiltless, meet reproach.
  • Cassio enters.
  • IAGO
  • My lord is fall’n into an epilepsy.
  • CASSIO
  • Rub him about the temples.
  • IAGO
  • No, forbear. Look, he stirs. Do you withdraw yourself a little while. When he is gone, I would on great occasion speak with you.
  • Cassio exits.
  • IAGO
  • How is it, general? Have you not hurt your head?
  • OTHELLO
  • Dost thou mock me?
  • IAGO
  • I mock you not, by heaven! Would you bear your fortune like a man! Good sir, be a man! Your case is better. And to suppose her chaste! No, let me know, and knowing what I am, I know what she shall be.
  • OTHELLO
  • O, thou art wise, ‘tis certain.
  • IAGO
  • Stand you awhile apart. Confine yourself but in a patient list. Cassio came hither. I shifted him away and laid good ‘scuses upon your ecstasy, bade him soon return and here speak with me, the which he promised. Do but note the jibes and scorns that dwell in every region of his face. I say but mark his gesture.
  • OTHELLO
  • Iago, I will be found most cunning in my patience, but most bloody.
  • Othello withdraws and steps aside.
  • IAGO TO OTHELLO
  • Here he comes.
  • Cassio enters.
  • IAGO
  • How do you, lieutenant.
  • CASSIO
  • The worse you give me the title whose want even kills me.
  • IAGO
  • Ply Desdemona well, and you are sure on ‘t. Now if this suit lay in Bianca’s power, how quickly should you succeed.
  • CASSIO
  • I never knew woman love man so.
  •  
  •  
  • Cassio to Iago
  •  
  • Alas, the poor rogue, in faith I think she
  • Loves me. I have heard people gossip we
  • May marry, but that’s her own giving out.
  • She is persuaded I will marry her
  • For her own flattery, and she doth tout
  • It about; it’s not my plan. There we were,
  • Venetian friends, talking on the sea-bank
  • When from nowhere should appear but this rank
  • Bauble, throwing her arms about my neck
  • and there she hangs and lolls and weeps upon
  • Me, like a strumpet who for bread doth beck
  • Men on, beguiling many. She dotes on
  • Michael Cassio. When I hear of her
  • I cannot restrain myself from laughter.
  • Bianca enters.
  • BIANCA
  • What did you mean by that same handkerchief you gave me even now? A likely piece of work that you should find it in our chamber and know not who left it there! I’ll take out no work on ‘t.
  • CASSIO
  • How now, my sweet Bianca? How now? How now?
  • OTHELLO
  • By heaven, that must be my handkerchief!
  • BIANCA
  • If you’ll come to supper tonight you may.
  • She exits.
  • IAGO
  • Will you sup there?
  • CASSIO
  • I intend so.
  • IAGO
  • Well, I may chance to see you.
  • CASSIO
  • Prithee come. Will you?
  • IAGO
  • Say no more.
  • Cassio exits. Othello comes forward.
  • OTHELLO
  • How shall I murder him, Iago.
  • IAGO
  • Did you perceive how he laughed at his vice? And did you see the handkerchief?
  • OTHELLO
  • Was that mine?
  • IAGO
  • Yours, by this hand! And to see how he prizes the foolish woman your wife! She gave it him, and he hath given it to Bianca.
  • OTHELLO
  • Get me some poison, Iago, this night.
  • IAGO
  • Do it not with poison. Strangle her in her bed.
  • OTHELLO
  • Good, good. The justice of it pleases.
  • IAGO
  • And for Cassio, let me be his undertaker.
  • OTHELLO
  • Excellent good.
  • A trumpet sounds.
  • IAGO
  • I warrant something from Venice.
  • Lodovico, Desdemona and attendants enter.
  • LODOVICO
  • The Duke and the Senators of Venice greet you.
  • He hands Othello a paper.
  • OTHELLO
  • I kiss the instruments of their pleasures.
  • IAGO
  • I am very glad to see you, signior. Welcome to Cyprus.
  • LODOVICO
  • How does Lieutenant Cassio?
  • IAGO
  • Lives, sir.
  • DESDEMONA
  • Cousin, there’s fall’n between him and my lord an unkind breach, but you shall make all well.
  • LODOVICO
  • Is there division ‘twixt my lord and Cassio?
  • DESDEMONA
  • A most unhappy one. I would do much t’ atone them, for the love I bear to Cassio.
  • OTHELLO
  • Fire and brimstone!
  • DESDEMONA
  • My lord? What, is he angry?
  • LODOVICO
  • May be the letter moved him. For, as I think, they do command him home, appointing Cassio in his government.
  • DESDEMONA
  • I am glad on ‘t.
  • Othello strikes her.
  • OTHELLO
  • Devil!
  • DESDEMONA
  • I have not deserved this.
  • LODOVICO
  • My lord, this would not be believed in Venice. Make her amends. She weeps.
  • OTHELLO
  • If that the earth could teem with woman’s tears, each drop she falls would prove a crocodile.
  • DESDEMONA
  • I will not stay to offend you.
  • She begins to leave.
  • LODOVICO
  • I do beseech your Lordship call her back.
  • OTHELLO
  • Mistress.
  • Desdemona turns back
  • DESDEMONA
  • My lord?
  • OTHELLO
  • What would you with her, sir?
  • LODOVICO
  • Who, I, my lord?
  • OTHELLO
  • Ay, you did wish that I would make her turn. Sir, she can turn, and turn, and yet go on. She can weep, sir, weep. Proceed you in your tears. O, well-counterfeited passion! I am commanded home. Get you away.
  • Desdemona exits.
  • OTHELLO
  • Cassio shall have my place. And, sir, tonight I do entreat that we may sup together. You are welcome, sir, to Cyprus.
  • He exits.
  • LODOVICO
  • Is this the nature whom passion could not shake?
  • IAGO
  • He is much changed.
  • LODOVICO
  • What? Strike his wife?
  • IAGO
  • It is not honesty in me to speak what I have seen and known. You shall observe him, and his own courses will denote him so that I may save my speech.
  • LODOVICO
  • I am sorry that I am deceived in him.
  • They exit.
  • Act 4, Scene 2
  • Othello and Emilia are on stage.
  • OTHELLO
  • You have seen nothing then?
  • EMILIA
  • But then I saw no harm, and then I heard each syllable that breath made up between them.
  • OTHELLO
  • What, did they never whisper?
  • EMILIA
  • Never, my lord. I dare, my lord, to wager she is honest, lay down my soul at stake.
  • OTHELLO
  • Bid her come hither.
  • Emilia exits. Desdemona enters.
  • DESDEMONA
  • My lord, what is your will?
  • OTHELLO
  • Let me see your eyes. Look in my face.
  • DESDEMONA
  • What doth your speech import? I understand a fury in your words, but not the words.
  •  
  •  
  • Othello to Desdemona
  •  
  • What art thou? The devils themselves should fear
  • To seize thee; the angels in heaven hear
  • Thou art false as hell. Had it pleased heaven
  • To test me with affliction, had it rained
  • Shames on my head, steeped me in poorness when
  • Young, denied my utmost hopes, or restrained
  • Me in bondage, I could have foregone love.
  • But alas, to make me a figure of
  • Scorn, my heart here given, I must allow
  • This fountain to flow or accept life at
  • Its end and be discarded thence. O thou
  • Weed, who art so sweet and lovely fair, that
  • Makes my senses ache and this soul forlorn,
  • So much I wish thou hadst ne’er been born.
  • DESDEMONA
  • Alas, what ignorant sin have I committed?
  • OTHELLO
  • What committed? O thou public commoner. What committed? The moon winks; the bawdy wind that kisses all it meets is hushed within the hollow mine of earth and will not hear ‘t. What committed?
  • DESDEMONA
  • By heaven, you do me wrong!
  • OTHELLO
  • I cry you mercy, then. You, you, ay, you!
  • Emilia enters. Othello exits.
  • EMILIA
  • Alas, what does this gentleman conceive? Good madam, what’s the matter with my lord?
  • DESDEMONA
  • With who?
  • EMILIA
  • Why, with my lord, madam. He that is yours.
  • DESDEMONA
  • I have none. Do not talk to me, Emilia. Prithee, tonight lay on my bed my wedding sheets. Remember. And call thy husband hither.
  • EMILIA
  • Here’s a change indeed.
  • Emilia exits. Iago and Emilia enter.
  • IAGO
  • What is your pleasure, madam? How is ‘t with you?
  • DESDEMONA
  • I cannot tell.
  • IAGO
  • Do not weep, do not weep! Alas the day!
  • EMILIA
  • I will be hanged if some eternal villain have not devised this slander.
  • IAGO
  • Fie, there is not such man. It is impossible.
  • EMILIA
  • The Moor’s abused by some most villainous knave, some scurvy fellow.
  •  
  •  
  • Desdemona to Iago
  •  
  • Alas, Iago, what shall I do to
  • Win my lord again. Good friend, see what you
  • Can do. I know not how I lost him. Ne’er
  • Did my will trespass ‘gainst his love, nor feed
  • Mine eyes or mine ears, nor did it error
  • In the course of thought or actual deed,
  • Nor have any senses delighted for
  • Another, nor did they, nor do they, nor
  • Will they, even though he do shake me to
  • Beggarly divorcement as I profess
  • My love, as comfort forsakes me. I rue
  • The thought of unfaithfulness. Unkindness
  • May do much, though I love him as his wife,
  • Though his unkindness may defeat my life.
  • Trumpets sound.
  • IAGO
  • The messengers of Venice are waiting for supper. Go in and weep not. All things shall be well.
  • Desdemona and Emilia exit. Roderigo enters.
  • RODERIGO
  • I do not find that thou deal’st justly with me.
  • IAGO
  • What in the contrary?
  • RODERIGO
  • Every day thou suppliest me with the least advantage of hope. I will indeed no longer endure it.
  • IAGO
  • You charge me most unjustly.
  • RODERIGO
  • The jewels you have had from me to deliver to Desdemona would half have corrupted a nun. You have told me she hath received them, and returned me expectations and comforts of sudden respect, but I find none.
  • IAGO
  • Well, very well.
  • RODERIGO
  • I will make myself known to Desdemona. If she will return me my jewels, I will give over my suit and repent my unlawful solicitation. If not, assure yourself I will seek satisfaction of you.
  • IAGO
  • Why, now I see there’s mettle in thee. Give me thy hand, Roderigo. Thou hast taken against me a most just exception, and yet I protest I have dealt most directly in thy affair.
  • RODERIGO
  • It hath not appeared.
  • IAGO
  • If thou hast purpose, courage and valor, this night show it.
  • RODERIGO
  • Well, what is it?
  • IAGO
  • There is especial commission come from Venice to appoint Cassio in Othello’s place.
  • RODERIGO
  • Why, then, Othello and Desdemona return again to Venice.
  • IAGO
  • O, no. He goes into Mauritania and takes away with him the fair Desdemona, unless his stay be extended by some accident removing Cassio.
  • RODERIGO
  • How do you mean, removing him?
  • IAGO
  • Why, by making him uncapable of Othello’s place: knocking out his brains.
  • RODERIGO
  • And that you would have me do?
  • IAGO
  • Ay, if you dare do yourself a profit and a right. You may take him at your pleasure. I will be near to second your attempt, and he shall fall between us. About it.
  • RODERIGO
  • I will hear further reason for this.
  • IAGO
  • And you shall be satisfied.
  • They exit.
  • Act 4, Scene 3
  • Othello, Lodovico, Desdemona, Emilia and attendants are on stage.
  • LODOVICO
  • Madam, good night. I humbly thank your Ladyship.
  • DESDEMONA
  • Your honor is most welcome.
  • OTHELLO
  • O, Desdemona.
  • DESDEMONA
  • My lord?
  • OTHELLO
  • Get you to bed on th’ instant. I will be returned forthwith. Dismiss your attendant there. Look ‘t be done.
  • DESDEMONA
  • I will, my lord.
  • All but Desdemona and Emilia exit.
  • EMILIA
  • How goes it now?
  • DESDEMONA
  • He hath commanded me to go to bed, and bade me to dismiss you.
  • EMILIA
  • Dismiss me?
  • DESDEMONA
  • It was his bidding. Therefore, good Emilia, we must not now displease him.
  • EMILIA
  • I would you had never seen him.
  • DESDEMONA
  • So would not I. My love doth so approve him that even his stubbornness unpins me.
  • EMILIA
  • I have laid those sheets you bade me on the bed.
  • DESDEMONA
  • If I do die before thee, prithee, shroud me in one of those same sheets.
  • EMILIA
  • Come, come, you talk!
  • DESDEMONA
  • Tell me, Emilia, that there be women do abuse their husbands?
  • EMILIA
  • There be some such, no question.
  • DESDEMONA
  • Wouldst thou do such a deed for all the world?
  • EMILIA
  • The world’s a huge thing. It is a great price for a small vice.
  • DESDEMONA
  • In troth, I think thou wouldst not.
  • EMILIA
  • In troth, I think I should, and undo ‘t when I had done it. But for the whole world? I should venture purgatory for ‘t.
  • DESDEMONA
  • I do not think there is any such woman.
  • EMILIA
  • Yes, a dozen; and as many in addition as would populate the world they played for.
  •  
  •  
  • Emilia to Desdemona
  •  
  • If husbands neglect their marriage and to
  • Others pay more attention than they do
  • To their wives, or have peevish jealousies,
  • Restraining us, then it’s the husband’s fault
  • If a wife falls. Let’s say we fail to please
  • Them and they cut our ration or assault
  • Us. We may resent them, and can be more
  • Forgiving, yet we have aptitude for
  • Revenge. There’s a touch of lust when men court
  • Us. Is it good when what we want we get?
  • Have we not passions and desires for sport,
  • And human weaknesses, as men have? Let
  • Them use us well. We need to let them know
  • The ills we do, their ills instruct us so.
  • DESDEMONA
  • Good night, good night.
  • They exit.
  • Act 5, Scene 1
  • Iago and Roderigo are on stage.
  • IAGO
  • Here stand behind this bulk. Wear thy good rapier bare, and put it home. Fear nothing. I’ll be at thy elbow.
  • RODERIGO
  • Be near at hand. I may miscarry in ‘t.
  • IAGO
  • Be bold and take thy stand.
  • He moves aside.
  • RODERIGO
  • I have no great devotion to the deed. ‘Tis but a man gone. Forth, my sword!
  • He draws his sword.
  •  
  •  
  • Iago to himself, No. 4
  •  
  • If he kills Cassio and Cassio
  • Kills him, it’s my gain that their deaths be so.
  • Roderigo’s tomorrow must not come
  • To be. I dare not let that happen to
  • Me, for he may seek restitution from
  • Me for all the gold and jewels that I through
  • Trickery took from him as ever so
  • Fine gifts for Desdemon. If Cassio
  • At the hand of Roderigo doth brook
  • Death, I’m at risk, for he hath in his day
  • To day life so much beauty that I look
  • Ugly when compared. Further, the Moor may
  • Unfold my treachery to him; stand I
  • There in much peril. Cassio must die.
  • Cassio enters.
  • RODERIGO
  • Villain, thou diest!
  • He thrusts his sword at Cassio.
  • CASSIO
  • My coat is better than thou know’st.
  • He draws and stabs Roderigo.
  • RODERIGO
  • O, I am slain!
  • Roderigo falls. Iago stabs Cassio in the leg and exits.
  • CASSIO
  • I am maimed forever!
  • Othello enters.
  • OTHELLO
  • The voice of Cassio! Iago keeps his word.
  • OTHELLO ASIDE
  • O brave Iago, honest and just, that hast such noble sense of thy friend’s wrong! Desdemona, your dear lies dead. Thy bed, lust-stained, shall with lust’s blood be spotted.
  • Othello exits. Lodovico and Gratiano enter.
  • LODOVICO
  • Two or three groan. Let’s think ‘t unsafe to come in to the cry without more help.
  • RODERIGO
  • Nobody come? Then shall I bleed to death.
  • Iago enters with a light.
  • IAGO
  • Who’s there? Whose noise is this that cries on murder?
  • LODOVICO
  • We do not know.
  • IAGO
  • Did not you hear a cry?
  • CASSIO
  • Here, here!
  • IAGO TO CASSIO
  • What are you here that cry so grievously?
  • CASSIO
  • Iago? O, I am spoiled, undone by villains.
  • IAGO
  • O me, lieutenant! What villains have done this?
  • CASSIO
  • I think that one of them is hereabout and cannot make away.
  • RODERIGO
  • O, help me here!
  • CASSIO
  • That’s one of them.
  • IAGO TO RODERIGO
  • O murd’rous slave! O villain!
  • He stabs and kills Roderigo.
  • IAGO
  • Where be these bloody thieves? How silent is this town! Ho, murder, murder! Are you of good or evil? Signior Lodovico?
  • LODOVICO
  • He, sir.
  • IAGO
  • Here’s Cassio hurt by villains.
  • CASSIO
  • My leg is cut in two.
  • IAGO
  • Marry, heaven forbid! Light, gentlemen. I’ll bind it with my shirt.
  • Bianca enters.
  • BIANCA
  • Who is ‘t that cried? O, my dear Cassio, my sweet Cassio!
  • IAGO
  • Cassio, may you suspect who they should be that have thus mangled you?
  • CASSIO
  • No.
  • BIANCA
  • Alas, he faints. O, Cassio!
  • IAGO
  • Patience awhile, good Cassio. Lend me a light.
  • He peers at Roderigo.
  • IAGO
  • Know we this face or no? Alas, my friend and my dear countryman Roderigo. O heaven, Roderigo!
  • GRATIANO
  • What, of Venice?
  • IAGO
  • Even he, sir. How do you, Cassio? O, a chair, a chair! He that lies slain here, Cassio, was my dear friend. What malice was between you?
  • CASSIO
  • None in the world. Nor do I know the man.
  • IAGO TO BIANCA
  • What, look you pale?
  • Cassio, in the chair, and Roderigo are carried off. Emilia enters.
  • EMILIA
  • What is the matter, husband?
  • IAGO
  • Cassio hath here been set on in the dark by Roderigo. He’s almost slain, and Roderigo dead.
  • EMILIA
  • Alas, good Cassio!
  • IAGO
  • Prithee, Emilia, go know of Cassio where he supped tonight.
  • IAGO TO BIANCA
  • What, do you shake at that?
  • BIANCA
  • He supped at my house.
  • IAGO
  • O, did he so?
  • EMILIA TO BIANCA
  • Fie upon thee!
  • IAGO
  • Come, mistress, you must tell ‘s another tale. Emilia, run you to the citadel and tell my lord and lady what hath happened.
  • IAGO ASIDE
  • This is the night that either makes me or forgoes me quite.
  • They exit in different directions.
  • Act 5, Scene 2
  • Desdemona is asleep in her bed. Othello enters with a light.
  •  
  •  
  • Othello to himself
  •  
  • I’ll not shed her blood, nor scar her whiter
  • Than snow skin, as smooth as alabaster.
  • Yet she must die or else she’ll betray more
  • Men. It’s the cause, my soul, the cause, not you
  • Chaste stars. It is the cause. I’ll close the door
  • And douse the light, and do what I must do.
  • If I quench the candle I can restore
  • The former light should I decide wherefore
  • To repent, but once I put out thy light,
  • I know not where there is the heat that can
  • Your light relume, or let your faithless flight
  • Resume. I must weep, but these tears won’t ban
  • What I here must do. ‘Tis the sorrow of
  • Heaven that I must strike the one I love.
  • Desdemona awakes.
  • DESDEMONA
  • Who’s there? Othello? Will you come to bed, my lord?
  • OTHELLO
  • Have you prayed tonight, Desdemona?
  • DESDEMONA
  • What may you mean by that?
  • OTHELLO
  • Well, do it, and be brief. I would not kill thy soul.
  • DESDEMONA
  • Talk you of killing?
  • OTHELLO
  • Ay, I do.
  • DESDEMONA
  • Then heaven have mercy on me.
  • OTHELLO
  • Peace, and be still.
  • DESDEMONA
  • What’s the matter?
  • OTHELLO
  • That handkerchief which I so loved, and gave thee, thou gav’st to Cassio.
  • DESDEMONA
  • No, by my life and soul!
  • OTHELLO
  • Thou art on thy deathbed.
  • DESDEMONA
  • Ay, but not yet to die.
  • OTHELLO
  • Yes, presently. Thou art to die.
  • DESDEMONA
  • I never did offend you in my life. I never gave him token.
  • OTHELLO
  • By heaven, I saw my handkerchief in ‘s hand!
  • DESDEMONA
  • He found it then.
  • OTHELLO
  • He hath confessed.
  • DESDEMONA
  • He will not say so.
  • OTHELLO
  • No. His mouth is stopped.
  • DESDEMONA
  • What, is he dead? Alas, he is betrayed, and I undone.
  • She weeps.
  • DESDEMONA
  • O banish me, my lord, but kill me not!
  • OTHELLO
  • It is too late.
  • He smothers her.
  • EMILIA WITHIN
  • My lord, my lord? What ho! My lord!
  • OTHELLO
  • What noise is this? Not dead? Not yet quite dead? I that am cruel am yet merciful. I would not have thee linger in thy pain.
  • EMILIA WITHIN
  • My lord, my lord!
  • OTHELLO
  • Who’s there?
  • EMILIA
  • O, good my lord, I would speak a word with you.
  • OTHELLO
  • I had forget thee. O, come in, Emilia.
  • Emilia enters.
  • OTHELLO
  • What’s the matter with thee now?
  • EMILIA
  • O, my good lord, yonder’s foul murders done.
  • OTHELLO
  • What? Now?
  • EMILIA
  • Cassio, my lord, hath killed a young Venetian called Roderigo.
  • OTHELLO
  • Roderigo killed? And Cassio killed?
  • EMILIA
  • No, Cassio is not killed. What cry is that?
  • OTHELLO
  • That? What?
  • EMILIA
  • Alas, that was my lady’s voice!
  • DESDEMONA
  • A guiltless death I die.
  • EMILIA
  • O, who hath done this deed?
  • DESDEMONA
  • Nobody. I myself. Farewell. Commend me to my kind lord. O, farewell.
  • She dies.
  • OTHELLO
  • Why, how should she be murdered?
  • EMILIA
  • Alas, who knows?
  • OTHELLO
  • You heard her say herself, it was not I.
  • EMILIA
  • She said so. I must needs report the truth.
  • OTHELLO
  • ‘Twas I that killed her.
  • EMILIA
  • O, the more angel she, and you the blacker devil!
  • OTHELLO
  • She was false as water.
  • EMILIA
  • O, she was heavenly true!
  • OTHELLO
  • Thy husband knew it all.
  • EMILIA
  • My husband?
  • OTHELLO
  • Thy husband.
  • EMILIA
  • That she was false to wedlock?
  • OTHELLO
  • Ay, with Cassio.
  • EMILIA
  • My husband?
  • OTHELLO
  • Ay, ‘twas he that told me on her first.
  • EMILIA
  • My husband say she was false?
  • OTHELLO
  • He, woman.
  • EMILIA
  • If he say so, may his pernicious soul rot half a grain a day! He lies to th’ heart!
  • He draws his sword.
  • EMILIA
  • O gullible person! O dolt, as ignorant as dirt! I care not for thy sword. I’ll make thee known, though I lost twenty lives. Help! The Moor hath killed my mistress!
  • Montano, Gratiano, and Iago enter.
  • EMILIA TO IAGO
  • He says thou told’st him that his wife was false.
  • IAGO
  • I told him what I thought.
  • EMILIA
  • But did you ever tell him she was false?
  • IAGO
  • I did.
  • EMILIA
  • You told a lie, an odious, wicked lie! Did you say with Cassio?
  • IAGO
  • With Cassio, mistress.
  • EMILIA
  • Villainy. I’ll kill myself for grief!
  • IAGO
  • What, are you mad? I charge you get you home.
  • EMILIA
  • Perchance, Iago, I will ne’er go home.
  • OTHELLO
  • O, O, O!
  • Othello falls on the bed.
  • EMILIA
  • Nay, lay thee down, and roar! Thou hast killed the sweetest innocent that e’er did lift up eye.
  • Othello stands.
  • OTHELLO
  • O, she was foul! I scarce did know you, uncle. There lies your niece, whose breath indeed these hands have newly stopped.
  • GRATIANO
  • Poor Desdemon, I am glad thy father’s dead.
  • OTHELLO
  • ‘Tis pitiful. But yet Iago knows that she with Cassio hath the act of shame a thousand times committed. Cassio confessed it. And she did gratify his amorous works with that recognizance and pledge of love which I first gave her. I saw it in his hand. It was a handkerchief.
  • EMILIA
  • O heavenly God!
  • IAGO
  • Hold your peace!
  • EMILIA
  • I peace? Cry shame against me, yet I’ll speak.
  • IAGO
  • Be wise, and get you home.
  • He draws his sword.
  • EMILIA
  • I will not. O thou dull Moor, that handkerchief thou speak’st of I found by fortune, and did give my husband. Often he begged of me to steal ‘t. She gave it to Cassio? No, alas, I found it, and I did give ‘t my husband.
  • IAGO
  • Thou liest!
  • EMILIA
  • By heaven, I do not.
  • The Moor runs at Iago, but is disarmed. Iago kills Emilia.
  • GRATIANO
  • Sure he hath killed his wife.
  • Iago exits.
  • GRATIANO
  • He’s gone, but his wife’s killed.
  • MONTANO
  • Let him not pass. But kill him rather. I’ll after that same villain.
  • Montano and Gratiano exit.
  • OTHELLO
  • I am not valiant neither. Why should the reputation of being honorable outlast honor itself.
  • I have another weapon in this chamber. O, here it is. Uncle, I must come forth.
  • GRATIANO WITHIN
  • If thou attempt it, it will cost thee dear.
  • OTHELLO
  • Look in upon me, then, and speak with me.
  • Gratiano enters.
  • GRATIANO
  • What is the matter?
  •  
  •  
  • Othello to Gratiano
  •  
  • Behold, uncle, I have a weapon; no
  • Soldier ever had one better. I owe
  • This sword much, for with this little arm it
  • Hath served me through many an obstacle.
  • A vain boast; fate’s now in charge, not my wit
  • That has carried me through this journey full,
  • That now ends. Do not back off dismayed; men
  • Need no longer fear to rush at me when
  • I have no where to go. O Desdemon,
  • When we meet on my day this look of thine
  • Will hurl my soul from heaven to atone
  • For this wrong; devils will whip and roast mine
  • Scarred soul in sulfur, and then I’ll be led
  • Through the depths of fire. Desdemona, dead.
  • Lodovico, Cassio (in a chair), Montano and Iago (guarded) enter.
  • LODOVICO
  • Where is this rash and most unfortunate man?
  • OTHELLO
  • That’s he that was Othello. Here I am.
  • LODOVICO
  • Where is that viper?
  • Iago is brought forward. Othello stabs him.
  • LODOVICO
  • Wrench his sword from him.
  • Othello is disarmed.
  • IAGO
  • I bleed, sir, but not killed.
  • OTHELLO
  • I’d have thee live, for in my sense ‘tis happiness to die.
  • LODOVICO
  • O thou Othello, that wert once so good. What shall be said to thee?
  • OTHELLO
  • Why, anything. An honorable murderer, if you will.
  • LODOVICO
  • This wretch hath part confessed his villainy. Did you and he consent in Cassio’s death?
  • OTHELLO
  • Ay.
  • CASSIO
  • Dear general, I never gave you cause.
  • OTHELLO
  • I do believe it, and I ask your pardon. Will you, I pray, demand that demi-devil why he hath thus ensnared my soul and body?
  • IAGO
  • Demand me nothing. What you know, you know. From this time forth I never will speak word.
  • LODOVICO
  • Othello sir, here is a letter found in the pocket of the slain Roderigo. And here another.
  • He shows Othello the papers.
  • LODOVICO
  • The one of them imports the death of Cassio, to be undertook by Roderigo.
  • OTHELLO
  • O villain!
  • CASSIO
  • Most heathenish and most gross.
  • OTHELLO
  • O, thou pernicious wretch. How came you, Cassio, by that handkerchief that was my wife’s?
  • CASSIO
  • I found it in my chamber. And he himself confessed it but even now.
  • OTHELLO
  • O fool, fool, fool!
  • LODOVICO TO OTHELLO
  • You must forsake this room and go with us. Your power and your command is taken off, and Cassio rules in Cyprus.
  • OTHELLO
  • A word or two before you go. I have done the state some service, and they know ‘t.
  •  
  •  
  • Othello to Lodovico
  •  
  • In your letters I pray you speak of me
  • As I am when you shall these unlucky
  • Deeds relate. Lessen not my guilt nor set
  • Me down as seeking harm. But you must speak
  • Of one who loved most unwisely, who let
  • His heart love too well; of one who did seek
  • Peace; of one who became jealous, being
  • Made extremely perplexed; of one throwing
  • Away a pearl, bright as the brightest day
  • And richer still. Set down all of this an’
  • Say besides, that once in Syria a
  • Turbaned Turk badly beat a Venetian,
  • And by the throat I seized him who did hiss
  • Like a vile serpent and struck him like this.
  • Othello stabs himself and dies.
  • CASSIO
  • This did I fear, but thought he had no weapon, for he was great of heart.
  • LODOVICO TO IAGO
  • O cruel dog, look on the tragic loading of this bed. This is thy work.
  • LODOVICO TO CASSIO
  • To you, lord governor, remains the censure of this hellish villain. Myself will straight aboard, and to the state this heavy act with heavy heart relate.
  • They exit.

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